When politicians lie

David Cunliffe’s padded CV is looking more and more dodgy. Andrea Vance, the journalist Labour went out of their way to defend recently, is the one doing the digging.

The work history of new Labour leader David Cunliffe has come under scrutiny after claims from National party-aligned lobbyist Matthew Hooton.

In an interview with Fairfax Media this weekend Cunliffe said that as a business consultant he had “helped with the formation of Fonterra”.

However, Hooton, who was a communications consultant working on the merger, angrily rejected this, saying: “That was untrue.”

“David Cunliffe had nothing to do with the foundation of Fonterra.”

Cunliffe responded to the allegations this morning by tweeting: “Bollocks.” 

Yeah it certainly looks like Cunliffe’s CV is bollocks. The dates just don’t line up…and the bullshitter is being called on his bullshit.

The multinational corporation was formed in 2001 from the merger of New Zealand Dairy Group, Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, and export agent New Zealand Dairy Board.

Before entering politics in 1999, the New Lynn MP worked for Boston Consultancy Group in Auckland.

Hooton conceded the firm was involved in the early stages: “It is true that Boston Consulting had a supporting role.”  He claims it is “deeply implausible” Cunliffe was involved.

However, he said: “It’s absolutely true that sometime earlier in the 1990s, he might have done some dairy industry analysis. That’s entirely plausible, but to say that he helped with the formation of Fonterra is quite obviously a lie.”

Announcements about deregulation and reform of the dairy industry were made in the 1998 Budget.  There were secret negotiations throughout 2000 at a hotel in Auckland airport before the Fonterra proposal was made public.

“By that time David Cunliffe had been in Parliament for more than a year…and he’d been a Labour candidate for two years,” Hooton pointed out.

An industry player close to the deal, who did not want to be named, said that BCG had carried out early work for the dairy board in 1998 around creating a single company and Cunliffe may have been involved in that.

But he said they were “shunted to one side” after that and were not involved in the 2000 talks. He said it was “embellishing” to say that Cunliffe was involved in the formation of Fonterra.

“Embellishing”? I’d call it lying. You can lie by omission, you can outright lie, but you can also lie by inflating the reality of a situation.

People outside of politics get prosecuted for this sort of thing.

What will really undo Cunliffe is if he changing details of his CV now to suit the evidence that is coming forward…then it just looks like a cover up…and it is always the cover-up that undoes a lying ratbag politician.

You have to ask though, if a politician is willing to lie straight to camera, in writing in their CV and in response to questions, then what aren;t they prepared to lie about?

Matthew Hooton comments via Facebook:

So, let me get this straight.

Last week, David Cunliffe – who became a Labour candidate in 1998 and was a “community worker” in Glen Eden in 1999, the year he went into parliament – says that, when at the Boston Consulting Group, he “helped with the formation of Fonterra”. For the benefit of those who don’t recall, the formation of Fonterra consisted of a merger that was negotiated by the New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Dairies in secret and without the knowledge of the Dairy Board through 2000, announced just before Christmas that year, and voted on by farmers and parliament in mid 2001.

Today, the new Labour leader clarifies that, “in the late 1990s” – presumably 1998 at the very latest because in 1999 he was a “community worker” in Glen Eden – he “analysed the impact of [a] merger on research and development” when the firm he was with was doing a “preparatory case at the New Zealand Dairy Board that analysed different merger models”. (Remember, the Dairy Board was then excluded from the negotiations and process that led to the creation of Fonterra in 2000/1. Remember also that, in 1998, all the talk was about two company models and Dairy Board-led initiatives.)

And yet he says my criticism of him is “all wrong”?

He must have a very broad definition of “helped with the formation of Fonterra”. I think he’s just spinning madly after being caught out again.

Heh, he makes David Cunliffe sound very much like Bill Clinton.

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