On 29 September 2020, the SFO published a press release linked to a prominent political party (see story below). The press release was an allegation and confirmation that a charge of ‘deception’ had been filed and was released one day before New Zealand’s election process commencing (international registration/voting).
Given the 1,000 complaints the SFO was unable to resource to investigate in 2019, why did the SFO choose to invest six months of their resourcing into a potential misdemeanour, against a prominent political party, then release their media statement one day before New Zealand’s election process beginning?
The press release confirmed the SFO were ‘filing’ charges. It is therefore still an allegation but has resulted in unsettling and disadvantaging New Zealand’s democratic voting system. That is fairly serious stuff – just ask the Deputy Prime Minister what he thinks of the SFO. In fact, the issues here could be a bias towards the Deputy Prime Minister because he has been so vocal about New Zealand’s need to get clean in managing corruption.
New Zealand needs with URGENCY an anti-corruption agency.
Land of the Long Sweeping Carpet
New Zealand (Aotearoa) should be known not as the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ but ‘Land of the Long Sweeping Carpet’.
New Zealand has a horrid history of its government not governing properly and harming its people. Start researching New Zealand’s Commission of Inquiries and Royal Commission of Inquiries.
I have only recently learnt, through the Pike River Mine Royal Commission, that Government policy requires information from the Royal Commission of Inquiry to be sealed for 80 years! Really? Yes. Correct. Just ask Bernie Monk.
If there is any truth to that then one might say it appears to be perverting the natural course of justice. The Rights to the Natural Course of Justice is embedded in New Zealand’s Bill of Rights.
The right to the Natural Course of Justice means name and shame after reasonable evidence secures a conviction, not through a press release of an allegation that is yet to be proven.
This reminds me of the SFO actions around the investigations against Allan Hubbard. On that occasion, some 10 years ago, the Minister of Justice (Simon Power for National) held a press conference and presented a Fact Sheet. The Fact Sheet was presented to journalists before the SFO investigation had commenced!
The Fact Sheet had arrows of fund flows going the wrong way! Yes. Hand on Bible – the fact sheet presented by the Minister of Justice had a material error that consequently caused South Canterbury Finance to collapse.
Of course the mainstream media who have close ties to government did not report the facts – despite the facts being publicly available.
The Minister of Justice did not wish to admit his wrongdoing. After Mr Hubbard wrote to the Minister to correct the Minister’s error, he asked Mr Hubbard to wait until the agency’s investigators had finished their investigation!
The end result was that the investigation proved the Minister’s Fact Sheet was indeed wrong. Investor’s funds in Aorangi were always safe and confirmed at the end of the investigation. However, the problem the government has, at least National government, is that The Minister’s Fact Sheet and press release caused bias opinion against Mr Hubbard which caused South Canterbury Finance to fail.
On that point, Bernard Hickey, one of New Zealand’s economic reporters trusted by government, confirmed in a news report that the actions against Allan Hubbard were about the Government’s risks of guaranteeing South Canterbury Finance. He didn’t mention Aorangi but he was right. Putting Allan Hubbard into statutory management was not really about Aorangi, it was about South Canterbury Finance and in essence a means to sabotage (successfully) the company. Another act that government has swept under the carpet. The appointment of an Anti-Corruption Agency that has integrity, would have prevented such conduct. It is called ‘deterrent’ and ‘accountability’. It works fairly well and is used commonly as a means to prevent crime.
Returning to current affairs and not historic, it would appear, in my opinion, that the SFO’s news release on a political matter 1 day before the election process was to begin, warrants a reasonable explanation.
Relying on ‘media’ to ‘sort things out’ when the matter is an allegation is ignoring the Bill of Rights which states principles of natural justice must be given to all New Zealanders. Natural justice means ‘name and shame’ following a fair trial in court. The Bill of Rights would not have intended the Natural Course of Justice to be front page NZ Herald when the matter is still an allegation and still unproven.
Once again – New Zealand, with urgency requires a competent and independent Anti-Corruption Agency.