Prime Minister John Key last night dismissed suggestions of a conflict of interest over his production of Christmas gifts of "PM's Pinot" last year.

TV3 implied that because some of the shareholders of the vineyard named on the wine label, Highwater, are supermarket owners, that Mr Key had a conflict of interest in handling changes to liquor laws. (The wine was actually from the Sleeping Dogs vineyard: Highwater did the label.)

Mr Key said he set up a blind trust, the Aldgate Trust, when he became Prime Minister and it handled the full management of the assets not listed in Parliament's register of pecuniary interests. He did not know whether he still owned shares or not.

"I set up the blind trust after becoming Prime Minister so I didn't have any conflicts of interest through my investments, and that is the case because I don't know what my investments are," he said.

TV3 showed a video clip of Mr Key delivering some of his wine to media people in Auckland where he confirmed that he had shares in a vineyard - and that he had registered the name "PM's Pinot" - so he could use it again.

Mr Key's so-called blind dealings, however, are not quite as blind as they appear. A search of the Companies Office Register would suggest three of his favourite shareholdings are still intact.

The week after Mr Key became Prime Minister, a firm of Queen St lawyers set up a company called Whitechapel Ltd.

Mr Key and his wife, Bronagh, sold their shares in three companies to Whitechapel: Highwater Vineyard Ltd, Earl of Auckland Ltd and Dairy Investment Fund Ltd. The register shows that Whitechapel still owns the same three parcels of shares.

But trying to link Whitechapel to the actual blind trust that manages Mr Key's assets is difficult.

Both the company, Whitechapel, and the trust, the Aldgate Trust, are names of tube stops in London's business centre, where Mr Key once worked.

A company of law firm Taylor Grant Tesiram - Shortland St lawyers - set up Whitechapel - and probably set up the trust vehicle as well.

The Whitechapel constitution says its duties are limited to undertaking the trusteeship of trusts.

- additional reporting Derek Cheng and Adam Bennett