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The Standard

Cabinet Club

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 pm, May 6th, 2014 - 222 comments
Categories: corruption, same old national, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

Tova O’Brian has broken a story about National’s “Cabinet Club” fundraising programme. The concept is straight forward: pay a fee and get face time with Ministers.

Except Ministers aren’t supposed to use their position to promote fundraising. It’s a breach of the Cabinet Manual. National’s response is to claim that these Ministers weren’t doing this in a ministerial capacity.

But it’s called “Cabinet Club”. Presumably because the selling point is that you get to time with Cabinet Ministers. Who have all sorts of power. Which makes it worth spending money for lobbying access.

I can’t really see how you can call a fundraising vehicle “Cabinet Club” and then claim it has nothing to do with ministerial capacity.

Cute name though. Sounds very cosy.

 

 

222 comments on “Cabinet Club”

  1. Pete 1

    I get the feeling that a lot of tories are clutching their pearls and popping their monocles at a media that is actually doing its job.

    • geoff 1.1

      great imagery!

    • Wayne 1.2

      It would help debate here to actually know the facts.

      Most electorates, especially those with a sitting National MP, have one of these “clubs”. They continue whether in Opposition or Government and they go back many decades. The title is intended to be aspirational. They are a way of encouraging better off members of the National Party to make a larger donation than the usual membership fee. For that there are typically 3 or 4 dinners per year with visiting MP’s who speak on their portfolio areas. About half the donation goes to fund the triennial campaign, with the other half covering the meals. Yes, these dinners are smaller than public meetings, but they are hardly policy making forums.

      I am pretty sure Labour has similiar events to raise money for campaigns. And they are ubiquitious for political parties throughout western democracies. So forget the ludicrous calls of corruption.

      As an MP, any member of the public could make an appointment to see me for 30 minutes or so to pretty much discuss whatever they wanted. And I was well known in North Shore to be readily available to see anyone who wanted to see me. A lots of people had all sorts of policy ideas.

      So these dinners are not about access to secretly plot policy. Access could be easily got anyway for anyone.

      They are about raising money to fund the campaign. Think about it. the local campaign costs $25,000 in the three month period, plus more outside it. There are levies to be paid to head office to run the nationwide campaign. There are newsletters, for members, postage, etc. Even if the local party has 1000 members, and many do not, and each member paid $20, which many do not, there will not be enough money to run the local electorate organisation. The money has to be raised from a whole variety of specific events and from additional donations.

      The commenters here seem to want all party donations to be less than $100, for MPs to have no dinners or functions, to see no-one for more than 5 minutes, to never discuss policy with anyone, to have no trusted confidants. In short, for MP’s not to be human beings.

      And presumably taxpayers paying virtually the whole of political party activity.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1

        If there’s no commercial advantage to having access to Ministers, why do Oravida put the Prime Minister’s photo on their fish?

        Oh, and how come their milk gets through and Guangzhou Ruima Food’s doesn’t?

        The Lusk narrative makes far more sense Dr. Mapp.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1.1

          Can you imagine the scrambling: “Quick! Phone [redacted] and get Guangzhou that certificate now!”

        • Pete George 1.2.1.2

          “Oh, and how come their milk gets through and Guangzhou Ruima Food’s doesn’t?”

          Because despite Grant Robertson claiming it was the “same milk”, “milk from the same supplier” and “the same two litre bottles” Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies who supplies the milk to both the companies, refutes that.

          Corrie Den Haring: It is not the same two litre bottles just simply with a different label. First of all Ruimi Food’s was taking what’s called enriched milk. They were taking flavoured milk, particularly strawberry and chocolate milks as well as standard white milk in various bottled formats.

          Oravida at that stage were simply taking two litre milk with their label on it.

          Some products going to Ruimi Foods in Guangzhou were blocked, and that was through extra testing that was done, namely the strawberryv chocolate and calcium milks that actually took longer than the shelf life of the product.

          http://yournz.org/2014/05/07/grant-robertsons-same-milk-accusation-refuted/

          Robertson hasn’t provided any evidence to back up his claim.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1.2.1

            Pity Wilson didn’t ask him what he thought the Justice Minister was doing “promoting” Oravida’s business and not Guangzhou Ruima Food’s.

      • Pete 1.2.2

        Wayne, it’s important, as today’s ODT editorial points out because it shows National as a born-to-rule party on sale to the wealthy. Can you recall what were the cheapest, and what were the most expensive plates at these functions in your experience as an MP?

        • Wayne 1.2.2.1

          Between $200 to $1000 per year, for 3 or 4 events. Pizza or breakfast makes it cheaper. Dinner with wine is more expensive.

          I don’t know what Simon Lusk said, but I do know what I have said here is correct, and properly describes the rationale for them.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.2.1.1

            Lusk said that National Party MPs ‘trade on their time as MPs to build lucrative business careers’.

      • Anne 1.2.3

        As an MP, any member of the public could make an appointment to see me for 30 minutes or so to pretty much discuss whatever they wanted.

        Disingenuous of you Wayne to compare an ordinary Saturday morning “clinic” with constituents… to a high powered Cabinet Club “do” (not ordinary MPs as you suggest) where the wealthy and well connected get to have a fancy meal and a “chat” with a Cabinet Minister in return for a hefty priced dinner ticket. We know enough now about how the rich and powerful use such opportunities when presented to them on a plate. $900,000 plus is big bickies Wayne. Very big bickies. What’s more, they make their “donation” under the cloak of anonymity too.

        John Key’s attempt to smear Cunliffe over two donations (both less than $5000) pale into insignificance in comparison.

        • Wayne 1.2.3.1

          Anne,

          The point I am making is that a constituent with a policy interest gets one on one time for 30 minutes. That’s much more time than the attendees at the dinner, or “pizza with politics” would get.

          These events are typically much more of a speech with Q & A to follow, with chit chat over dinner. Everyone there knows the real purpose is to raise money for the campaign. But people who are members of political parties do have an interest in policy so the speech and Q & A is a essential part of the process.

          If someone had a specific interest in a policy issue they would make a separate appointment to see me. But so could any member of the public.

          Also the $900,000 must relate to all the events right across the country, and probably the big one off dinners that occur where hundreds go along.

          • Tracey 1.2.3.1.1

            pizza with politics? Hmmm across 42 electorates 186 people have mad euse of cabinet club… that’s not big crowded meetings Wayne.

            why would anyone pay $1000 to be in a cabinet club, when they can just pay to be a national party member, or nothing, and go see their MP for free?

            I accept that Tv3 may be being a little mischievious with how they have phrased this

            “The National Party won’t say how much it makes from Cabinet Club. Donations between $1500 and $15,000 are declared but anonymous.

            National received 185 anonymous donations in that threshold last year, raising $866,000

            Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Paying-club-gets-access-to-National-MPs/tabid/1607/articleID/343026/Default.aspx#ixzz30yqPxFOX

            It’s not clear if that’s all from the cabinet club.

            • Wayne 1.2.3.1.1.1

              Tracey,

              “Why would anyone pay $1000 to be in a cabinet club when they…go and see their MP for free?”

              Because they want National to get elected to govt. They are typically party activists. And they don’t want a Labour/Green govt.

              Only a donation above $1000 has to be declared. A lot of these things are under $1000.

              • Tracey

                so why do it through a cabinet club, not just donate tot he party Wayne? You can do that through the website.

                • Lanthanide

                  Because when you go to a cabinet club dinner, you get to network with other National party voters who have also paid $$$ to be there.

                  Business is more about who you know, than what you know.

                  • Tracey

                    wayne said its cos they are mostly activists who dont want a labour greens govt, he didnt say it was for the opportunity to meet with other party sympathisers to get a leg up in their business contacts.

              • blue leopard

                Yes, along the lines that Tracey questions,

                If these ‘activists’ are so keen for’ National to get elected to govt’ – and they ‘don’t want a Labour/Green govt’ so very keenly, why don’t they donate money in the normal way?

                Why do they require din dins and added advantages?

                They are not so very loyal to the party as you paint them at all.

                Perhaps they also realise that hiding their identity in the manner that such ‘donations’ enable helps National to retain its false branding; i.e. allows National to continue to fool New Zealanders into whose interests National are actually working for.

          • blue leopard 1.2.3.1.2

            @ Wayne,

            How very strange that you would deny the power of networking.

            I have a dinner with MPs, I express positive encouragement to the MPs, I book time with the MP’s at a later date – I have already got a number of advantages from having done so; the MP knows I support their party enough to donate a large amount of money (i.e. I am on the same/similar page as them), knows I am wealthy, the MP possibly recognises me and knows my name (I am not a stranger) and knows that I am a source of income for their party.

            What a cosy set-up for those who have the money to take part. I guess every last dollar is worth it; the amount it saves them in having to pay my employees decently or provide them with decent job security and conditions.

            • Wayne 1.2.3.1.2.1

              blue leopard,

              Of course it is networking. And you are right in that most of the attendees will already be known to the MP (who no doubt press-ganged some of them to attend!).

              By and large the attendees are party activists who want their party to succeed. And strangely enough party activists do want to know their MP and other MP’s from around the country. And they are interested in some MP’s much more than others, and not necessarily just cabinet members – could be a rising newcomer.

              Are you suggesting that MP’s, of whatever party, should not network. That should have no friends or acquaintances (except those not interested in politics). That they should live in some ethereal tower removed from their electorates.

              • framu

                “and not necessarily just cabinet members”

                then why is it called the cabinet club?

                • Lanthanide

                  From Wayne’s first comment:
                  “They continue whether in Opposition or Government and they go back many decades. The title is intended to be aspirational.”

                  • framu

                    i think your being way to generous

                    • Lanthanide

                      I’m just answering the question you asked with information Wayne has already provided. That doesn’t mean I agree with his answer.

              • blue leopard

                No, I am suggesting that you are not acknowledging the advantages being gained – in terms of additional networking – by those attending the dinners and those advantages are only available to those with enough money to attend.

              • Tracey

                you seemed so sure earlier that its existence was mainly courted by activists who dont want a labour greens govt…

                can you provide ads which show where there wasnt a cabinet minister at a cabinet club fundraiser?

              • Hi Wayne,

                Are there any people going to these events who are not party members? (You say that ‘by and large’ they are activists – I was unclear whether the remainder were just the less active members of the party.)

                If so, how do they get to hear about it and, in your experience, why are they (individually or collectively) the target of any advertising about these events?

                I can’t recall ever being exposed to any advertising about such fundraising events despite them apparently happening all over the country and that they have been happening for decades.

                I’m a reasonably avid reader of local and community newspapers – and my eyes would be drawn to a National Party logo as I’m quite interested in politics and the efforts of political parties to communicate with the public.

                • karol

                  From tonight’s TV3 clips of the Chinese Cabinet Club, they look like very intimate meals around a dinner table in private homes. And Key has compared them to Labour fundraisers, with access to MPs, in failry low rent ommunity halls – at a party conference? – and publicly advertised.

                • greywarbler

                  So Wayne What do you answer to this very valid point that Puddleglum makes? Everybody should know about these gatherings and have the chance to meet their MP.

          • framu 1.2.3.1.3

            “Everyone there knows the real purpose is to raise money for the campaign.”

            yeah – cheap distraction wayne – we all know where the money goes – its the private paid access to cabinet ministers that is the issue here

        • Rosie 1.2.3.2

          +1 Anne. Well said. There is a world of difference between any ordinary person making an appointment to see their MP to discuss issues and ideas for free. That is simply a form of participating in democracy.

          Providing a donation for the privilege of being in the presence of that MP just screams corruption.

          And why does the National Party need such large donations? Is creating all the Crosby Textor spin and lies really costing them so much money? Do their shills demand such a high fee? Do they eat money for breakfast?

          • Anne 1.2.3.2.1

            Btw folks. I currently have two gravators.
            Upgraded computer and inadvertently renewed wrong email address- typo. Don’t care if nobody else does. :)

      • Tracey 1.2.4

        “It would help debate here to actually know the facts.”

        Thanks for this Wayne.

        Notwithstanding, the irony of you comment is not lost though, when the leader of our Govt doesnt let pesky things like facts get in HIS way.

      • Once was Tim 1.2.5

        “I am pretty sure Labour has similiar events to raise money for campaigns……So forget the ludicrous calls of corruption.”
        Presumably Wayne clutching his pearls and popping his monocle?

        …. you don’t see anything crass in calling it “The Cabinet Club” just for starters – let alone the implied justification for a race to the bottom.
        How very DARE we eh Wayne?

      • blue leopard 1.2.6

        @ Wayne

        It would help debate here to actually know the facts.

        So these clubs ‘go back many decades’ therefore no one (apart from Hagar) though we needed to know the ‘facts’ prior to the media broadcasting the information.

        Yes, these dinners are smaller than public meetings, but they are hardly policy making forums.

        Who said anything about ‘policy making forums’? It is the networking involved – networking is a powerful activity in business.

        So these dinners are not about access to secretly plot policy. Access could be easily got anyway for anyone.

        ditto

        And they are ubiquitious [sic] for political parties throughout western democracies. So forget the ludicrous calls of corruption.

        This is a non sequitur – just because ‘everyone does it’ does not make it a non corrupt practice. Last time I checked western political/business culture is getting highly corrupt (Libor scandal, GFC, bank bailouts and austerity for the rest….)

  2. Red Rosa 2

    Extraordinary – banana republic stuff. How corrupt can you get?

    Something like $900k annually? No wonder the National Party are rolling in cash.

    And what about the cute denials? Do they practice these smirking sneers at the Collins Charm School?

    These people really do consider themselves above the law.

  3. Clemgeopin 3

    I am actually very sad to see the ugly face of corruption entering our country which is supposed to be the least corrupt in the world. I am sure, most people, including many National party supporters will also be sad, shocked, disappointed and indeed ashamed of this kind of corrupt practice.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Nope – even the normally pretty steady,middle-of-the-road Dr Mapp seems to think it’s perfectly fine.

      Face it – it’s just us mad hard-core lefties who think that big money should not buy big influence.

  4. McFlock 4

    It seems to me that the Cabinet Manual is ignored. Is it toothless, merely requiring the honesty, integrity and honour of Cabinet to follow it?

    Every minister who has attended one of these gigs is in breach of it.
    Nothing will happen.

  5. Jrobin 5

    The weirdly guilty smiles when they were asked about the cosy arrangement were disturbing. Do these people think they are untouchable. I guess they did have a tame media for a time. Seems to be going rogue on them now. All a bit sick.

  6. Tamati 6

    How’s this any different to John Key speaking a a fund raising dinner or Paula Bennet attending the Young Nats Ball?

    Sounds like a fancy way to get people to pay to speak to the Associate Minister of Dog Catching.

    Strange that this should be revealed the same week as Joe Hockey’s North Sydney Forum.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      It isn’t, and that fund-raising puts Key in the position of knowing exactly who donates to his party, while keeping their names hidden from everyone else. That makes it much easier for him to help them.

    • grumpy 6.2

      …..and Bill Shorten’s $3500 a head secret meetings which has caused Aussie Labour a lot of embarrasment. The Fairfax allegations against Hockey are now headed for defamation court.

  7. dave 8

    pandoras box is well and truely open !

  8. dave 9

    cats really out of the bag now

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Banks is going to attempt this sort of lie argument in court. ‘I took enough steps to make the donation look anonymous and therefore I’m within the rules’.

    The National Party is out of control. Money buys access. “He’s in a private meeting, not in his ministerial capacity”, and they think that’s fine. After all it was only a dinner.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      I’ve read parts of the embarrassing transcripts, and I’ve seen the proud statement of a former attorney general, who protected his boss, and now brags on the fact that he tiptoed through a mine field and came out “clean.” I can’t imagine somebody like Thomas Jefferson tiptoeing through a mine field on the technicalities of the law, and then bragging about being clean afterwards.

      I think our people demand more than that. I believe that everyone in this room who is in a position of responsibility as a preserver of the law in its purest form ought to remember the oath that Thomas Jefferson and others took when they practically signed their own death warrant, writing the Declaration of Independence – to preserve justice and equity and freedom and fairness, they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

      Jimmy Carter, the “Law Day” speech.

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        sigh

        • yeshe 10.1.1.1

          sigh, indeed. couldn’t help but hear the full irony in the House prayer read by Carter yesterday as we waited for the fireworks to begin:

          ” ….and laying aside all private and personal interests, …”

          yeah, right.

          • Tracey 10.1.1.1.1

            if anyone needed confirmation God doesn’t exist, or not the God of the bible, that was it. The whole place would have been “smote”.

  10. vto 11

    Cabinet Club for access to people in Cabinet…

    in return for donations to the National Party….

    this is corruption….

    but kiwis will cry yeah nah there aint no corruption in NZ, that is for places like everywhere else in the world where there are humans…

    National Party people have their heads in the clouds in so very many ways. They need to get out and about and into the real world for a change.

    • SpaceMonkey 11.1

      National Party don’t have their head in the clouds, they know exactly what they are doing… it’s just got nothing to with the betterment of NZ, only their mates. The hobbits of NZ however… do have their heads in the sand.

  11. No no no no no you guys, you don’t get it.

    The “t” is silent. It’s caber-nay club, which is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from Cabinet Club. Wink.

  12. James N 13

    And then again, Cabinet in French has a much more appropriate meaning.

  13. captain hook 14

    NEWSFLASH:
    John Key declared inane!

  14. Harry Holland 15

    This is what happens when your politicians come from the business world. In the business to business world you trade your status and knowledge and behaviour for money, and it’s essential that you do that to survive. Many on the right just do not get it that government/public service is fundamentally different from business. Many of them will be confused/irritated right now, because by their business-to-business standards the cabinet behaviour is perfectly OK.

    I say ‘business-to-business’ because even in the business world ‘business-to-government’ is considered differently. Large US corporates have policies that government employees must not be plied with lunches/trips/gifts/donations, so as to avoid being caught up in accusations of corruption. By US corporate standards, Oravida would be in breach of corporate business conduct guidelines.

    • vto 15.1

      +1 Harry Holland, most especially your comment about many of them being irritated and confused over this.

      As I said above, many National Party types genuinely do not understand much about the world, in particular government and history. They really are pretty simplistic and naïve. It is like they have all been raised on some isolated farm somewhere and told they are the chosen ones.

    • Tracey 15.2

      “service” is something they get at a top restaurant or they don’t tip. Other than that it has no meaning to them.

      government is business to some businesses. They say they want govt out of business, but they are there on the golf course, or in the cabinet club organising the “lawful” handout from all of us for their businesses.

      +1 HH

    • Bearded Git 15.3

      Peter Goodfellow, Nat Party Chairman, on Morning Report just now could see no problem at all with “two-thirds” of National constituencies having pay-for-access Cabinet Clubs. It just didn’t register. This is the mind-set of the Nat Party. He said CC’s went back to 2002 which is roughly when Key arrived.

      He went into brain-fade mode when asked whether the ministers turned up to the CC in their Ministerial limos.

      I think the amount being raised in CC is important. According to TV3 $900,000 had been raised for the Nats through CC’s. (Not sure of period). These are not sausage sizzles.

      • Tracey 15.3.1

        Makes you wonder why people bother to join the national party, when they can just join the Cabinet Club and claim their privileges.

        OR

        is the cabinet Club involved in misleading and deceptive conduct under the fair trading act by charging for something everyone is entitled to for free?

        The market says Yes… (hat tip to Little Britain)

      • ianmac 15.3.2

        Bearded:“He went into brain-fade mode when asked whether the ministers turned up to the CC in their Ministerial limos.”
        A very crucial point. Cabinet Manual- no fund raising by Ministers – only as an MP. A very slippery Party. Hope this adds to the growing rep of a Party who slides around the rules in a manner of Con Artists.

        • Tracey 15.3.2.1

          nick Smith is on a poster with goldsmith in epsom advertising a meeting…

        • greywarbler 15.3.2.2

          NACT snide slide and glide like ice skaters – on thin ice.

    • Rosie 15.4

      +1 HH. Business to business, the opposite of people to government. Banana republic indeed.

    • blue leopard 15.5

      +1 Harry Holland

  15. Ad 16

    Russell Norman was in full Mr Smith Goes to Washington mode on National Radio this morning. I am impressed at the exceptional idealism of someone who will say – and sound truthful doing it – that he would give the same access to Mr Mills with his $60,000 donation, to some dude from Masterton.

    His criteria for which person he would prefer to meet: was it a topic of political interest to Russell Norman.

    I don’t always like the Greens. But good on you Russell.

    • Tracey 16.1

      His speech in parliament yesterday was great too. Actually oratory and heart.

      Bill English’s throat was creaking as he tried to roll out the unjustifiable.

  16. Sacha 17

    It’s Gerry’s nostalgic bid to promote woodworking to the masses.

  17. karol 18

    The unravelling in public of the Nats’ culture of privilege. They don’t see anything wrong with it, yet they know it doesn’t go down well with most Kiwis on low to middle incomes. That is why they tried to keep it under the radar, and their first response to a little public light being shown on the Cabernet club was denial – then they tried, “Anyone has can talk to MPs”, with the back-up that it’s legal.

    All round, not a good look as the corporate-style culture of privilege gets exposed in the full media glare.

    • Bearded Git 18.1

      +1 Karol.

      I thought Espiners attempt (MReport) to link the CC with Cunliffe’s undisclosed donors was egregious.

      • Tracey 18.1.1

        which is why it’s great Norman is getting into the nats.

        • grumpy 18.1.1.1

          So you see Cunliffe as a liability?????

          • Tracey 18.1.1.1.1

            i am voting green.
            , so your question is largely redundant for me.

            i consider cunliffe less of a liability forlabour than collins is for national, you?

            • grumpy 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Seeing you have just spent the last few days attacking Collins, you can’t have a very good opinion of Cunliffe?

              • Tracey

                you first. do you see cunliffe as a greater liability for labour than collins is for national, and why or whynot.

      • Rodel 18.1.2

        more amateurish I thought -or pathetic?

        • greywarbler 18.1.2.1

          Rodel you’re attempt at lofty political judgment if it is about David Cunliffe just matches your own words. It would be amateurish or pathetic if it was about him. No-one who wants a left government should start throwing out negatives at Labour without a good reason which is fully explained as an example. Otherwise you act as a RWT. There are enough of these Binklebonks around.

          For other late learners like me. Google on
          redact, redacted –
          edit (text) for publication.
          “a confidential memo which has been redacted from 25 pages to just one paragraph”
          and
          censor or obscure (part of a text) for legal or security purposes.
          (See Tracey below).

          • Rodel 18.1.2.1.1

            Haven’t got a f****n clue what you’re on about..

            Never mind defining ‘redact’
            try
            ‘ incoherent’

            adjective
            1 (of spoken or written language) expressed in an incomprehensible or confusing way; unclear: he screamed some incoherent threat.
            • (of a person) unable to speak intelligibly: I splutter several more times before becoming incoherent.
            • (of an ideology, policy, or system) internally inconsistent; illogical: the film is ideologically incoherent.

            • greywarbler 18.1.2.1.1.1

              Rodel
              It appeared that you were badmouthing Cunliffe and I think that is unwise at this time. Is that quite clear..

              • Rodel

                My apologies. Perhaps my own coherence is at fault.
                I was replying to 18.1, Bearded Git’s reference to Espiner’s failed attempts to trip Cunliffe, a person whom I fervently hope will be our next Prime Minister.

    • Tracey 18.2

      have read Polity’s timeline and used his footnotes as a guide. I read pages 40 to 45. It seems odd that a trail referring to the Minister’s desire to have redacted involved, and it is referred to several times in different emails, would be without her knowledge. Especially as the emails differentiate between the ministry of Justice, the Minister and the Minister’s office.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2.1

        Oravida asked the minister to intervene, to set up a meeting with [redacted]. MFAT said no way. Stone Shi set up the meeting instead and invited everyone. Everyone except Collins and [redacted] said “no way” – so they then cooked up the story that it was a private dinner.

        And Collins has tried to minimise it and cover it up from the very first time she was asked. Why on Earth didn’t she just say “so what, it was all cleared by my office”?

        Because she knew it was dodgy.

        Now it’s been revealed that Guangzhou Ruima Food has been shafted how long can anyone maintain the pretence that National are good for business?

        • Tracey 18.2.1.1

          Remember this?

          “Mrs Collins appointed Mr Kee mid-2012 after personally nominating him for the post. She then chose Mr Kee for the job out of two final candidates against the advice of officials, who had recommended Parliament Office of the Clerk policy manager Catherine Rodgers. She had previously worked as deputy director of human rights proceedings.

          Among Ms Rodgers’ advocates was Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford. He wrote to Mrs Collins to urge she hire Ms Rodgers for the $200,000 job.

          The details were revealed to the Weekend Herald through the Official Information Act. In the initial request in October, Mrs Collins was asked about the relationship between her husband and Mr Kee. She did not respond to the question.”

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862947

          • Puddleglum 18.2.1.1.1

            Hi Tracey,

            I hadn’t noticed that at the time.

            It certainly adds to what is now a familiar pattern of Ministerial behaviour.

            Where were Mr Key’s self-attested ‘pattern recognition’ skills when we/he really needed them?

  18. freedom 19

    Cabinet Club : over $800,000 of anonymous donations

    Cunliffe: $8300 of anonymous donations that were returned at donor’s request

    mmm, which one does the smear machine think is a story?

    • Tracey 19.1

      john key will release all their names in parliament today so he can continue to attack cunliffe for not revealling who the two donors were. he is not a hypocrite. he is an honest man.

  19. dv 20

    From a comment by Russell brown in the DimPost
    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/circumventing-the-spin/#comments

    12 Im not sure that it’s regularly called “cabinet club”.

    Russell Brown linked to a parliamentary written question answered by Paula Bennett a month ago which referred to it as such.
    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qwa/QWA_02791_2014/2791-2014-hon-trevor-mallard-to-the-minister-for-social

  20. weka 21

    Ad,

    “Russell Norman was in full Mr Smith Goes to Washington mode on National Radio this morning. I am impressed at the exceptional idealism of someone who will say – and sound truthful doing it – that he would give the same access to Mr Mills with his $60,000 donation, to some dude from Masterton.

    His criteria for which person he would prefer to meet: was it a topic of political interest to Russell Norman.”

    Ad, it’s not exceptional idealism, it’s normal political ethics. The GP don’t operate out of the old boys network, and their internal processes were set up to build in ethics, so for them and many NZers it’s a given what Norman said. What’s really at question here is whether so many other NZers still think ethics matter. Time to step up NZ and think about what you really want.

    • Puddleglum 21.1

      What’s really at question here is whether so many other NZers still think ethics matter.

      Thanks weka. This question is vital and very timely.

      I remember the Fairfax poll before the last election that found that more New Zealanders thought John Key would ‘bend the truth’/lie than Phil Goff. A political marketing lecturer who was interviewed said:

      a preferred prime minister was normally somebody who told the truth. The poll showed voters had a nagging underlying fear that there was something to Mr Key they hadn’t yet seen.

      I wonder how many think they may have seen it now? And, as you say, I wonder how many care even if they have?

      As an aside, Goff ranked at about the same level as Key when it came to “[Who] Is more in touch with the opinions of average New Zealanders?”

  21. Clemgeopin 22

    The National Cabinet has become like the National Prostitutes collective.
    Cash for access in either case. The difference is that while prostitutes sell their body for some cash, these cabinet ministers sell their body, mind as well as their soul for a much larger payment. Corruption has raised its head in New Zealand. What a disgrace!

  22. adam 23

    The opposition should just stick with the phrase “Honest John” when ever Key speaks. Do it in Keys famous throw away style, and make it stick.

  23. Ant 24

    Let’s face it, the fundraising side of Cabinet Club probably has more to do with giving the aspirational SME owners that attend a chance to feel invested in the National Party, while also giving them the false sense that they are listened to so they can keep deluding themselves in thinking National governs in their best interests.

    In reality we all know that the real brokerage of power and peddling of influence goes on at a level far beyond these poor deluded schmuck’s capability to access, the real power brokers probably lose more than the $800,000 Cabinet Club raises down the side of the couch and don’t miss it.

    It is far more likely the that intended purpose of cabinet club has more to do with getting these suckers paid in, participating, and feeling part of the team so they can then go out into the electorate and perpetuate the nonsense lines about National being the party for the SME business owner when in reality National do their best to run these guys (and the majority of their customer base) into the ground.

  24. Disraeli Gladstone 25

    I’m not quite sure I think this is as bigger deal as everyone is making it out to be. As far as I’m aware “cabinet club” is the informal name for fundraising from MPs. There’s not so much as the Cabinet Club but many Cabinet Clubs.

    Labour does similar things.

    I think this is a lot of hyperbole. But National brought it on themselves because it looks bad because of Collins and because of Williamson, not necessarily because the actual story is bad. This is what happens when a narrative of corruption forms around a government – non-issues suddenly become issues.

    • freedom 25.1

      “Labour does similar things.”

      As someone who has repeatedly stated on this site that my vote is probably not going to Labour,
      I would genuinely like to know exactly what you are referring to Disraeli.

      You are suggesting when Labour was last in Government they had a subscriber based fund raising cartel that operated through electorates up and down the country, making large anonymous donations so that Ministers, who actually have plenty of work to do, could mingle with paying guests?

      You are not confusing fund raising whilst in opposition, with the very different responsibilities of fund raising whilst running a Government are you.?

      • Ant 25.1.1

        Isn’t a subscriber based funding model kind of like being the financial member of a political party anyway? How often do left MPs do fundraising meet and greets if any? All my donations are auto-payments and I never bother going to events so don’t really have much of idea.

        I only wonder this, because really for all the kerfuffle, Cabinet Club seems pretty traditional as far as fundraising goes, just with a spiffy name. It’s good that its getting some hits on the Nats but does it have the potential to become some sort of scorched earth political standard? It might bounce back and hamper the left’s fundraising more than the right’s when they can just rock up to someone like Alan Gibbs and get a fat cheque without the fuss.

        • freedom 25.1.1.1

          Are you advocating for anonymous membership of political parties ?
          Didn’t think so, hence your comparison is pointless.

          If you have a subscription service, you have identification, it is not anonymous.

          Does anyone know if these Cabinet Club events are only open to National Party Members?

        • Tracey 25.1.1.2

          I dont think it can be like being a financial member of a party, or people would become national party members instead of cabinet club members, if you get my point?

        • grumpy 25.1.1.3

          ..or KDC

      • Tracey 25.1.2

        interesting post from farrar last year

        “Labour seeking corporate sponsors for its conference
        October 31st, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

        Labour is selling access to MPs at its party conference. Conference materials for mailing

        They have asked corporates to buy a stand in their marketplace for $1,500 and in return they get:

        An opportunity to meet 1:1 in a short meeting with your choice (subject to availability) of Members of Parliament and senior Party officials (further information regarding this will be sent to you on payment).

        All political parties do fundraising, but I think selling direct access to MPs at a party conference is new for New Zealand.

        I like how you can specify which gaggle of MPs you want to meet with. Would be tempting to have some fun and pay $1,500 just so you can force a meeting with David Cunliffe, Clayton Cosgrove and Trevor Mallard :-)

        • freedom 25.1.2.1

          Maybe I am way off base here, but the way I see it… when in Government your time pretty much belongs to the people of New Zealand. You want to do this fund raising crap whilst in Government, do it on weekends, or over the generous holiday periods throughout the year.

          When a Minister of the Government, and when Government is in session, your time should not be used for Party fund raising. Call me weird but that’s just the way I see it.

          When in opposition, go nuts! Sell who you want when you want how you want where you want. The opposition is not the Government, that is the big difference.

          • Tracey 25.1.2.1.1

            I disagree. ALL Mps are on the taxpayer’s payroll. I don’t pay them to raise money and their profile.

            Interestingly about 186 people donated via the cabinet clubs…. there are 42 national electorates. That’s pretty small gatherings currently being painted as normal every day fundraising meetings.

            • Ant 25.1.2.1.1.1

              It would be table based you’d think, so each donation would be about 5-10 people in attendance? Who knows, It might be way more cozy than that.

              • Tracey

                IF TV3 has correctly represented it, they say donations from 186 people… there are 42 electorates and how many cabinet ministers? That’s looking more like 1:1 don’t you think?

                • Ant

                  Don’t know, I’m a basing it on going to “this and that” association breakfasts where work would pay for a table and all the plebs would just pitch up and make up numbers. Figured that’s how it works in this case: 1 person donates gets a table and can bring people along so they feel important too, part of the pull of meeting a minister would be other people seeing you meet a minister.

                  Personally I wouldn’t trust TV3s interpretation of anything, a month ago Gower was inaccurately editing Cunliffe’s soundbites to create the ‘battle of the mansion’ stories.

            • Colonial Viper 25.1.2.1.1.2

              I disagree. ALL Mps are on the taxpayer’s payroll. I don’t pay them to raise money and their profile.

              Sorry, but the reality for many years is that MPs, Leaders and PMs often turn up at fund raising events to fund raise for the party.

              Where it really goes shit is when the business of government, corporate lobbying, or some other kind of quid pro quo gets carried out on the basis of this fund raising.

              I would support changing this system to one of public funding of political parties. The last time this kind of proposal was raised however, the government who could have pushed it through decided not to.

              We have to beware. NZ is sliding down the road of the US. Over there, in essence, a slow-motion corporate coup d’etat has occurred so now the US Government is a government not of the people, but of big business interests.

              • Tracey

                I’m aware of the reality CV, I was expressing my distaste for it.

                I also support public funding of parties.

            • Lanthanide 25.1.2.1.1.3

              That’s 186 donations above $1,500.

              There will be many many more donations under that amount. I’d imagine many in the $50-100 range.

          • karol 25.1.2.1.2

            I thought the focus on the Cabinet Club was that it’s buying access to government ministers.

            • Tracey 25.1.2.1.2.1

              you’d think it has to be different to the free electorate meeting with your MP, or national party membership… logic kind of dictates.

              • Lanthanide

                Free electorate meeting with your MP doesn’t get you:
                1. A meal
                2. A chance to network with your fellow wealthy National voters

                • Tracey

                  mr mapp said its by party activists wanting to make sure labour and greens dont get in. he said that when trying to provide us with the facts.

                  strangely your suggestion of business networking didnt make his fact list.

                  • Lanthanide

                    You said:
                    “you’d think it has to be different…”

                    I did some thinking, and the two obvious differences that came to my mind are listed.

                    I have no control over what Wayne does or does not say. But I am fully in control of imagining what a National party donor who attends these dinners may get out of it.

                    • Tracey

                      fair enough lanth.

                      i am not sure why mr mapp omitted that possibility from his facts, but he did, so i was trying to think within the facrual framework he gave us.

      • Blue 25.1.3

        Yes they were called Unions.

        • felix 25.1.3.1

          Yeah.

          When you join a union you get to have cozy dinners and networking sessions with cabinet ministers.

          :roll: all the way to the back of the head.

    • karol 25.2

      Sue Moroney has tweeted that it’s not the NZ way. Either she’s being untruthful, or Labour don’t do anything similar.

      • Disraeli Gladstone 25.2.1

        As Tracey posted:

        http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2013/10/labour_seeking_corporate_sponsors_for_its_conference.html

        I find that patently similar. If anything, it’s even more openly selling access. Labour is selling a chance to sit down with MPs in a one on one environment. National is selling a chance to attend a breakfast or lunch with their MPs.

        The fact that some of National MPs are cabinet members is eye-catching but ultimately irrelevant. Next year, those Labour MPs might be cabinet members. The one on one meetings didn’t cease to exist. If fundraising in power is seen as providing promises, fundraising in opposition is just making promises for the future. Or, perhaps, both Labour’s conference meetings and the cabinet club are actually just fundraising events without any corruption.

        Either way, Moroney’s being incredibly semantic or untruthful.

        • karol 25.2.1.1

          I’m not happy with the Labour Party selling access to MPs either.

          There are differences between the Labour and Nats approaches though.

          Labour, in that quote, were selling one off advertising space to companies for $1,500 plus access to MPs.

          If Chris Hipkins’ deductions are correct, for $10,000 a year, individuals are given on-going social access to Ministers.

          I’d prefer all private money was taken out of the funding of political parties.

          I think Hipkins got that figure by calculating the total money raised and declared,a nd the possible number of attendees at each event.

          Nats are going for big moneyed individuals, Labour for middle-range businesses.

        • Tracey 25.2.1.2

          wth cabinet ministers…

          there is no evidence of cabinet club meetings without cabinet ministers present.

          it may be such exist but its not yet in the public domain

          i dislike the whole sale of mps time….

          from any party.

          cabinet members are exercising power today and now, its wrong.

  25. @johnpagani

    So the cabinet club story is that people give money to parties and MPs go to fundraisers? Stupidest. Story. Ever. Jesuschristpeople.

    Some seem to be trying to much over something that seems fairly innocuous.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 26.1

      :roll:

      Seems fairly vacuous.

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        John Pagani takes money from the oil and gas industry, which is a major political donor to NZ political parties.

        Of course he thinks that there shouldn’t be a story around this.

  26. weka 27

    Does anyone have link conformation that the donations give access to tha minister outside tha fundraising event?

    • yeshe 27.1

      Weka .. maybe have a look on TV3 News last night for Tova OBrian’s report as linked in first para of this story above … observe many of the front bench of National try to pretend Cabinet Club doesn’t even exist and they have never heard of it … proof enough for me at any rate. And the wriggling and squirming involved was actually very funny !

      • freedom 27.1.1

        then later in that piece, Ministers who moments before denied knowing of it are discussing it. 👿

        • fisiani 27.1.1.1

          That’s because Tova was asking about THE Cabinet Club which does not exist. Do you struggle with English?

          • yeshe 27.1.1.1.1

            Fishyani .. Do I struggle with English ? Not as much as I struggle with Collins and Key and Bridges.

          • felix 27.1.1.1.2

            lol fizzy.

            ‘No of course we don’t run a corrupt little cash-for-access scam and I’m offended you would make such an outrageous suggestion. We run 42 of them

    • Tracey 27.2

      and are national stupid enough to carry on this way without a sufficient trail distancing itself from the true nature, ergo, it’s within the rules of fundraising.

      I dont think even national would do something so flagrant in the open. It may be the unwritten access people are getting but nothing in writing or structure divulged?

      Nick Smith, from Nelson is on a billboard with mr Goldsmith advertising a meeting…. clearly no rules broken.

      At least now no one is under any illussions that this governments standard is

      “if it’s legal, it’s ok by us.”

      A far cry from the table thumping evangelism of Mr key in 2008 about standards and transparency and honesty.

    • blue leopard 27.3

      Try ‘The Hollowmen’ by Nicky Hagar – he draws a lot of connections.

  27. Lez Howard 28

    What National fail to realise is that the voters in New Zealand can see what is what and a lot are not happy. National needs to tread carefuly

  28. Tracey 29

    2775 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister for Economic Development (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?
    Hon Steven Joyce (Minister for Economic Development) replied: Reply due: 14 Apr 2014

    2779 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister of Justice (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from her Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with her since she became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?
    Hon Judith Collins (Minister of Justice) replied: Reply due: 14 Apr 2014

    2784 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?
    Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga (Minister of Pacific Island Affairs) replied: No.

    2777 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister of Conservation (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?

    Hon Dr Nick Smith (Minister of Conservation ) replied: As a general rule my ministerial staff do not attend Cabinet Club functions. It is possible, however, that, if the function occurs on the same day that they are travelling with me on Ministerial visits, they may come to the venue and make calls whilst I am at the function. My office does not keep records of when this happens.

    2706 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Deputy Prime Minister (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?

    Hon Bill English (Deputy Prime Minister) replied: As a general rule my ministerial staff do not attend Cabinet Club functions. However it is possible that, if the function occurs on the same day that they are travelling with me on Ministerial visits, they may come to the venue and make calls whilst I am at the function.

    2707 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Attorney-General (Includes responsibility for the Serious Fraud Office) (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?

    Hon Christopher Finlayson (Attorney-General (Includes responsibility for the Serious Fraud Office)) replied: I have no record of a ministerial staff member attending such an event with me.

    2708 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister of Commerce (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?

    Hon Craig Foss (Minister of Commerce) replied: As a general rule my ministerial staff do not attend Cabinet Club functions.

    2709 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister for Building and Construction (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from his Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with him since he became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?
    Hon Maurice Williamson (Minister for Building and Construction) replied: No.

    2711 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from her Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with her since she became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?
    Hon Jo Goodhew (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector) replied: As a general rule my ministerial staff do not attend Cabinet Club functions.

    WARNING: labour supporters if Mallards shoots from the lip with no proof, he will quickly undo alot of the damage done to the govt, and turn people off labour (again).

    • freedom 29.1

      Good work Tracey, That list certainly shuts down the “Cabinet Club is not a real thing” message. :)

      If there was any doubt as to what Mallard was talking about, one of those highly paid high powered people that are so keen to continue being highly paid high powered people, surely would have queried him on it with a point of order.

  29. Hayden 30

    Simon Bridges’ web site

    Tue 29 March [2011]: I am hosting the first Cabinet Club Dinner 2011 with special Guest Hon Paula Bennett

    (courtesy of 3 News)

    Can we assume Paula’s not there in her capacity as MP for Waitakere?

    This is Paula of the hilariously-faked denial of any knowledge of any such thing, by the way.

  30. Ennui 31

    The “legitimacy” of this practice is clear, it is allowed, legit.

    The ethicacy of this practice is dubious. In effect it says “democracy for sale to the highest bidder”.

    When our leaders (and politicians from all parties) cannot see the ethical implications, or more likely are prepared to ignore this, the system is broken.

    • Tracey 31.1

      this govt believes if it’s legal it’s ok. Hence the former tax lawyer hasn’t resigned despite her maiden speech pronouncement of a “poverty of responsibility.. and a poverty of truth.”

  31. karol 32

    Interesting. No questions to Judith Collins today in Question Time – several opposition questions to the PM.

    So the heat is being put on Key, with Grant Robertson’s question focused on Judith Collins. More than one question asking Key about his confidence in or activities of ministers.

    • Tracey 32.1

      wasn’t the first question a question yesterday, or am I confusing it with the question to Mr Fuxit?

      “SIMON O’CONNOR to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on the New Zealand economy and how do those reports fit with the economic outlook to be presented in the Budget next week?”

      • karol 32.1.1

        Simon O’Connor’s question is the second one today. The first one yesterday:

        1. CLAUDETTE HAUITI (National) to the Minister of Finance: How will the Budget next week help to lock in the benefits of sustainable economic growth to support more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders?

      • Jilly Bee 32.1.2

        Who was Simon O’Connor winking at when asking his question? It was very obvious, unless his left eye has a nervous tic!! Not too sure where he sits, but the wink could have been directed to the Speaker or PM.

    • Hayden 32.2

      Keeps him in the chamber a bit longer, I suppose.

    • freedom 32.3

      It keeps the PM in the House, so he can’t do his rat run like he did yesterday.
      He really seems not to want cameras on him right now.
      Which is odd for such a photo-op barbie

    • ianmac 32.4

      If Judith Collins is seriously ill then it would explain the Opposition laying off her for now at least until the question of her health becomes clearer. If they pressed the questions knowing that she was ill, it would look really bad in retrospect. (They may have been told something on the quiet?)
      Might explain why Judith and John looked very subdued yesterday?

      • Anne 32.4.1

        No, ianmac she wasn’t seriously ill. She reported she underwent some tests recently and the results were good.

        Well, I underwent some tests a few months back and the results came back as negative (good) too. It happens every day to hundreds of people. It’s hardly a rare occurrence. Imo it was used to gain some sympathy for her and a aren’t those opposition types naaaasty people.

        In other words… it was used for political purposes.

    • Tracey 32.5

      is carter showing some testicles?

  32. weka 33

    Yeshe,

    “observe many of the front bench of National try to pretend Cabinet Club doesn’t even exist and they have never heard of it … proof enough for me at any rate. And the wriggling and squirming involved was actually very funny !”

    That may be evidence of something but not what I was asking. there is a difference between access to ministers at a fundraiser and access to ministers in their office afterwards. I’ve heard the latter stated and would like to know if it’s been confirmed.

    • toad 33.1

      Paula Bennett has even answered a Parliamentary question about Cabinet Club, but still tried to prevaricate yesterday:

      2791 (2014). Hon Trevor Mallard to the Minister for Social Development (04 Apr 2014): Has any staff member from her Ministerial office, paid by or through Ministerial Services, attended a ‘Cabinet Club’ function with her since she became a Minister and if so where and on what dates?

      Hon Paula Bennett (Minister for Social Development) replied: As a general rule my ministerial staff do not attend Cabinet Club functions. However it is possible that, if the function occurs on the same day that they are travelling with me on Ministerial visits, they may come to the venue and make calls whilst I am at the function.

  33. freedom 34

    not all problems need complex solutions
    http://thestandard.org.nz/heres-an-idea-electoral-funding/

    • framu 35.1

      are they cabinet ministers? – does this restriction apply to the opposition?

  34. Marius 36

    lol @ the Lombard finance gang not having to do their home detention. I guess that’s a fair exchange for them letting Teina Pora out early after 20 years. Just another straw on the camel’s back which will finally lead to the something big Christopher Hedges talks about. I can’t wait

  35. Penny Bright 37

    Corrupt National / business interconnections?

    FOLLOW THE DOLLAR?

    FYI

    Fellow anti-corruption ‘Public Watchdog’ (ex-Police Sergeant, now Private Investigator Grace Haden – BLOWS THE WHISTLE on this National Government’s multiple connections with Oravida, and asks
    “is it all about scampi?’

    Forwarded in the public interest.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-Corruption / Anti-Privatisation Public Watchdog’

    http://www.anticorruption.co.nz/2014/05/06/nationals-multiple-connections-with-oravida-is-it-all-about-scampi/

    Nationals multiple connections with Oravida – is it all about scampi ?
    May 6, 2014 | Author corruptionnz
    peter goodfellowAny house wife will tell you that if you sweep dirt under the rug that you will eventually be caught out. In terms of politics I think NZ has got to the stage where we are ignoring this fact but the reality is becoming visible

    I find it amazing that in 8 years I have not been able to get a government response on the corruption in Animal welfare where a lawyer was able to write legislation for his own business plan which he then advised on and obtained after making an application in a false name.

    Obviously I was not going to get a response as this would expose the tactics which are considered legitimate by both the National and Labour parties.

    The illusion of our corruption free status is the facade behind which the reality exists. We need only look at the events of the past week to see that Foreign citizens get far more attention from our politicians than locals do .

    While politicians are elected by the public ( real persons ) the support of our government appears to be to companies ( legal person ) .

    a Simple chronology sourced from the Oravida news page shows involvement of the government with the company

    Origins of the company

    The company was incorporated on 2/12/2009 as KIWI DAIRY CORPORATION LIMITED it went through several name changes to become ORAVIDA NZ LIMITED

    The company ORAVIDA LIMITED was formed on 22 July 2011 and became the owner of ORAVIDA NZ LIMITED ( which was previously called Oravida Ltd ) in September 2011 .

    chronology is as follows

    26/08/2011

    On August 25th, most prominent harbour buildings’ in Auckland CBD. The event was well attended by guests from the government, business associates and building’s key tenants. Mr. Peter Goodfellow, the chairman of NZ’s national party and his partner, Member of the Parliament for central Auckland as well as partners from PWC and Bell Gully were all in the attendance.

    6/09/2011 Julia Jiyan XU appointed director oravida ltd

    8/10/2011 Opening of the Oravida Shanghai

    22-Nov-11 Oravida NZ Limited donates $1,600 to National Party

    22-Nov-11 Oravida NZ Limited donates $55,000 to National Party

    1/12/2011 New Zealand Scampi Tasting cocktail party at NZTE Shanghai

    21/03/2012

    Seafood and Wine luncheon with New Zealand Minister of Trade at NZ On March 21st, 2011, Oravida proudly sponsored the seafood & wine luncheon with Mr. Tim Groser, New Zealand’s Minister of Trade at New Zealand Center in Shanghai. The event was aimed to present New Zealand seafood and wines to a well-attended group top chefs. Mr. Groser said: “ if you are looking for the cheapest product, New Zealand in not the place, but if you are looking for products that offer best value for money, you will find such products everywhere in New Zealand.”

    20/06/2012

    Led by the district Mayor, Li, Yaoxin, the delegation of Shanghai’s Changning municipality conducted a weeklong official visit in New Zealand. The main purpose of the visit was to explore the possibilities of branding New Zealand as part of Changning District’s initiatives of “country specific centers”, which is a trading platform intended for companies around the world to showcase and subsequently sell unique and under discovered products in China. Oravida Ltd is one of the chosen companies by Changning District government to spearhead the efforts representing New Zealand.

    Oravida’s vision to bring safe, natural and minimally processed premium food, unique to New Zealand’s unspoiled environment to Chinese consumers resonates well with Changning Government’s missions. By choosing Changning District as the home for Oravida’s China Showcase of New Zealand products, the company is best positioned to bridge the supply and demand by capitalizing on Chinese government’s support to promote country specific products, especially in establishing the consumer confidence in China, and New Zealand government’s endorsement for promoting companies with premium products from New Zealand to gain access to a much needed bigger market. During the visit, Mayor Li, Yaoxin met with the National party chairman Peter Goodfellow to discuss this exciting opportunity extensively and laid down the foundation for the bilateral collaborations.

    11-Oct-12 David WONG-TUNG husband of Judith Collins National MP appointed director Oravida and Oravida NZ

    26/10/2012

    On Friday 26th October 2012, Mr Deyi Shi the founder and principal of the Oravida Group of Companies, a passionate and extremely competent golfer, had the honour of playing golf with New Zealand’s current Prime Minister The Right Honourable John Key. Prime Minister Key, a keen and competent golfer, entered into the light hearted spirit of the head to head competition with Mr Shi at this fun event.

    10/11/2012 Oravida and Sanford, partners in premium seafood for China

    On November 10th, 2012, New Zealand Herald, the country’s leading newspaper featured an article on New Zealand seafood, ‘Sanford hooks into China market’. The article revealed to readers that because of the rising wealth in China, a shift in taste towards more premium seafood has been recognised. Oravida in partnership with Sanford has been successfully seizing the opportunity to supply New Zealand scampi to over 200 restaurants in Shanghai and is expecting to bring more high-end seafood species to China’s shores in the near future. The Chief executive of Sanford, Eric Barratt, says that sales to China are likely to increase from 8.5 per cent of Sanford’s total exports to around 25 per cent over the next eight years. Sanford is confident that China’s growing demand for imported seafood can be supplied sustainably and well managed, especially with partners with extensive local knowledge. Peter John GOODFELLOW National party president is a director of Sanfords

    9/04/2013

    During Prime Minister John Key’s visit to China, The Honorable Tim Grosser, Minister of Trade, The Right Honorable Sir Donald McKinnon,Chairman of New Zealand China Council visited Sogo Supermarket in Shanghai, where many of the NZ premium products are sold. Among many of the NZ products, Oraivda’s fresh milk and Sanford’s scampi are the newest additions to the product lists, and can certainly be categorized as the most innovative.

    7/10/2013

    Oravida NZ moved into a new premise on Oct. 7th, 2013. The relocation of our corporate office to 139 Quay Street, a building which we bought two years ago symbolizes that Oravida has entered into the next phase of fast growth.Present Jenny Shipley – Judith Collins cut the ribbon

    5/11/2013 Led by New Zealand’s Trade and Enterprise, Oravida successfully participated in the global seafood show held in Dalian.

    20/10/2013 Directors of Oravida invited to a community lunch with Judith Collins total present 15-20 people

    20/10/2013 Private dinner with Judith Collins and Oravida directors

    23/10/2013

    The Honorable Judith Collins, Minister of Justice, ACC and Ethnic Affairs, His excellency, Ambassador Carl Workervisited Oravida Shanghai office upon company’s invitation. As a NZ company committed to branding NZ’s premium food products and developing the distribution channels in China for these products, Oravida has been at the forefront of advocating food “made in NZ”. Both Minister Collins and Ambassador Walker recognized company’s efforts, congratulated us on what we have achieved and encouraged us to continue building NZ’s premium food reputation in China.

    23/12/2013 Oravida group donates $30,000 to national party

    19-Mar-14

    Prime Minister John Key met up with Oravida’s chairman Stone Shi at a dinner in Beijing last night, greeting him with a handshake and a “nice to see you again” before posing for photos.

    Comment

    If only every New Zealand company could get such an endorsement from our government then the playing field would be level.

    It would appear that this is as much about promoting Oravida as it is about facilitating exports into china for Sanford , which is the family company of Peter Goodfellow

    While transparency international New Zealand maintains that there is integrity in our systems the reality is that integrity is lacking.

    Persons with vested interest are able to influence the government and while this can occur we are in danger of having our government influenced by those who wish to financially gain from it.

    State capture—a form of grand corruption

    The events of the last week would suggest that our government is far from independent . The corruption which exists and is considered normal in other countries is being brought in to New Zealand. We are naive and do not have processes in place to deal with corruption

    It cold well be considered that Judith Collins who through her husbands position at Oravida is obtaining a financial benefit from the promotion which she had undertaken in China on behalf of Oravida.

    In a three day visit she had lunch and dinner with the directors in Beijing and then visited the factory in Shanghai .. you have to remind yourself that she is the minister of Justice .. and remind me again what that has to do with scampi and milk .

    The documents which were released last week under the OIA are available here I have attempted to put them into chronological order

    chronological emails

    emails by topic ( more or less )

    pages 2-8 VISIT TO CHINA BY MINISTER OF JUSTICE 20 to 23 OCTOBER

    pages 9-10 Minster Collins’ Visit Update

    pages 11-25 Sunday 20 October private dinner

    pages 27-41 Minister Collins’ Visit

    pages 42-50 Minister of Justice visit to China update on programme elements

    pages 52-54 Oravida invitation

    pages 55-70 Minister of Justice call on Orivida Office Minister Collins’ Visit

    pages 72-78 request for Bios

    pages 79-80 brief sunday lunch

    pages 83-84 Briefing Oravida

    pages 85-86 invitation embassy

    pages 89-95 ambassador communications Oravida

    pages 96-104 JUDITH COLLINS TO CHINA 24- 2.9 JUNE

    Grace Haden

    • Stuart Munro 37.1

      Great work Penny.

      It’s starting to look like the traditional ‘gentleman’s system’ for containing corruption in NZ ceased to operate a while back – something to do with a shortage of ‘gentlemen’.

      Someone needs to be scoping international anti-corruption measures and hashing out a workable local version.

      Sulla used to confiscate all the property of corrupt officials, and leave them to eke out their days in penury. This was both much more effective and much less violent than his predecessors’ methods, though it was considered crueler.

      • Marius 37.1.1

        unfortunately we’re not allowed to hack with machete’s at peoples limbs just yet, Stuart. But I’ll be sure and keep a weather eye out for alternative options to anti corruption measures from say…america or israel.

        • Stuart Munro 37.1.1.1

          Given that those two states are rife with it we might do better with something Scandinavian or coastal Asian. Switzerland scores well too. Canada is presently suffering similar problems but Iceland imprisoned a bunch of banksters and politicians, and their economy improved rapidly in response.

  36. not Petey 38

    Fap fap fap

  37. Clemgeopin 39

    Cabinet minister in the general debate just stated that the “beneficiaries should get off their backsides”. What an ignorant, biased, misinformed, shameful, unfair and arrogant statement from a cabinet minister! I think such an ignorant and cocky statement symbolises the nasty National party and this discredited government that works primarily for the benefit of the upper echelons of the country. Shame on them.

    • Clemgeopin 39.1

      The cabinet minister I referred to in my previous post was Jonathan Coleman.

    • Hami Shearlie 39.2

      I heard that too! I would venture to suggest that some unemployed people out searching every single day for a job, writing CV’s, sending in job applications and some who are doing volunteer work for the City Mission and Salvation Army etc are working a darn sight harder than “Maestro” Jonathon Coleman, the man so clever that he read a full and very long speech in Parliament right to the end without realising he had read the exact same speech before! Not the sharpest knife in the drawer!

  38. aerobubble 40

    The poor cannot gain teh same access. Its wrong and exposes why inequality is growing. Wealth can buy time, peddle less interventionist, pro-profit at any cost, and so exploitation rises as legislation fails the poor.

    • chris73 40.1

      Heres something that might have been of interest then:

      https://www.greens.org.nz/events/gareth-hughes-guest-speaker-fundraising-dinner-papakurahunua-green-party-branch

      But its only bad when National does it

      • Tracey 40.1.1

        when did he become a cabinet minister required to adhere to the highest ethical standards.

        i think parties should be publically funded, what do you think?

        how do you define “highest ethical standards” chris?

      • karol 40.1.2

        So Green fundraiser with Hughes, speaking – $20 for entrance dinner & desert – plus BYOG.

        Nats Cabinet Club – costing several thousand dollars a year, and posh meals.

      • left for dead 40.1.3

        (you cant take bribes when your not in goverment son !)John Clarke…..this @ chris wot ever

      • aerobubble 40.1.4

        Easy solution, give half money raised to other side of parliament.

        Easy solution for legal drugs. Hotline for users to declare a product dangerous and if
        enough do remove it from the market immediately, and investigate producer.

        Easy solution to win next election, Labour voters vote Labour in the constituency and
        green for the list.

  39. freedom 41

    Well I for one feel silly
    Turns out it’s not Cabinet Club,
    it’s Cabinet Clubs

    no wonder Government Ministers were so confused by the question

    The video clip is all busted up and broken. Maybe they will replace it. But here is the link anyway. Checked a few other vids from the same broadcast and they are running fine.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Key-Nothing-wrong-with-Cabinet-Club-donations/tabid/1607/articleID/343192/Default.aspx

    • freedom 41.1

      TV3 quick on the fix :)
      Video seems all ok now

    • karol 41.2

      I haven’t been able to view TV3 videos for a couple of days. Trying to install latest flash player. See if that helps.

      Nope. Still just spinning and not playing.

      • freedom 41.2.1

        just upgraded to Ubuntu 14.04 and it’s running all sites smoothly

      • Anne 41.2.2

        Been going through same process today. Wouldn’t work on Firefox but okay on Google Chrome.
        Don’t ask me why – my technological talents are zilch.

        • karol 41.2.2.1

          Ah Works on IE. I think that’s the only browser I don’t have ad block on – 3 news want me to watch their crummy ads.

    • Hami Shearlie 41.3

      Yes, that elusive little “s” denoting plural!! No wonder poor Paula and Anne and Peter Goodfellow (a misnomer if ever I heard one) were so confused – I mean they may have degrees from Uni, but that couldn’t possibly equip them to work out that Cabinet Club and Cabinet Clubs are the same meetings!

  40. Clemgeopin 42

    I just saw an extraordinary and disturbing report on TV3 during the 6 pm news.
    The report stated that the immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has been discussing policy issues with Donghua Liu – the Chinese immigrant Maurice Williamson interfered in a police case for spousal assault.

    It said that Mr Liu likes catching up with the National Party; he’s a donor. He wants changes to immigration policy and Mr Woodhouse WENT to hear exactly what he wants.

    The following bit intrigued me:

    The cabinet minister even made a special visit, meeting Mr Liu at his hotel — the Boulevard Hotel in Newmarket, Auckland.

    Now that is so shameful of a cabinet minister visiting a person to discus immigration policy rather than the concerned person visiting the minister. I cringed when I read it.

    Would that minister care to visit the house of some ordinary less wealthy non donating person somewhere to hear policy change issues? Money talks!

    I feel more and more sad and concerned that the ugly evil of corruption is raising its head in New Zealand, the so called least corrupt country in the world!

    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Woodhouse-discussed-immigration-with-Liu/tabid/1607/articleID/343193/Default.aspx#ixzz310h6ZesY

    • Hami Shearlie 42.1

      This story may turn out to have the same kind of legs as the Collins one has!! Hob-nobbing and socialising with a convicted violent criminal, tsk tsk tsk – Who next? An illegal Drug Baron?? The most disturbing thing with all these Nat Ministers is that they really don’t see anything wrong with what they do – so then you have to wonder, how long have they been behaving in this way, and what other questionable and eyebrow-raising things have they done that we don’t know about yet? This could be a HUGE story!

    • karol 42.2

      Key goes to fundraisers at private homes…? Weird.

    • Anne 42.3

      Very interesting link Clem. So:

      did Judith, Micheal and Maurice draw straws as to who would ring the police in January of this year and poor old Maurice drew the shortest straw?

    • Huginn 42.4

      In itself, that doesn’t worry me at all, Clemgeopin

      People lobby politicians all the time, for all sorts of reasons. At least Liu was doing it himself and not through a professional lobbyist.

      The Williams and Collins affair is disturbing because we need to be able to have confidence in our elected representatives, even if we didn’t vote for them. We need to be able to take them at face value when they say stuff like this . . .

      “[Anyone] can pick up the phone and call my office. As far as I’m aware any number of people can join the National Party, they’re free to do that. They’re free to support the party in any way they can and they’re free to exchange a range of views at a number of forums,” Mr Woodhouse says.

      Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Possible-conflict-in-ministers-meeting—Cunliffe/tabid/1607/articleID/343187/Default.aspx#ixzz310y9nZam

      • karol 42.4.1

        So why are these Cabinet Club events not advertised publicly? Why do they have them around dinner tables in private homes?

      • Clemgeopin 42.4.2

        Don’t you find it odd, demeaning, poor protocol and wrong that a cabinet minister GOES to his donor’s place to discuss policy, rather than the individual write or make an appointment to come and see the minister instead?

        • Huginn 42.4.2.1

          Two issues here. Woodhouse and the Cabinet Clubs

          I was responding to Clemgeopin’s concern about Woodhouse meeting Liu at Liu’s hotel. I don’t have a problem with it – Liu was lobbying; Woodhouse heard him out – and then said “no”. A professional lobbyist might have had better access, and maybe even a better outcome – who knows? But I don’t have a problem with Liu having a go at doing it himself, or Woodhouse’s response – and I think that Woodhouse has been pretty transparent about it.

          I don’t have a problem with Kim Dotcom hosting politicians at his home either. They’ve got to find somewhere to talk and I don’t think we ought to get too precious about where they meet up.

          We have to be able to trust our elected representatives to talk anywhere and with anyone they want to. If anything, I think they should make themselves more available.

          That’s why this business, especially with Collins, is so poisonous. It undermines our confidence when a wannabe oligarch can pull our Minister of Justice out of her schedule so that he can trot her out in front of his business ‘friends’ in China like a fucking trophy wife.

  41. karol 43

    Tweet from Fishrider Records:

    The 1st Rule of Cabinet Club is there is no Cabinet Club. The 2nd rule of Cabinet Club is, if caught lying about it, call it Cabinet Clubs.

  42. Skinny 44

    I do believe John Key will be mixing a business trip with one of these fund raising ventures by attending a cabinet lunch in Whangarei tomorrow. So there is a tip to any activists wanting to go protest outside Killer Prawn Bar & Grill around 1.30 pm.

    Given Nationals close association with Kiwi based Chinese business interests, one engagement will be a visit to the new Orvavida Kauri processing operation in Northland. Key will have us believe the visit has nothing to do with political donations. I guess as Minister of Tourism he will turn up in the interests of promoting tourism.

    The sham continues right under of noses.

  43. RedBaronCV 45

    Are Cabinet clubs being used to wrought the tax system?

    If you or I give a few dollars to labour or the greens we do so out of our tax paid income and that is the end of the matter. Do these cabinet club “donations ” get shown as subscriptions or meeting fees, or membership of a professional body and deducted from business profits thereby lowering the tax bill and ensuring that you and I are paying for some of it by default.

    It always seems a glaring anomaly that something like a business roundtable subscription will be deducted for tax puposes (an employer union) while union fees are paid from after tax income.

  44. irascible 46

    Rumour has it that when a Labour Party candidate joined and attended a Rotary Club meeting in east Auckland the local National Party MP ( a close friend of Williamson, Collins and Slater) complained loudly and asked the committee why they’d allowed a Labour Party activist / candidate to join the organisation. He appeared to believe that only he, as a true blue, entitled, Nat, was eligible and welcome in local service club organisations. Such an attitude is reflected in the manner in which the “Cabinet Clubs” are set up – exclusivity is the National Party entitlement.
    A point of view reflected by the east Auckland suburban media which puffs the local nats and is always extremely reluctant to give coverage to Labour Party press releases or activities.

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