Goff continues to question McCully's memory

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 17:54 06/12/2012

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Phil Goff continues to question disclosures made by Auckland lawyer Peter Kiely, asking why Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully was unable to recall having a potential conflict raised with him several months ago.

As a board member of Pacific Forum Lines (PFL), part owned by the government until September, Kiely appeared to be a shareholder of a rival company, Sofrana Unilines (NZ) Limited.

According to Goff, Kiely did not inform the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry of the possible conflict when Sofrana was bidding to buy PFL, despite advising the government on the deal.

McCully said the shareholding Goff referred to were only held by Kiely as a non-beneficial trustee for a Sofrana employee.

"There was no obligation for Kiely to disclose such matters to the ministry when he was appointed a director... There has never been a requirement for lawyers to disclose clients' interests."

Today Goff continued to the attack, asking when Kiely informed McCully or the PFL board of the potential conflict.

Speaking on McCully's behalf, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall said he understood Kiely raised the issue with McCully when Sofrana expressed an interest in buying PFL, about July.

Goff replied: "Why didn't McCully remember that fact yesterday?"

Ryall said he was not in a position to answer the question, but "any allegations by that member, under the cloak of Parliamentary privilege, are unbecoming of that member."

A National Party member who has given legal advice to the Prime Minister personally, the Government has repeatedly defended Kiely's high integrity.

McCully later called on Labour leader David Shearer to force Phil Goff to apologise or sack him.

"If Shearer fails to act, he is effectively endorsing Goff's cowardly and reckless behaviour. He needs to require Goff to apologise, or stand him down.

" Kiely was not available for comment, staff at his law firm KielyThompson Caisley said today.

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