Key and Cunliffe will escape scrutiny on their potential dodgy dealings

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Neither former Prime Minister John Key or former Labour MP David Cunliffe have anything disclosed on the annual release of pecuniary interests, detailing what MPs own and have interests in.

However it’s understood while both filed returns, the registrar who administers the list – Sir Maarten Weavers – appears to have stuck to the letter of the law, which states that for MPs to be included in the list they must be members of Parliament at the time the list is published.

Both MPs left Parliament earlier this year.

Former Labour MP David Cunliffe has also filed his return of pecuniary interests, which was not made public on Tuesday.

It’s likely to prompt a change to Parliament’s “standing orders” or rules, given both former members were in Parliament for most of the year which MPs are required to report on.

Their omission raises questions over whether there is a public interest in knowing what MPs declare for the last year that they were public representatives, even if they’re no longer members of Parliament.

Speaker David Carter’s office has confirmed Parliament’s Standing Orders Select Committee is currently reviewing Standing Orders “and the matter of amending the rules so that all returns are published, even if the members concerned have ceased to be members after they submitted their returns is being considered by the committee”.

Weavers confirmed both Key and Cunliffe met their obligations as members of the House.

“So [the report is] as at the 31st of January, and then they submitted their returns.”

But he was guided by the standing orders, which meant their returns were left of the public list, Weavers said

“I, as in the past, have been invited to offer views to the standing committee around Appendix B, and obviously I can’t comment any further because it’s in their purview.”

The list of pecuniary interests was released Tuesday afternoon, and aside from detailing MPs trusts, company and property ownerships, it also reveals the gifts they were given.

So theoretically, if an MP knows he or she is going to leave, they can make out like a robbers dog in the final year, as long as they also leave before the end of the year.

It’s typical of the media to want transparency on this.  It’s their typical nit-picking.   But the bigger picture is correct – the public should be able to know if John Key got several million dollar gold and diamond watches.

I think we can be safe assuming David Cunliffe didn’t get anything.


– Stuff

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