Monday, 22 September 2008

Hoki - bad men, ugly fish - big story.. Meurant comes in from the cold

This mornings revelation by ace reporter Phil Kitchin is music to the prawns... Meurant has the goods on a lot of powerful people.

And he is right Hoki was the first scandal - and Winston has his fingers covered in fishguts on this one as well.

So what is the Hoki story?

Well its about a corrupt fisheries officer, tender documents and South Island fishing interests...

You will read more about it over the next few days

This from Stuff

the prawns comments in red

I am not avoiding SFO, says Meurant
Ross Meurant, a former adviser to NZ First leader Winston Peters, has broken his silence and says he is willing to speak to the Serious Fraud Office about the Winston Peters affair when he returns from overseas.

We hope that the SFO is on on a plane this morning.

Mr Meurant was NZ First's donations bagman from 1999 to 2004, and collected substantial donations from the Vela family, high-powered fishing and racing operators.
Those donations and a $25,000 donation from Sir Robert Jones to the formerly secretive Spencer Trust are under scrutiny by the SFO inquiry into Mr Peters.

In a written statement to The Dominion Post, Mr Meurant said he was breaking his silence "to refute categorically any innuendo that I am avoiding the SFO to protect Winston Peters and/or fish industry magnates" he was associated with.

Glad to hear that he isnt willing to protect any scumbags anymore ... Good on you Ross.

The former National Party MP and police inspector - who was second in charge of the Red Squad during the 1981 Springbok tour - also alleges he received a "menacing threat" by a "powerful fishing industry figure" while advising Mr Peters.

No sympathy for Meurant here - he threatened me and many many others in the Seafood industry.

Mr Meurant resigned from his advisory role when it was revealed he was in a business relationship with Simunovich Fisheries while advising Mr Peters for a 2003 parliamentary select committee inquiry into scampi quota allocation.

Well bugger me - I wonder who helped orchestrate that? :-)

His statement appears to have been prompted by ACT leader Rodney Hide's statement on Saturday that the SFO inquiry would not be credible if Mr Meurant was not interviewed.
He said Mr Meurant was "pivotal to any investigation of donations, particularly from the Velas and fishing and racing industries".


Mr Meurant said he was only speaking about the affair because "Mr Hide and you have unnecessarily dragged me into the debate and by innuendo will cause some to question my integrity".

Well Ross the only way you can retain any integrity is to tell the truth and soon.

He said he had not been avoiding the SFO but had been in Morocco and Eastern Europe on business and to comply with his tax status.

What is it with these guys and their tax status?

"When I return to New Zealand I will meet with the SFO if they wish to speak to me, but there will be no public discourse by me should that event transpire."

As it should be - we are sure the SFO will tell all in good time -
He said Mr Hide's attack was ironic because he claimed to have been at a meeting with Mr Hide and a "fish industry magnate" when there were discussions about a donation to ACT.

Yip that would be true.
And Mr Hide's "crusade" over fish-industry donations was a "little rich" because if the ACT leader was "really interested in corrupt behaviour in the fishing industry", he should focus on a submission Mr Meurant had prepared for Mr Peters during the scampi inquiry.

Yes Rodney and I have discussed this as length. And at the time he just refsued to believe that the corruption allegations had any substance... We had big arguements about it at the time. I also know that in the last few weeks he has personally apologised to the scampi rebels for not believing them.

The submission alleged corruption and mismanagement occurred as hoki quota was introduced, and cost New Zealand "conservatively $1 billion", Mr Meurant said.
"During preparation of the document I received a direct and menacing threat from a powerful fish industry figure: `I'm warning you. Leave hoki alone'," Mr Meurant alleged the person said.

Well I wonder who that is...... and yes we really do know...

He was disappointed that in spite of Mr Peters "promising" to "root out corruption in the fish industry" when he tabled the document, Mr Peters "appears to have failed to make good this pledge".

Someone will be sweating buckets in the South Island this morning - Telecom is gonna make a fortune...

He said Mr Hide had access to the "damning submission" for five years but had done nothing about it.
"Which may put into perspective this burst of enthusiasm just before elections."

See above
Mr Hide said yesterday he believed Mr Meurant's testimony would be so significant that the SFO should "fly to see him if tax reasons are slowing him from coming back".
"This is the best news yet," Mr Hide said.

Yes Bustedblonde feels good today as well...

No comments: