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.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Andrew Little’s Debut, Mockingjay, And Drunk Texting

John Key’s credibility has taken a hammering this week – at least among the 50% of the electorate who have always had doubts about him on that score.

The other substantial story of the week has been about Andrew Little’s debut as Labour leader, which has received top marks, especially among the 25% of the electorate still voting Labour. According to some reports, the Labour caucus has been ‘in seventh heaven’ about Little’s success this week in taking it to the government in the House. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Parliament Today:

Gordon Campbell: On Government Arrogance

Right now, National is ramming anti-terrorism measures through Parliament. This legislation will grant the SIS the power to carry out 48 hour bouts of surveillance on anyone without a warrant, and will bestow on government the power to unilaterally revoke anyone’s passports and thus deny them the freedom to travel. More>>

ALSO:

Glenn Inquiry: Report Offers Solutions To Family Violence

The People’s Blueprint unveiled today by Sir Owen Glenn’s independent inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence outlines a new, more cohesive and effective system for reducing New Zealand’s alarmingly high family violence rates. More>>

ALSO:

Environment Commissioner: Changing Climate And Rising Seas - Understanding The Science

A rising sea will be with us for a long time to come – one way or another we will have to adapt. But how high and how fast the water rises will be influenced by the speed at which the world – including New Zealand – reduces greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. More>>

ALSO:

Key Texts With Whale Oil Released: PM Can’t Be Trusted Over Dirty Politics Defence - Greens

John Key’s answers to questions about dirty politics can’t be trusted, after he was forced to admit that he had misled journalists and Parliament about contact with attack blogger Cameron Slater, said the Green Party today.. More>>

ALSO:

Temporary Release Crackdown Continues: Corrections Review Of Phillip Smith Case

“The review by Corrections’ Chief Custodial Officer reveals that the plan for Smith’s series of temporary releases was overly ambitious and misinformed. He’s a highly manipulative and deceptive person who although technically eligible, should not have been considered for temporary release." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news