All this talk about wine and vineyards is really just an irrelevant tangent. This story by Vernon Small explains the allegations made by Labour:
In Parliament yesterday Mr Key agreed he did not know and could not know what was in his Aldgate Trust listed in the MPs’ register of pecuniary interests.
The Cabinet Manual recommends the use of blind trusts to ensure a minister can never be sure what his holdings are at any given time so there can be no conflict of interest.
But Mr Hodgson said investigations by Labour showed Mr Key’s assets began to be transferred to a company called Whitechapel Ltd shortly after the 2008 election. That included his shares in Dairy Investment Fund Ltd, an interest in Highwater Vineyard in Central Otago and – later – a property company Earl of Auckland.
The directors of Whitechapel include Mr Key’s lawyer from his family trust.
Mr Hodgson said it was easy for Mr Key to know he still owned those assets because they would show up in a search of Whitechapel at the Companies’ Office register. It was clearly a vehicle used by the trust managers to manage Mr Key’s assets.
So the allegation is that Key transferred his assets into a company managed by his blind trust – but that he had visibility of the assets owned by that company. This contradicts his previous statements to Parliament. So they might have something there.