Helen Clark, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, continues to have a problem with separation of her job from conflicts of interest and possible conflicts of interest.
Apart from the numerous personality, and socio-political conflicts she has in her day to day activities the topic up for discussion here is her and her Government's numerous conflicts of interest with the business world.
We have had recently Clark herself, Micheal Cullen and other Government Ministers interfering in Air New Zealand by making public statements that have affected the share price of the airline, likewise she and her Ministers erred again in 2006 when making inappropriate comments, on several occasions, about Telecom New Zealand that lost shareholders 100s of millions of dollars.
Most recently we have had Winston Peters, a Labour Government partner and lapdog making inappropriate comments in the media about influences they could use to stop the Auckland International Airport from being sold.
The most glaring example and probably least known, is the conflict that arises from Jeanette Fitzsimons from the Green Party and her major shareholding in the listed NZ windfarm owner , manufacturer and developer, Windflow Technologies.
Fitzsimons is a partner to the Labour Government and drives Labour's "Green Agenda" for them. Fitzsimons has been responsible for passing law and changing rules to give companies like hers an advantage over competitors and as a result she has financially benefited directly from her activities in Parliament. Jenette has a knack of forgetting to mention her large shareholding in Windflow Technology when dealing with such matters when doing Parliamentary business.
You cant get more corrupt and conflicted than that but she has a good role model for her modus operandi in Al Gore, but that is another story.
If we get back to Clark's role in this though, not only is her Government culpable in the conflict of interest by allowing Fitzsimons to feather her own nest but she has also been directly championing the company with financial, moral and media support for Windflow Tech.
This sort of Parliamentary, legislative and Prime ministerial support for Windflow Tech is clearly a huge conflict of interest that shouldn't be allowed to continue, although we shouldn't be surprised by this sort of conflict as it is apparent at most of our listed companies: Tim Saunders at Contact Energy, Lloyd Morrison at Auckland Airport and a host of other rapscallions and rascals at a whole host of other listed companies.
The shareholders at Windflow Tech should be worried too.
Government interference, as outlined above, can also change to the negative at a whim, should policy, Government or thinking change.
We have to remember, as shareholders in companies, however small or large our holding maybe, it is our personal property rights that are at issue here. Interference from individuals, entities, whether Government or private have no more rights than you or me and their influence shouldn't be able to be subscribed to the extent that they can change laws to suit their own agendas and line their own pockets.
C Share Investor 2007