Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Cash for access deals run with help of PM’s office

Cash for access deals run with help of PM’s office

The Green Party can reveal details of an exclusive Wellington dinner where a select group paid about $3000 each to the National Party to dine with and lobby the Prime Minister in a cash for access deal involving the Prime Minister’s own staff.

The Green Party has been told the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson was with him at the September 2011 dinner at the Museum Hotel which suggests John Key was there in his capacity as the Prime Minister, not just a member of the party or an MP.

"This crosses the line drawn by the Prime Minister himself: that Ministers were free to attend pricey Cabinet Club style fundraisers for the National Party in their capacity as members of the party or an MP," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

“This $3000 a head dinner with John Key shows how enough money can buy access, not just to Government Ministers, but to the Prime Minister himself.

"It is concerning that the Prime Minister's chief of staff accompanied him to the event, which would suggest John Key was there in his official capacity as Prime Minister. It is completely inappropriate for people to pay to access the Prime Minister and the fact that the National Party benefits from this raises serious questions over a possible conflict of interest.

The dinner, on September 13 2011, was organised by hotel owner Chris Parkin, who invited a select group of Wellington’s business elite to attend.

“The Prime Minister himself has confirmed he’s attended 53 Cabinet Club events where private donors paid thousands to the National Party in order to meet him. The Wellington dinner was run on a similar basis.

“I think ordinary New Zealanders would be shocked to learn this is how the National Government goes about its business.

“These cash for access deals are a dangerous corrosion of our democracy.

“The Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins sagas prove the National Party treats more seriously the concerns of people who give them money.

“Lots of ordinary New Zealanders would love to have dinner with the Prime Minister and talk to him about the issues they want him to follow up. But they can’t afford to go to one of his exclusive dinners.

“Ministers have special powers that other MPs don’t. They have an obligation to avoid the risk they could use those powers to their own benefit, or to benefit those who give their party lots of money. These dinners are a blatant breach of that obligation.

“New Zealand needs a ministerial disclosure regime, like that proposed by the Greens, which would mean the Prime Minister would have to say who he met that night and what they lobbied him about.

"A $3000 dinner with the Prime Minister is worlds away from the $25 ticket to a quiz night, or movie night or other types of fundraisers everyday New Zealanders are used to. And its completely different from the normal voluntary political donations that parties rely on to survive.

“Though John Key may insist these cash for access fundraisers are technically legal, that does not mean they are right,” Dr Norman said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news