Tricky Patrick Gower



In a weird way I feel slightly bonded to Patrick Gower. I’ve always enjoyed Paddy more as a shit stirrer than as a journalist. His ability to manipulate the mundane into breathless headlines is a skill and it was watching him despicably manufacture a leadership coup and claim David Cunliffe was leading it, that was seized upon by the ABCs to humiliate and defame Cunliffe in the 2012 Labour Party Conference, that motivated me to set up The Daily Blog as a counter narrative to the jaw dropping myth spinning of the NZ corporate mainstream media.

So in a way Paddy completes me. His latest claims against David Cunliffe’s ICSL Trust however are so outrageous they must be challenged.

First – the transcript of Patrick’s report from TV3 News last night…

 Mike R: 3 News can reveal David Cunliffe failed to declare a financial trust as MPs are required to do with investments. The Labour leader initial tried to keep the trust off the record but was forced to make a late change. Political report Patrick Gower with this exclusive report.

Paddy Gower: David Cunliffe under immense pressure all about trust. First there was the trust there was the trust to hide donations that funded his leadership bid, now 3 news have learned of another trust he initially failed to declare. MPs are required to declare all financial interests over $500, yesterday Cunliffe admitted to two trusts.

DC: I’m beneficiary of the Bosy family trust and a Bear trust called ICSL which does savings investment.

Paady Gower: But a check of the latest MPs pecuniary interest’s shows only one of these two was actually declared at the time that’s the Bosy trust which owns his house, Cunliffe left out the ICSL trust he was forced to correct the register by making a late declaration posted on the website.

JK: He needs to be you know up front and again clear about when he found this trust why he forgot about it when he up dated his records what’s in it ah you know these are just basic facts that the leader should probably tell the public.

PG: ICSL is an investment company trust David Cunliffe is one of 20,000 investors that manages $8 billion in investments evenly divided that $400,000 each. Cunliffe refused to front.

JK: Id like to say (?) but it sounds a bit tricky.

PG: Cunliffe’s office said it was initially left out because “legal advice” was it didn’t need to be disclosed, Cunliffe got further advice from the registrar that if in doubt – declare it. The register covers 1st of Feb 2012 to 31 Jan last year, Cunliffe joined the trust in March 2012 the deadline to declare was almost a year later on Feb 28 2013 but he declared four months later on July 16. Cunliffe’s predecessor David Shearer had the same issue failing to declare what could be up to 100,000 in the  United Nations bank account, so another day another promise with a trust.

MR: Patrick Gower joins me live from Parliament, Patrick how significant is this for Cunliffe.

PG: Significant because it gives the Prime Minister another chance to label David Cunliffe tricky which is the last thing that Cunliffe needs right now. Now a couple of important points here David Cunliffe’s office says the amount of money in that investment is much less than 100,000 but is probably still a significant amount in there for most people and Cunliffe did not forget about this amount of money as the Prime Minister was alleging there rather he knew about it and he got legal advice to try and keep it off the books off the public record now I went back to David Cunliffes office I said where did the legal advice come from they said Greg Presland now Greg Presland is a lawyer but he is more well know as one of David Cunliffes loyalists one of his organisers in fact Greg Presland is the guy running the other trust that was trying to keep the donations to Cunliffe leadership campaign secret.

Now Mike just quickly on another related matter last night we told you that it was the Labour MP Clare Curran who sent the policy ideas straight to the enemy to the office of the IT Minister Amy Adams it wasn’t clare curran at all actually it was one of David Cunliffe’s close advisors it was one of David Cunliffes staff and he actually spent some of Cunliffes speech notes to Amy Adams as well. So that blunder goes straight to David Cunliffes door as well.

…all sounds pretty damning eh? Well, let’s dig a little deeper shall we and play a game called ‘Paddy Says’.

  • Paddy says: “yesterday Cunliffe admitted to two trusts”, yet the ICSL trust is not new. It was declared in the pecuniary interests register since July 2013 and Cunliffe declared it again in his 2014 pecuniary interests. There is no admission to make. His mention of it on Tuesday was in response to a question by 3 News about which trusts he had an interest in. The way Paddy has framed this is as if Cunliffe had rushed to confess a great sin, it’s been there on the record for 8 bloody months!


  • Paddy says Cunliffe was “forced to correct the register” like he was under duress. Cunliffe declared it last year after seeking advice from the registrar on whether he should! That’s hardly forced! He sought clarification and got it, the way Gower is framing it however is as some type of wrong doing that David is being punished for.


  • Paddy says: “ICSL is an investment company trust. David Cunliffe is one of 20,000 investors that manages $8 billion in investments. Evenly divided, that’s $400,000 each. Cunliffe refused to front.” This is then reinforced by a graphic with Cunliffe’s face next to a figure for $400 000, this despite 3 News being told by Cunliffe’s office that he had “much less than $100,000” invested. Something Gower admits at the end of the story, but the graphic has already done the damage.


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What Paddy doesn’t say however is the number of National Party MPs who did the exact same thing as Cunliffe did and make supplementary declarations to the  pecuniary interests register in 2013.

So when will Paddy be doing the exact same story on Jackie Blue, Simon Bridges, Shane Ardern and Nathan Guy? When are investigations using the same ominous insinuations of corruption going to be meted out to those 4 National Party MPs by Patrick Gower?

Paddy won’t be investigating those 4 National MPs though will he?

I can’t work out what is happening with Patrick Gower. He seems to either be conducting a live job interview to be John Key’s next Press Secretary or the National Party have a few of Paddy’s family held hostage somewhere under threat of grammar lessons with Chris Finlayson because this story about Cunliffe’s ICSL Trust is bullshit.

I don’t think it should be ‘Tricky Cunliffe’, I think it should be ‘Tricky Paddy’.


  1. Do many National party MP’s rail against the idea of wealthy people protecting their assets in Trusts?

    • I feel you are being wilfully ignorant of the point. It is the manufactured framing by Gower that is the issue here, the attempt to validate that narrative by insinuating hypocrisy is grey propaganda tactics.

    • Of course not. Because it’s what they themselves do. Which is entirely legal and entirely their right to do so.

      However, here’s a spot of logic for you Gosman.

      If the Nats are pointing to Cunniliffe’s use of a trust and his wealth relative to the average NZer as evidence that he is out of touch with his supporters and out of touch with the majority of NZers, then by their logic they too must be out of touch with the majority of NZers. Which is probably true. But they try to not admit it.

      In fact, John Key has gone so far as to publicly visit “struggle street” during an election campaign, and to highlight his background as a son of a solo mother in a state house as evidence that he is in touch with average NZers.

      They can’t have it both ways.

  2. Say what you like, Cunliffe is in trouble.

    He should have declared both trusts. The other National MPs are no name backbenchers. Cunliffe is the would be PM.

    It’s not good enough.

    • No. You are wrong. To answer your questions.

      He did.

      That’s not true and Bridges is a leader contender.

      He wasn’t at the time.

      It’s not good enough to allow this spin to pass without challenge.

      • He did declare both trusts. That fact is not in dispute.

        He did not declare both trusts on time. One was disclosed three or four months after the deadline.

        That is the error of judgment. It should be been declared on time. Cunliffe should have sort the Registrar’s advice at the time, not four months later.

        HOWEVER, this is a storm in a teacup. Cunliffe did declare the trust. It went on the Registry. This isn’t an issue by itself. It’s just an example of a narrative that is building around Cunliffe.

        No Right Turn puts it best about “values are instinctive”. Cunliffe didn’t instinctively go to transparency. He didn’t even go to Registrar for advice. If he had done either of those things, it would be no issue.

        So. Yes, this isn’t a big issue. The trust is now declared. However, it was declared late.

        • I feel you are being wilfully ignorant of the point. It is the manufactured framing by Gower that is the issue here, the attempt to validate that narrative by musings on values is deceptive at worst and useful idiot at best.

          • I agree with you on this. This second trust issue is minor for Cunliffe albeit of some interest among the other trust, house hypocrisy and IT policy stuff-up.

            But this is looking at a separate and serious issue – the over-egging of stories by some media. They try to make stories as much more important, damaging, than they are.

            Some journalists try to have too much influence on news and politics, and they are not accountable to voters. It can adversely affect any politician or party who gets in the firing line.

            It has a corrupting influence on our democratic process.

            • Wow, there is overlap in the venn diagram that represents Pete Georges views and mine.

              I think I need a lie down.

        • “If in doubt, declare it”

          To me that means the declaration was made in order to be safe, and good advice it was. Meaning declaration was based on an opinion from the registrar, not a ruling.

          Have we yet had any official ruling by the registrar or whoever determines these matters as to whether the second declaration was necessary, or, are we all running on the assumption that both did need to be declared, merely because they both were?

          Gower is now operating well beyond the pale.
          TV3 ought to reign him in or reap unintended consequences.

    • At the time (Feb 2013) David Cunliffe WAS a backbencher though. He was lower in the pecking order than most of the National MP’s named at that time.

    • So one set of standards for MP’s and a different one for the Leader of The Opposition??

      How does that work?

      That’s ridiculous

  3. Natty Patty is what I call him… becoming Key’s press secretary would make him far less effective. Key would prefer he remain right where he is. Everyone’s forgotten Key’s “memory” problems over his Tranz Rail shares and we still don’t know for sure. Journalistic probing looks crass when integrity is absent.

  4. Weren’t both trusts declared by July last year?

    In which case, if they were declared by that time – what precisely is the “news”-worthiness of this story?

    • Absolutely right Frank. There’s nothing to see here, not that that’s ever stopped Paddy the Troll. On Stuff this morning they have a poll on how good a leader D Cunliffe is. I found it very disheartening that I was one of the few who voted him a good leader. Looks like their propaganda is working. For pity’s sake Kiwis please stop believing whats said and look at the FACTS. I think he’s doing really well.

  5. Gower is no worse than John Campbell.

    I look forward to your upcoming article on Campbell’s bias

    • Left wing media bias is fine. It is only the right wing kind that is a threat to democracy and must be stamped out by the heavy application of state controlled coercive power. Please keep up with the leftist meme.

      • Come on Gasman, you can do better than that. John Campbell and Paul Henry are both hired to opine and editorialise to their respectively bleeding and black hearts’ content. Their slots aren’t part of the news hours, they are specialist shows which bear their name, and allow them to choose what to report on, and how to report on it.

        Gower is a political journalist. He is there to report on politics and present it as part of the televised news hour. That isn’t traditionally in the same league as the Holmes/Campbell/Henry style show, and is largely thought of as being subject to standard concepts of ‘journalistic’ standards (which we both know is conceited bullshit, but again, we’re talking about public consumption here).

    • Yeah, he is.

      Campbell is first and foremost a reporter, he gets his facts straight before he goes to air.
      The fact that he’s a humanitarian dictates the kind of stories he runs. He’s not so much left or right biased, but concerned with what affects the people who live in New Zealand.
      (Although I like the format, I don’t watch Campbell because I find him to be excruciatingly earnest, he doesn’t have the chops for some of his interviews, and he doesn’t cover stories as in depth as I’d like)

      Contrast that with Gower, who is not only one sided in his reporting, but is happy to either make things up (2012 Labour Party conference), blame others for his mistakes (Best Start), imply falsehoods (“ICSL is an investment company trust David Cunliffe is one of 20,000 investors that manages $8 billion in investments evenly divided that $400,000 each”).
      In short, he’s incredibly biased, and never lets the truth get in the way of an anti Cunliffe story.

      Whether bias is against a single person, like we see with Gower reporting on Cunliffe, or against a party, as we see with the Herald editorial team, we should all be concerned as it could just as easily be on the other foot.

  6. Martyn, I’ll go against the tide here and agree with you that this issue has been beaten up something chronic. But so has the Collins cup of tea. This is what our MSM does. We live in a small country with not enough local news to fill the various media appetite, and so anything, no matter how insignificant, becomes fodder for the Gowers and the Campbells of the world.

    Left wing blogs scream media bias against the left, right wing blogs scream media bias against the right. My view is that the bias is not deliberately within the ‘media’ as such, it is individuals within the media. And, sadly, in most cases that bias is simply covering up a lack of genuine journalistic quality.

    On the wider issue of Cunliffe himself, two cliche’s come to mind…perception is everything, and explaining is losing. While these reflect a rather shallow approach to life, regrettably wen it comes to politics, they do ring true.

    • problem is bias and “making shit up” or “basing a story round something somebody said on twitter” arent even remotely close to being the same thing

      thats the problem – gower isnt biased as much as hes a melodramatic show pony who relies on rumor, supposition and outright fabrication to make his stories.

      and yes, i would say that if the parties were switched around – its simply not good enough for someone to hold the role of senior political journalist and then run around making up shit even the womans weekly would shy away from

  7. um, the question I would ask is: would you go on a date with (or let your daughter go on a date with) this representative from the subterranean realms?

  8. Two Questions:

    1. Is there a regulatory/legal requirement that a programme presenting itself as ‘the news’ relay fact or is it o.k that TV3 ‘News’ continue to regularly convey baseless opinion/National party propaganda?

    2. Why was the information in Nicky Hagar’s book ‘ The Hollowmen’ re how National broke electoral finance laws, used trusts and third party resources (time and money) and didn’t declare them neither reported in the media nor prosecuted yet Labour’s one breach was?

  9. Cunliffe is in Trouble. He looks “Daft” to mainstream NZ. As the weeks go by it is getting worse. The media are spinning what has already been turning and Patrick Gower is the dizziest from it.

    The line I hear a lot these days, which is disheartening. “Better the devil you know”. Hearing that from staunch Labour supporters is my guide to knowing that it’s not looking good for Labour.

    Policies are thrown from the mind, and attacks (however mundane) personally on Cunliffe previal.

    Patrick Gower has finally learnt from his “yes man” of a mentor Duncan Garner

  10. Thanks for putting in the time to deconstruct yet an other National cheer-leader. Beats me how these people can sleep at night – without consuming as above I mean.

    National’s message is clear “you can’t do better than us” – and people like Patrick Gower will comment accordingly.

  11. Oh well, I guess all this hooha about nothing will at least drown out the deafening silence about Pike River and Peter Whithall, eh?

  12. Great article, very timely and thank God a bit of balance.

    When it comes down to National and their media friends all they have to show for 5 years in government is a shower of manipulated bullshit dressed up as news to manipulate and mislead the fools, I mean the voters.

    Christ the effort that is going into muck raking and misinformation really makes one wonder what the hell they are hiding apart from their lack of achievements.

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