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Hide abuses position to line Act coffers

Phil Goff
Leader of the Labour Party


21 October 2009 Media Statement
Hide abuses ministerial position to line Act coffers

Rodney Hide’s abuse of his ministerial position to fundraise for ACT is unacceptable and the Prime Minister should never have allowed it to happen under his watch, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

“It has been revealed that Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has invited regional councillors and members of the public to an ACT Party fundraising event in Christchurch to hear about the future of local government.

“The ACT Party is charging people $45 to attend the breakfast on November 4. The invitation sent to councillors, on ACT letterhead and from an ACT Party member, describes Mr Hide as both the ACT Leader and the Local Government Minister who has “significant programme to enhance the operation of the local government sector.”

“It is completely unacceptable for Mr Hide to misuse his ministerial position to line ACT Party coffers and to pressure local government officials to attend. As a minister I would never have dreamed of doing this.

“The public are entitled to know what the Government’s policy is without being forced to contribute to the ACT Party in order to find out,” says Phil Goff.

“It is remarkable that John Key is allowing a minister to abuse his position in this way and raises further questions about a lack of political process, procedures and management in this Government.

“Rodney Hide tried to deny in an interview that this was an ACT Party fundraiser, but at the same time admitted “there might be profit” being made for the ACT Party.
He admitted he had no idea about the actual cost of the breakfast and how much of the $45 a head ticket price would go to his party.

“He also had the audacity to criticise councillors who have complained about paying money to ACT in order to hear the minister speak as “whingers”.

“This whole debacle is completely inappropriate. Mr Hide has said he has held similar meetings around the country. He and Mr Key need to come clean on how many have been held and he needs to tell the public exactly how much money ACT has made out of this rort. Are any other ministers up to the same thing?

“John Key might also like to ask Rodney Hide whether he’s using his ministerial role to promote ACT Party policy at the meetings – including ACT’s plan to reduce councils to the delivery of core services only - and misrepresenting these as the Government’s policy,” Phil Goff says.

ENDS

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