Another (fake) conflict of interest?

Gosh, they do try don’t they?

The Standard has a major scoop this morning, revealing Foreign minister Murray McCully’s conflict of interest over mining. McCully sits around the Cabinet table deciding on issues such as whether to mine on conservation land, and whether to boost subsidies for oil exploration. But according to the MPs’ Register of Pecuniary Interests [PDF] he owns shares in Widespread Portfolios, a self-described “mining sector venture capital investor” which funds mining companies such as Widespread Energy and Glass Earth. Both those companies – and therefore McCully – stand to profit handsomely from the government’s rape and pillage policy.

Um, no they don’t. At least, Glass Earth doesn’t.

1. Glass Earth is a gold exploration company. Most of the ho0-ha has been about coal.

2. Glass earth operates in these areas…

…and our National Parks are in these areas.

Glass earth has massive areas under exploration. They’ve had licenses to do so for at least 4 years (they listed on the NZX in 2006 if memory serves). Right now, they’re almost out of money for that, so are trying to develop paying mines within their existing licences.

But I guess if they…

  1. Make a massive gold strike and start mining it in record time
  2. Decide there are no other possible mines in any of the massive areas they have licences for
  3. And decide they are prepared to undergo a massive change in direction as a company

… they just might,

in many years time,

make a small hole,

in one of our National Parks. But somehow I doubt they’d want the bad publicity.

In reality, Widespread is just that – widespread. The vast majority of their portfolio (77%) appears to be in Vietnam and Inner Mongolia. Hardly an investment spread that’s going to return a massive profit from mining in New Zealand National Parks.

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