Honey, I’ve got the Blues


In the world of real estate Martin Honey?has always been considered safe as houses. Now the walls are closing in on the high-flying Auckland agent. In the fourth?part of a special Whaleoil investigation, we examine the involvement of a former National party MP:

by Stephen Cook

FORMER NATIONAL MP Jackie Blue used false and misleading information in an attempt to destroy the reputation of one of the central figures in the Martin Honey real estate saga.

Today Whaleoil can reveal how Blue ? who is now Equal Opportunities Commissioner – conspired with Honey to try and bring down consumer rights advocate Dermot Nottingham, who made his name back in the 1990s exposing car odometer fraud.

In March 2011 Blue wrote to Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy demanding an urgent investigation into the suitability of Nottingham as a real estate agent.

With that letter she included a ?dossier? containing a number of serious allegations relating to what she described as Nottingham?s ?extensive criminal record and history of intimidation?.

The dossier was provided to her by Honey.

No effort was made by Blue to verify any of the allegations, all of which were untrue. ??

The dossier and another letter to police written by Honey which Whaleoil understands was widely circulated was part of an orchestrated campaign to discredit Nottingham who at the time was threatening to expose Honey?s involvement in a major real estate scandal.

Nottingham is one of the men who complained to the Real Estate Agents Authority about what he claims were duplicitous business practices? dating back to 2009 on the part of Honey who at the time was running a Re-Max website after he had left the franchise for rivals Ray White.

Honey maintained he was unaware that listings posted with Ray White were also appearing on the Re-Max site ? but now there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Nottingham and two other appellants also claimed Honey laid a ?false retaliatory complaint? with the Authority, alleging Nottingham attempted to intimidate he and his wife with ?militant style thug threats?.

Nottingham lost his real estate agent licence as a result of the complaint.

Nottingham filed two appeals with the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal but both were unsuccessful. He then referred the matter to the High Court who this month ruled in his favour.

The High Court ruling effectively paves the way for a review of the appellant?s complaint and whether Honey should face ?misconduct? charges for operating a Re-Max website after moving to competing company, Ray White.?From here, the court has the power to refer the matter back to the tribunal to consider the new evidence. On the court?s say-so, the tribunal can also direct the complaint assessment committee to lay misconduct charges against Honey – charges which could effectively end his career. Whatever the decision, it won?t be good news for the high-flying estate agent with the multimillion- dollar property portfolio who, in the wake of this fresh evidence, is facing allegations he either lied to or misled the tribunal.

Until now Blue?s role in the whole controversy has been overshadowed by allegations ranging from improper conduct to corruption against Honey, the chief executive of the REAA, ex Police Sergeant, Keith Manch, REAA complaint assessment committee members, ex Serious Fraud Office computer forensic expert Anna Tierney, ex realtor Joan Harnett-Kindley, and ex commerce commissioner legal eagle Deidre McNabb – and finally members of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.

The members of the READT were Judge Paul Barber QSO, Garry Denley, property manager, and ex WPC partner John Gaukrodger.

Whaleoil can reveal that following the decision of the complaint assessment committee, which has now been found to have been completely wrong, Harnett-Kindley was promoted by the Minister to the lofty and far better paid position of board Member of the REAA.

It is now Blue?s role in the whole saga along with her relationship with Honey which is likely to come under fresh scrutiny in the coming months as more details emerge about what Nottingham claims were immoral and corrupt practices on the part of the tribunal.

Central to those arguments will be evidence from two former colleagues of Honey who also have taken issue with the tribunal?s findings.

One of those, Lois West, is demanding a top-level inquiry into the tribunal?s handling of the case. She believes the tribunal did not act ?legitimately? and arrived at a decision that based on the evidence was clearly wrong.

She also claims the tribunal removed evidence given by Honey at the hearing where he admitted meeting her in July 2009 about the website issue ? months before he claims he was first made aware of the problem.

Whaleoil submitted a series of questions to Blue in an attempt to clarify her involvement in the saga and why on the basis of the word of only Martin Honey she would demand an investigation into Nottingham?s suitability as a real estate agent.

She declined to answer specific questions or explain why she did not attempt to verify any of the allegations by speaking to Nottingham.

All she would say was that ?at all times during my term as Member of Parliament I acted in good faith and on the basis of information available to me at the relevant time?

She said she was also not prepared to comment ?on the particular circumstances you have outlined given that I understand that matters related to these events are before the courts.?

Nottingham declined to comment.

The story continues…