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Key denies Labour allegations

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, May 28 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key today accused the Labour Party of "muckraking" and released legal advice he said refuted its allegations about his assets.

Labour MP Pete Hodgson has laid a complaint with Speaker Lockwood Smith alleging Mr Key misled Parliament when he said he had no access to the blind trust, Aldgate, which holds his assets and didn't know what was in it.

Mr Hodgson says the assets are in a parallel company, Whitechapel Ltd, which Mr Key has access to.

"The advice from the law firm that established Aldgate, my blind trust, states I don't have `any ownership or other interest in Whitechapel', and that it is not correct for Mr Hodgson to claim the assets I did own were 'transferred' to Whitechapel Ltd. They were in fact sold to Whitechapel," Mr Key said in a statement.

"All this means that I have no beneficial interest in Whitechapel Ltd, which is central to Labour's claims of a conflict of interest."

Mr Key said he utterly refuted the allegations made by Mr Hodgson.

"They are nothing more than muckraking and factually incorrect."

The conflict of interest issue arose earlier this week when it was reported Mr Key owned shares in a vineyard. The Government is working on liquor law reform, and some of the other shareholders in Highwater Vineyard are supermarket owners.

Since then Mr Key has persistently said he doesn't know anything about his assets in the blind trust and doesn't know the other shareholders.

Mr Key said he was giving his legal advice to Dr Smith.

When the Speaker receives a complaint of breach of privilege he has to decide whether to refer it to the privileges committee for an investigation, or dismiss it.

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