Commerce Commission asked to investigate Trustees Association

Wednesday 23 June 2010, 1:12PM
By John Creser

The Commerce Commission has been asked to consider a Fair Trading Act complaint against the President of the New Zealand Trustees Association Gerlald McKay and NZTA board member Errol Anderson. Mr McKay is a director of Napier law firm McKay Hill and has recently handed in his practising certificate after a law society investigation over irregularities in his trust account.

The complaint to the Commission involves offers made on the New Zealand Trustees Association website promoting membership benefits in return for specific fees. A Wellington member of the association sought an opinion concerning the actions of his trustees electing to take bankruptcy proceedings against him over a $4000 litigation debt.

For a fee of $200 the NZTA, provided an opinion that the bankruptcy was a clear breach of trust, however several weeks later it was disclosed that a member of  the NZTA  board was  Mr John Stevens from Wellington law firm Johnston Lawrence. Mr Steven's firm had acted for the trustees and he had sworn affidavits supporting the bankruptcy, consequently the NZTA withdrew its opinion and canceled the complainant's membership.

The Commission has been asked to consider whether the NZTA could be considered to be a trading entity when it took in membership fee's and made additional charges  for opinions relating to trust deeds.