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

Half Empty: Dairy Prices Drop To Lowest Since August 2009

Dairy product prices fell to the lowest level in more than five years in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by declines in butter milk powder and whole milk powder.

”Stocks of dairy commodities are building across the globe due to Russia’s current ban on importing dairy products from many Western nations, and a lack of urgency from Chinese buyers, while at the same time global milk supplies are expanding,” AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said in a note. More>>

 

Slippage: NZ Universities Still In Top 3% Globally

This year the University of Auckland ranked 175 (down from 164 last year); the University of Otago ranked 251-275th (down from 226-250), both Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury held their ranks (at 276-300thand 301-350 respectively), while the University of Waikato dropped from 301-350 to 351-400. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On The Last Rites For The TPP

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is one of those litmus issues that has always had more to do with one’s place on the political spectrum than with any imminent reality... For the TPP’s friends and foes alike though, the end now seems nigh. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Farcical Elevation Of David Seymour

With the election won, it’s time to find jobs for the boy. David Seymour is the Act Party’s latest scrounger to be rewarded by the National Party, and not only with a seat in Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

As Key Mulls Joining ISIS Fighting: McCully Speech To UN Backs Security Council Bid

It is an honour to address you today on behalf of the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand. Our General Election took place last week - our Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key is engaged in forming a government and that is why he is unable to be here in New York... More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cunliffe Triggers Party Wide Leadership Contest

David Cunliffe has resigned as Labour Leader, but says he will seek re-election... If there is any contest the election will have to go through a process involving the party membership and union affiliates. More>>

ALSO:

Flyover Appeal: Progress And Certainty, Or Confusion And More Delays?

Lindsay Shelton: The Transport Agency, embarrassed by the rejection of its flyover alongside the Basin Reserve, says it’s appealing because the decision could “constrain progress.” Yet for most clear-sighted Wellingtonians a 300-metre-long concrete structure above Kent and Cambridge Terraces would in no way be seen as progress… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party... More>>

ALSO:

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news