Today we had another round in the gladiatorial contest between Bill English, Finance Minister and David Cunliffe, his Labour Shadow. Well we would have, but Mr English was not there, so that nice Mr Joyce came up to bat for him as substitute. Mr Cunliffe’s attempt to hold the question over until Mr english was available was denied by The Speaker.
Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) to the Minister of Finance: Did Treasury evaluate the net effect on South Canterbury Finance’s position of the February 2010 acquisition of Helicopters (NZ) Ltd and Scales Corporation shares, including the effect of the transaction on the recoverability or impairment of South Canterbury Finance’s $75 million loan to its parent company, Southbury Group Ltd?
Now I think we may be getting to some meat on the bone, so to speak. Yet, will there be sufficient gnawing to bring out the marrow (new information)
The video is here:-
To my mind the approach to the question answer was interesting. The response was around how Treasury took the view that the question they were interested in was that if there was no impact on the position of SCF vis-a-vis Treasury. this leaves open whether in fact there were impacts on others.
Mr Cunliffe became somewhat frustrated by the straight bat presented by Mr Joyce, worthy of Geoff Boycott stonewalling in his heyday, at least as far as frustrating Mr Cunliffe was concerned. this perhaps led to the effective closing down by The Speaker of the issue today.
At the end I am not sure that Mr Cunliffe was on the right track re timeline. He might have been better focusing on the transaction re the acquisition of Scales and Helicopters NZ. Others have pointed out that as part of that deal SCF passed cash to Southbury.This at a time when SCF needed to raise cash.
Given the reference to valuation reports in the responses to the questions from Mr Cunliffe, it is to be hoped that these reports will be amongst those released in due course pursuant to Mr English’s undertaking of yesterday.
Anyway we have another round to look forward to at the next question time, when perhaps more information may come to light.