MPs own up to corporate freebies

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2012

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More than half of the country's MPs have interests in one or more trusts, a register of financial interests reveals.

The pecuniary interests declarations, published yesterday, also reveal National and Labour MPs enjoyed free hospitality at the Rugby World Cup – including 16 who were guests of casino firm SkyCity.

Trusts allow MPs to hang on to assets but not reveal them in the annual public declaration. Just over half of the 121 MPs have interests in trusts – many in their own name.

The new register of pecuniary interests reveal 50 MPs attended at least one game at last year's World Cup. Firms such as Sky TV, Fonterra, Telecom and Vector provided the hospitality.

MPs are required to declare a gift worth more than $500. World Cup final tickets were selling for more than $1200 in the days before the All Blacks-France final.

Education Minister Hekia Parata – who was energy minister at the time – scored free tickets to games from NZ Petroleum and Minerals, NZ Oil and Gas and went to a quarterfinal as guest of oil company OMV.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson went to the final courtesy of Fletcher Construction and to a semifinal with Mainzeal.

A host of senior Labour MPs – including then-leader Phil Goff, David Shearer, Annette King, Grant Robertson and Trevor Mallard – were guests of SkyCity.

Opposition MPs are opposing the firm's involvement in the construction of a national convention centre in return for more pokies.

National MP Chris Tremain, now internal affairs minister responsible for gambling matters, declared he was the casino's guest at a semifinal.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples was in SkyCity's box during the opening ceremony.

Other Government ministers cashing in on the rugby freebies were Paula Bennett, David Carter – who was hosted by Fonterra, KPMG and government banker Westpac – Judith Collins, Peter Dunne, Tim Groser, Nathan Guy, Phil Heatley, Steven Joyce, Nick Smith and Kate Wilkinson.

Labour leader Mr Shearer received 12 free tickets to various games – with two for a pool game coming from SkyCity.

He was a guest of Sky TV at the final and Telecom at the opening ceremony.

Among the quirkier items declared were a replica Lord of the Rings sword, given to Prime Minister John Key by United States President Barack Obama, an elephant sculpture, beef, three rugby jerseys and a cricket bat.

Mr Key, Finance Minister Bill English, Ms Collins and Mr Joyce were all guests of the Victorian government at the Australian Open tennis tournament.

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National's Sam Lotu-Iiga flew to Australia to watch the Warriors play in the NRL final courtesy of Vodafone.

ACT leader John Banks amended the register – which details interests up to January 31 – after it was revealed earlier this month that he was the recipient of a gift basket from internet mogul Kim Dotcom.

The luxury hamper, reportedly worth up to $1000, was presented to him while on holiday in Hong Kong in December, but he gave it to hotel staff.

MPs must also list their property interests, company directorships, controlling interests and superannuation schemes.

PROPERTY POPULAR WITH MPS

NATIONAL

Gerry Brownlee: Two Marlborough properties, two Ilam properties, one in Fendalton and one in Bryndwr.

Amy Adams: Three farms, two commercial properties and two Christchurch homes (all in trust).

John Key: Parnell family home, Huapai office, two holiday homes – one in Omaha and one in Maui, Hawaii, an apartment in London and a Wellington apartment.

Cam Calder: Family home and another property in Devonport, two properties in Ponsonby, ruin under restoration in Gers, France.

David Carter: Farms on Banks Peninsula and North Canterbury, Marlborough Sounds house. Wellington apartment, commercial property in Christchurch.

Anne Tolley: Gisborne home, three shops and two offices in Napier, interest in a Napier section and rental property in Ohope.

Chris Tremain: Napier family home, Waipatiki (north of Napier) bach, two slices of land in Waipatiki, five residential investment properties, four apartments and six commercial investment properties all in Napier and Hastings.

Jian Yang: Townhouse and seven rental properties, jointly owned, in Auckland.

Todd McClay: Jointly owned property in Brussels, two properties in Wellington, one in Pukehina, one in Wellington.

David Bennett: Three dairy farms and a Hamilton home.

Paula Bennett: Townhouse in Mt Eden and two homes.

Jackie Blue: Auckland home, a holiday house in Rotorua and a rental property.

Jacqui Dean: Oamaru family home, Moeraki holiday home, two rental properties and Wellington apartment.

Craig Foss: Three Hawke's Bay homes and an apartment in Wellington.

Tim Groser: Thorndon (Wellington) apartment, Auckland CBD apartment, a hotel room in Auckland, Titirangi home.

Phil Heatley: Family home and an office in Whangarei, house in Wellington and two Whangarei homes held in a trust.

Paul Hutchison: Part share in Taupo holiday home, South Auckland home, Wellington apartment, two commercial properties, part share in an Oamaru farm and an Otaki family trust property.

LABOUR

Shane Jones: Four Tai Tokerau properties.

NZ FIRST

Winston Peters: St Mary's Bay home, Whananaki (Northland) beach house, land in Northland and in Bay of Islands.

GREENS

Kevin Hague: Family home in Greymouth, two trust-owned homes in Hamilton and Coromandel, investment property on Waiheke Island.

- Fairfax Media

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