Honey on Toast – A Special Investigation

Martin Honey

In the world of real estate Martin Honey’s always been considered safe as houses. Now the walls are closing in on the high-flying Auckland agent. In the first part of a special Whaleoil investigation, we explain why.

by Stephen Cook

THE HIGH COURT has delivered a major shot in the arm to one of the protagonists in a long-running Auckland real estate dispute with a ruling this week which threatens to turn the entire case on its head.

After six gruelling years, consumer rights advocate Dermot Nottingham, his brother Phillip along with Robert McKinney finally have something to celebrate after a court ruling clearing the way for a re-examination of crucial evidence in their six-year slugfest with real estate agent Martin Honey. Rounds one and two may have gone the way of Honey, but McKinney and the Nottingham brothers have claimed the high ground in the decisive third after successfully appealing the findings of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.

The ruling opens the door for more legal action against Honey by the three men who with costs are believed to out-of-pocket to the tune of at least half a million dollars.

They also have set their sights on a group of National MPs who supported Honey throughout the six-year ordeal.

The Nottingham’s and McKinney took the matter to the High Court challenging the tribunal’s refusal to lay misconduct charges against Honey for “duplicitous business practices” dating back to 2009 which they say ended up costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The appellants also claimed Honey laid a “false retaliatory complaint” with the Authority back in 2011 alleging Dermot Nottingham attempted to intimidate he and his wife with “militant style thug threats”.

After twice being knocked back by the organisation governing real estate agents, the three men decided to file an appeal in the High Court, claiming “corrupt, dishonest and immoral” practices on the part of the tribunal.

In a 40-page judgement in favour of the appellants, Justice Susan Thomas took serious issue with the tribunal’s handling of the case.    Read more »

Oh say it ain’t so… Red Cross used to be a safe bet. Now what?

How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes
Even as the group has publicly celebrated its work, insider accounts detail a string of failures

by Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan, NPR

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better

Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.

Whenever disaster strikes, the safe bet was to give your money to the Red Cross, because “at least you knew it would go where it was needed”.

That trust, that brand, that loyalty has taken a huge hit – perhaps damaged beyond repair   Read more »


Auckland Zoo – We’d like some back-handers with our coffee beans thank you


Tranparency International constantly tells us we are at the top or equal with other countries as the least corrupt.

Maybe it is because our public organisations put their corruption openly into tender documents…it isn’t corruption if it is in the open.

The Auckland Zoo is running a tender at the moment for the supply of coffee beans to the Zoo.

Contained within the tender documents is this requirement:

zoo-tender Read more »

Has Amanda Banks exposed the dark underbelly of the Crown Law office?

John Banks has done us a favour and shown our justice system to be truly broken. But what chance would he have had if he had been a young man, down and out, up against the system, or even an average person or, indeed, an ordinary MP?

He or she would have had no chance.

As it was, Banks had hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend.

And spend it he had to — to clear his name.

He had a wife who, stung by Justice Edwin Wylie refusing to believe her testimony, hunted down the key witnesses who turned the case around.

The Crown didn’t do that. The fancy lawyers didn’t.

Banks was, of course, a Government Minister, a party leader and a critical vote in Parliament.

It was never an everyday case and we would expect the Crown prosecution to be at its very best and most professional.

The real problem here is that we can’t step beyond the idea of mere incompetence, and instead we are tempted to infer political motives.  And if that’s the case, is it limited to the QCs involved, or were they acting on advice?   Read more »

Call to remove business bribes but no calls to remove the other ones

Parliament’s being urged to crack down on call facilitation payments in business which a lobby group says are little more than bribes.

The law and order select committee considering the Organised Crimes Bill has been asked to outlaw the payments which will send a signal that New Zealand is beyond corruption.

Transparency International New Zealand chair Suzanne Snively says this country has a reputation as one of the most corruption free nations on earth.

But Ms Snively warns that reputation co Read more »


Sneaky Len Brown under pressure to ‘fess up’

len brown code of conduct

Auckland Mayor Len Brown is under pressure after it was revealed more than $250,000 has been spent on secret polling, and he won’t say what it’s for.

Councillor Cameron Brewer speculates it’s on his popularity ratings, but believes the focus should be on bigger issues. Read more »

“Tainted” Fisher continues the smear


Ah yes.

The unsubstantiated question as a headline.   The favourite way the media like to smear, because it isn’t a statement of fact.

I’ll give you an example or two

Have National been shielding senior people among their ranks that have name suppression for behaviour that would end their careers?

Are National hiding someone who caused the loss of money entrusted to him by trying to cover it up?

Was Russel Norman blackmailed into his resignation?

Does Andrew Little know Carmel Sepuloni’s questions to the house were to the benefit of her mother?


That’s how it’s done.   Read more »

The people who do the corruption rankings must be corrupt

Because New Zealand only fell one spot, to number two.

Colin Hamilton writes:

New Zealand has fallen from its top spot as the world’s least corrupt country being pushed out by Scandinavian nation Denmark.

In the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index released today New Zealand was ranked the second least corrupt out of 174 countries.

The index which compiled by Transparency International, ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.

A country’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

New Zealand’s score of 91 was second only to Denmark on 92.

Last year the two nations were tied on 91 and in 2012 they were tied on 90.

New Zealand was the only non-Scandinavian nation in the top five while Australia slipped out of the top 10 to eleventh place with a score of 80 points.

Now, depending on your political proclivities, you’d expect New Zealand to have plummeted.  Either because of the National Party and me, or because of Kim Dotcom, Hone Harawira, Laila Harre, Matt McCarten, David Cunliffe, Lyn Prentice, Martyn (Martin) Bradbury, and Russel Norman.

But either way, how did NZ only slip one rating point?

Bryce Edwards continues: Read more »

Union slush funds and meddling dominating Victorian elections

The Victoria State Election is underway and already the Liberal party is focussing on the selection of Daniel Andrews and his connections with the CFMEU.

Private global accounting firm Moore Stephens’ costing of Labor’s policies will finally be released today — just two days before the election and after more than half a million voters have already cast their ballot. Labor chose Moore Stephens after refusing to submit its policies for scrutiny by Treasury.

Treasurer Michael O’Brien has hit out at the firm, highlighting how the accountants audited the discredited CFMEU’s WA branch.   Read more »

Does middle NZ care about any of this Robbo?

On Grant Robertson’s website he claims this:

Demonstrating the values that were instilled in him from an early age, Grant has quickly made an impact as a progressive Labour MP. Among the measures that have earned him plaudits are a successful bill to “Mondayise” public holidays, the promotion of ethical investing by state-controlled funds, and his championing of the living wage. In his time in the Labour caucus he has held a number of portfolio responsibilities, including Economic Development, Employment, Skills and Training, and Associate Arts, Culture, Heritage. Grant was Labour’s deputy leader from December 2011 to September 2013.

So basically Grant has done nothing of any real note.

He has appealed to the liberal elite wankocracy by coming up with gay policies that no one in middle New Zealand cares about.

To cap that all off he used his sponsoring of a bill to filibuster in order to prevent, unsuccessfully, the progress of voluntary student unionism. As David Farrar said at the time:

A number of organisations in New Zealand have enabling legislation such as the Scout Association. Another example is the Royal Society of New Zealand – they needed their 1997 legislation updated to incorporate the humanities in their objects and make some governance changes.

Only an MP can introduce a bill into Parliament so a private body needs to find an MP to agree to promote their bill and steer it through the House. They will often ask the local MP, but it can be any MP. And if the MP agrees, they have basically a duty of care to that organisation to use their best efforts to get that law changed. This is normally very easy, as these changes are rarely controversial.

The Royal Society of New Zealand Amendment Bill was introduced in September 2010. It should have passed into law in early 2011. but instead it remains stuck on committee stage and now can not pass before the election.   Read more »