Archive for April 2010

Charities and Politics

For some time  now  we have been questioning  what has been  happening with charities, we appear to have more than ever  and   there are some charities  which   are nothing but a name.

We are not the first to question this  articles can be found  at

http://whaleoil.gotcha.co.nz/2008/08/12/labours-secret-trust/

http://www.nickyhager.info/donor-cash-stays-in-shadows

http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/07/another_secret_donation.html

It appears that we are not alone  this article has  just been received   from the UK

Charity Commission receives complaints about charities and party politics

We have pointed out to the select committee that there are charities  which  appear to have no   members  e.g. The Roundtable On Violence Against Women Trust.  This trust is not registered any where and is a trading name for person and persons unknown.

What we do know is that  the address  to which it is registered is that of Alana Bowman  an active  labour party member.

It appears that all you need is a credible sounding name, a cause  which is funded     and from there  we have very little transparency.

Is New Zealand’s financial crises caused by funding  non existent entities which provide back door support to   political parties?

We will   forward an Official information act request to   see what funding if any this organisation has received.   And will keep you posted.

NBR reports Regulation required if judges can’t be trusted

Regulation required if judges can’t be trusted

Liam Baldwin | Friday April 16, 2010 – 03:59pm

There is a fundamental flaw in the Guidelines for Judicial Conduct in that they are not binding.

The guidelines, which were kept secret until late last year, were coincidentally publicly released after the repeated badgering of the Crown Law department by judge-busting lawyer Sue Grey.

The purpose of the guidelines, dated August 2005, was to “provide practical guidance” to judges.

“The general principles can readily be accepted as standards all judges in accepting appointment agree to live by and the public of New Zealand is entitled to expect in judicial conduct.”

However, the guide is not intended to be a code, it self-decrees. “It does not identify judicial misconduct. It is advice.”

But, given the judicial rort that surrounds the precarious situation of Supreme Court judge Justice Bill Wilson, the government should start to look at these guidelines as an opportunity to create statutes – laws that actually govern what a judge must reveal before sitting on a case.

Justice Wilson was a fresh-faced Court of Appeal judge when he sat on a case between superfine wool producer Peter Radford against the Wool Board Disestablishment Company (Disco). He was part of a panel that overturned a High Court ruling in favour of Mr Radford.

Queen’s counsel Alan Galbraith was Disco’s lawyer. He was also Justice Wilson’s business partner and friend.

Because of Justice Wilson’s failure to be completely honest about aspects of his personal business dealings, a mockery is being made of the judiciary. If the government finds itself unable, or unwilling, to do anything about it, the least it should do is seriously consider sweeping changes to the rules.

The guidelines actually go on to explain further why they should only be an advisory.

These guidelines are not principally concerned with the sort of misconduct which would justify removal from office. They are concerned with the promotion of higher standards of conduct.

No system of discipline to impose and support a code of conduct for judicial officers exists in New Zealand or comparable jurisdictions for good reason. It would undermine the fundamental principle of judicial independence.

The guidelines claim judicial independence is not protection for judges but for the people of New Zealand.

In the case of Justice Wilson, the disqualification of judges’ guidelines are particularly pertinent.

The judge must be alert to any appearance of bias arising out of connections with litigants, witnesses or their legal advisors. The parties should always be informed by the judge of facts which might reasonably give rise to perception of bias or conflict of interest.

Justice Wilson failed to do this. There was some attempt to point out the nature of the relationship he had with a lawyer who appeared before him, but the true scope of it was only made clear when it was prised out of him by the Supreme Court.

If that wasn’t enough, there’s more.

Judges should disqualify themselves if in a close relationship to litigants, legal advisors or witnesses in the case. It is impossible to be categorical about the relationships which may give rise to concerns about impartiality. Clearly close blood relationships or domestic relationships are disqualifying.

That seems clear. However, it might not have been clear to Justice Wilson – it doesn’t specifically refer to bloodstock.

Justice Wilson is, or was, friends with Alan Galbraith QC, apart from being a business partner. Mr Galbraith is, or was, clearly friends with Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias. These three, along with Dame Sian’s husband Hugh Fletcher, also had shares in racehorses together.

But, wait, there’s more.

Shareholding in litigant companies or companies associated with litigants should be disclosed. They should always lead to disqualification if the shareholding is large or if the value of the shareholding would be affected by the outcome of the litigation. Where the shareholding is small, full disclosure should still be made.

Justice Wilson and Mr Galbraith each held 50% of Rich Hill Ltd. A 50% shareholding is considered substantial. In additions, this was a company that owned land worth millions of dollars. There was also debt which led to the Supreme Court concluding Justice Wilson was financially indebted to Mr Galbraith.

It is impossible to be categorical about relationships which give rise to disqualification but a judge should always disqualify himself or herself whenever a party, lawyer or witness of disputed facts is a close blood relative or domestic partner of the judge or a close relative of the judge or where such person is a close friend or business associate of the judge.

It is purely semantics to argue the fine points of the guidelines because, as they point out, they are simply guidelines and not absolute rules.

The intent of the guidelines is clear. Justice Wilson should have fully disclosed his business relationship with Mr Galbraith even prior to the Court of Appeal case being considered.

If New Zealand can’t rely on a man’s integrity, then the government must regulate. It has no reasonable choice.

See also

Supreme Court judge accused of ‘fictitious’ story

By PHIL KITCHIN – The Dominion Post

Whats in a name

Few New Zealanders  realise that the greatest identity fraud is the one  which occurs every day through  companies people, groups of people using trading names.

So common is this that we almost defend  this as being legitimate  but if you were to call yourself  by a different name   you are sure to get side ways  glances.

This week I looked at the New Zealand Charity & Legal Gazette Printed Edition Listings  2009 and have   checked some of the names off against the   societies register and   not surprising for me    there is a significant  number of   charities  which are soliciting bequests  who do not exist  on the register in that name.

Names can be impressive sounding but they are just names unless they are registered and formed into a body corp.

There are many trusts which   set up some are formed   through  deed and others through hot air . some deeds are registered to  make the    trust  a legal person , others   just leave you guessing as to who or what they are and  what the purpose of their trust is, by leaving money to them  you  could  be subsidising some ones  retirement   plans

OECD and United Nations action against corruption

The oecd has a website devoted to corruption  and a  paper relating to  public procurement

www.oecd.org/corruption

At transparency NZ we are concerned about the manner in which things are done, changes made without consultation, or consultation which is carried out because the box has to be ticked   but any thing  that comes out of the consultation  won’t make the slightest  bit of difference.

Penny Bright is  actively dealing with  public Private relationships such as  water  privatisation  and the super city. Her blog is http://waterpressure.wordpress.com/

Grace Haden  is  now focused on the privatisation of Dog and stock control  . her blog shows how privatisation of this began  as long as 20 years ago   . Her blog is at http://anticorruptionnz.wordpress.com

Vince Siemer  our press officer  has a news web site  Kiwis First located at http://www.kiwisfirst.co.nz  he provides the news that others  seek to suppress.

In  comparing notes   we have discovered that   there are similar trends.  that is how Lobbying is carried out  and how those with business interests  appear to have more  say than those whose  lives and well-being the   nation should be considering.

New Zealand has moved from  a country with  caring leadership to  one  which is  driven by  business , the people have become  a commodity  and greed is rife.

In short we have lost integrity the ECD has a definition

Defining integrity
Integrity can be defined as the use of funds, resources, assets, and authority, according to the intended official purposes, to be used in line with public interest. A „negative‟ approach to define integrity is also useful to determine an effective strategy for preventing „integrity violations‟ in the field of public procurement. Integrity violations include:
· Corruption including bribery, „kickbacks‟, nepotism, cronyism and clientelism;
· Fraud and theft of resources, for example through product substitution in the delivery which results in lower quality materials;
· Conflict of interest in the public service and in post-public employment;
· Collusion;
· Abuse and manipulation of information;
· Discriminatory treatment in the public procurement process; and
· The waste and abuse of organisational resources.

This could  be the reason why New Zealand has not ratified the  united nations convention against corruption   because we can almost certainly tick all of the above  boxes .

Our aim is to provide the information  so that New Zealand can move closer to  ratifying the  united nations  convention against corruption   so that New Zealand can become  the lesast corrupt   with integrity  rather  than  achieving that statistic  by attacking and silencing those  who  attempt to expose corrupt practices.

further reading

Public Governance and management

OECD Guidelines in the area of public service ethics

Policy brief: Keeping Government Contracts Clean

The united nations convention against corruption  pages are at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/index.html

Battle of the Kruger

If you have never seen the Battle of  the Kruger  clip , now is the time to do it   its available in various versions on YouTube.

I have been inspired  by this clip became  to me it shows that when one or two  come out to take on the lions  their strength is not   just their own physical ability  it is more significant   what they have backing them up.

Transparency New Zealand   has been  formed to provide  a platform on which Kiwis   who are concerned about the direction that New Zealand is taking  , can gather .

There is strength in numbers  .

Also we have identified how  things like the super city get pushed though  the strategies used by businesses to  get the support of those we elected.

We don’t appear to have a voice  – so we aim that transparency New Zealand will be the voice for the silent majority.. but we cant do this alone.. will you  join us?

Please  send an email to  info@ verisure.co.nz  to show your  interest