David Chaplin 's Opinion

A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: Slater, Collins, Hager and Dotcom cleared in redaction cover-up

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David Chaplin takes a satirical look at the impact of Dirty Politics revelations on the finance sector
Nicky Hager (left) and Cameron Slater. Photos / Getty, Doug Sherring
Nicky Hager (left) and Cameron Slater. Photos / Getty, Doug Sherring

Cabinet redacted two critical sentences from a policy paper after pressure from right-wing extremists, according to a source not associated with left-wing activist, Nicky Hager.

The Cabinet paper, officially leaked by the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MOBIE) two weeks ago, was intended to resolve the "remaining issues around disclosure, governance and supervision, and transition" of the recently-enacted Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMC).

However, the two blacked-out passages - found on page 13 and 23 of the Cabinet document - are understood to detail plans that would make it easier for financial institutions to sell risky products to middle and lower-income New Zealanders, the source said.

The heavily-censored Cabinet paper suggests the government intends to redefine the border between so-called 'Category 1' financial products, which require a higher standard of disclosure, and the less closely-regulated 'Category 2' variety (typically insurance policies and bank deposits).

According to the Cabinet document, the blanked-out proposal would permit "innovation in products that are equivalent in terms of risk and complexity to the existing category 2 debt products".

"It's ironic that this right-wing government cover-up has been instigated in a document about improving disclosure," the source, who categorically denied being Kim Dotcom, said. "Ve understand this proposal will result in many low-income New Zealanders being sold into debt slavery via poorly-advised bank products."

But another source has labeled these claims as "left-wing loony talk".

The insider, who has no proven links to whale oil producer and right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater, said the Cabinet policy document shows the government had, in fact, foiled a socialist plot to undermine the financial industry.

"If you read actual wording of the Cabinet document and imagine what other words might fit in the blanks, it's clear some leftist bureaucrat had slipped in proposals to allow credit unions, and other dubious member-owned organisations, to sell a broader range of financial products with the same disclosure exemptions as proper banks," the source said.

"Quite rightly, the Cabinet struck out these absurd clauses."

According to a former ex Twitter-follower of Justice Minister Judith Collins, the decision to block out the two sentences from the FMC Cabinet paper was not politically motivated.

"I have it on good authority that the redactions were made after a Mont Blanc fountain pen leaked strategically on the policy document," the source said. "While Mont Blanc is a reputable brand, unfortunately, on this occasion there appears to have been a product failure."

It is understood all Cabinet ministers and upper-echelon bureaucrats are issued with Mont Blanc fountain pens under global best-practice stationery standards.

In a statement, Prime Minister John Key said it was the end of the day.

- NZ Herald

David Chaplin

A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries. Today, he contributes to various publications in Australia as well as his bi-weekly blog for the NZ Herald under the 'Inside Money' banner.

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