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Serious questions over money and influence in National

1 May 2014

Serious questions remain over money and influence in National

Questions over Maurice Williamson’s resignation after intervening in a police investigation regarding a National Party donor need to be answered, the Green Party said today.

“Once again we see a National Party Minister intervening in relation to someone who has given the National Party money. There appears to be a thin line between money and political influence in the National Party,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“Maurice Williamson’s resignation does not sweep under the carpet the bigger issue around potential Ministerial impropriety on behalf of National Party donors.

“It is very important the public knows the nature of Maurice Williamson’s contact with the police. Was he seeking to get a National Party donor off a domestic violence charge? Are there other legal issues that sort of intervention triggers?

“We also need to know when the Prime Minister was first made aware of Williamson’s actions. Was he simply hoping that information wouldn’t come out and has he been involved in covering it up?

“In New Zealand, it’s not ok for people to make big donations to political parties and then receive political influence as a result of that.

“It is particularly distressing that the ministerial intervention related to a case of domestic violence. All MPs should be supporting the elimination of domestic violence and have a zero tolerance policy towards it.

The Green Party recently released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime to improve the transparency and accountability of government. The Greens also proposed legislation for a lobbying disclosure regime that the National Party voted down.

“Every time the Green Party has proposed better rules around lobbying and access the National Party has rejected it. It is easy to see why they don’t want additional scrutiny,” said Dr Norman.

“Ministers are in positions of significant power and influence. It’s important that the public is better informed about who is gaining access to Ministers.”

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