Is this Cunliffe’s own “fake but accurate” scandal?

On September 8, 2004 60 minutes ran a show that presented some documents that were purported to be the service records and details of George W Bush.

They were fake, but Dan Rather and his network stuck by those documents until the bitter end, with Dan Rather declaring finally that they were “fake but accurate”.

Now, ever since David Cunliffe was elected Labour leader he has come under expected scrutiny as the leader of a party that would lead the next government should the polls go in its favour.

He isn’t happy with that scrutiny either with rather glaring large holes appearing in his CV, with padded community service and claims of work preparing Fonterra.

David Cunliffe has whipped out the conspiracy card and is trying to blame National for the scrutiny which would never had come if there weren’t massive inconsistencies with the facts in CV. The media buried Aaron Gilmore because of his fanciful claims in his CV, now David Cunliffe thinks he can get away with a once over lightly of his.

Andrea Vance though has been digging and found even more inconsistencies, now with his claims over what he did at Harvard.

Questions have also surfaced about Cunliffe’s time at Harvard in the 1990s.

Cunliffe left the foreign service to pursue his studies after winning a coveted Fulbright Scholarship.

Cunliffe said this morning that he spent some time studying at both departments.

“I hold a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School,” he explained.

“It’s a flexible course, almost half of which was studied at the Harvard Business School, some at Harvard Law School, and some at the Kennedy School.

“To my knowledge, no CV that I’ve put out has claimed that I hold an MBA [Masters of Business Administration] from Harvard Business School. I’ve always said I hold an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, sometimes called the John F Kennedy School.”

A biography posted on the Labour party website until recently said: “He was a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School, where he graduated with a Master of Public Administration.”

On Monday the website was refreshed. The biography now reads: “He held a Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government in 1994-1995, earning a Master of Public Administration.” 

Refreshed? Do they mean correct to now tell the truth?

We know that David Cunliffe is a bullshitter, but what is more interesting is he has now provided documents to “prove” his work on Fonterra.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has produced documents to prove he did carry out consultancy work on the formation of Fonterra.

However, fresh questions have arisen about his time at America’s prestigious Harvard University.

Earlier this week National-aligned commentator Matthew Hooton said it was “untrue” Cunliffe had worked on the merger that produced Fonterra. Cunliffe had made reference to his work while with Boston Consultancy Group, in an interview with Fairfax Media.

Hooton, who was a communications consultant on the deal, insisted: “David Cunliffe had nothing to do with the foundation of Fonterra.”

Cunliffe rejected his allegations, stood by his work history and criticised Hooton for making the claims without checking with him first.

This morning he provided documents to Fairfax Media which show he carried out work for the Dairy Board in the late-1990s. It appears on the electronic records under the new client name Fonterra Co-operative Group.

His time sheets, from BCG, show he worked on a number of projects including “industry structure” from October 1997 to January 1999.

Now this is curious…here is the time sheet:



Now I wonder…how on earth can a timesheet be produced for work in 1997 for a company that did not even exist until 2001? This time sheet produces more questions than answers. Here is a timeline of events as best I can make out.

Oct 1997: Cunliffe does some work for Dairy Board on “industry structure”
Jan 1998: Cunliffe does other work for Dairy Board on the “NZDB/Organisation Project” “1998 Audit” and “New Zealand Dairy”
March 1998: Cunliffe does other work for Dairy Board on “NZDB / Cent-Market”
14 May 1998: Winston Raymond Peters says Dairy Board and other producer boards must report to the Government by 15 November on “plans for how they will operate without specific statutory backing, and to consider the timeline for deregulation” ( see )
15 November 1998: Dairy Board doesn’t present plans to Government as requested
Nov 1998: Cunliffe does other work for Dairy Board on “Northland Diary / W/shop”
3 Jan 1999: Cunliffe does one day’s work for Dairy Board on “NZDB / Industry Structure”. He does no further work for the dairy industry, according to the time sheets
21 Dec 2000: Kiwi Dairies and New Zealand Dairy Group announce plans for a “Global Dairy Company”. Dairy Board caught unawares
18 June 2001: Kiwi and Dairy Group farmers vote to merge to create “Global Dairy Company”
27 August 2001: Fonterra announced as name for “Global Dairy Company” after a process taking “several months”
20 September 2001: Special legislation to allow Fonterra to be created passed by Parliament
16 October 2001: Fonterra legally formed

So, David Cunliffe wants us to believe that the work he did in October 1997 for the Dairy Board and the one hour’s work he did on Saturday 3 January 1999 was him “helping in the formation of Fonterra”.

How can Boston Consulting Group produce a time sheet for an entity that didn’t legally exist until October 2001?

Has David Cunliffe unwittingly provided his own “fake but accurate” documents?

No one can deny that he did some work related toe the dairy industry while at Boston Consulting Group but it is a massive stretch to claim that the work involved was somehow instrumental in the formation of Fonterra.

Like his padded community service claims and now his “amended” CV details regarding his  qualifications, this time sheet fails the truthiness test as well.

As  I always say “explaining is losing” and David Cunliffe is sure doing a lot of explaining about his CV.

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