web analytics

More Nat cronyism

Written By: - Date published: 12:21 pm, July 23rd, 2012 - 11 comments
Categories: corruption - Tags:

Another example of cronyism from disgraced former minister Nick Smith has emerged. He overrode officials at the Ministry for the Environment, who had declined an application for $200,000 for meetings to resolve disputes between farmers and environmentalists in the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley, so a former Nat candidate could pocket the cash.

Here‘s what officials had to say about the project we were being asked to fund:

Environment Ministry emails reveal officials had reservations about the project. Deputy secretary at the time Sue Powell wrote in October: “We remain deeply concerned at the level of professional fees being paid into this process; some of the costs charged also have us concerned.”

Environment Canterbury chief executive Bill Bayfield also had no truck with the initiative. The agency stumped up $5000 in October but he balked when asked for more cash. In January he wrote to the ministry: “God, these people are annoying. One of the reasons I was willing to underwrite their meeting before Christmas was to get them out of the way.”

He worried the process conflicted with Canterbury’s water management strategy, calling it a “silly and potentially confusing overlap in a small community”.

But Nick Smith insisted that the money be paid out (funny, you would have thought that was one of those ‘operational matters’). $180,000 as paid out:

More than half the cash went to environmental consultants – including about $88,000 to Ecologic, a firm run by Dr Smith’s friend Guy Salmon. Mr Salmon is also linked to the National Party ginger group the BlueGreens….

A series of two-day meetings cost about $25,000 per event and officials worked out Mr Salmon was receiving three-quarters of that – about $18,000 per meeting.

More than that, Salmon was a National Party candidate in 2002. And not a joke at the bottom of the list, either, he only just missed out.

Key, of course, is relaxed:

He added: “I’m sure someone will have a cursory look at it . . . Maybe the minister’s office or my office . . . I don’t see it as a terribly big issue but I’ll reserve the judgment to go and have a look at it.”

But Grant Robertson points out this has a familiar stink about it:

“This project was highly political. For goodness sake, the trust was launched at a conference for the Blue Greens . . . the Government must clarify how the trust came to be funded. At the moment the public are being left with the all too familiar stench of National Party cronyism.”

I reckon Nick Smith can kiss his hopes of coming back to cabinet goodbye.

11 comments on “More Nat cronyism”

  1. Peter 1

    This is utter tripe, and a good example of why someone should check their facts before spinning stories. I’m disappointed that Grant Robertson took to grandstanding before fact-checking, but I’m more disappointed with you effectively discrediting the hard voluntary work of many organisations who have achieved a significant victory for conservation in the Mackenze Country.

    I am proud to have my organisation’s signature on the document, and when this gets released to the public later this month, you’ll be feeling mighty silly for your article above.

    I personally attended every single Mackenzie Forum meeting over a year and half on behalf of my organisation – the Federated Mountain Clubs – and I must say that the price of Guy Salmon and Richard Thompson’s involvement (Richard was chair of the successful Manawatu Forum) would have been cheap at twice the price.

    And if anything, Jacqui Dean put her own money into it, rather than the other way around as you imply.

    By criticising this process you are effectively criticising the hard work of at least 20 organisations, including Forest and Bird, EDS, the Ohau Protection Society, and others, who would be highly unlikely to stand for some sort of tory rort.

    Financial oversight of the process was in the hands of a Trust which had balanced representation of agricultural, commercial, environmental, and community interests, as well as having both Mackenzie and Waitaki District Council mayors on board.

    I request that you remove this article from your site until you’ve had it properly fact-checked.

    Yours sincerely,
    Peter Wilson
    Vice President
    Federated Mountain Clubs

    • David H 1.1

      Oh look a Troll with a fancy title

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        My understanding is that FMC officers are democratically elected and represent over 15,000 paid up members nationwide.

        Given that, its easy to see who has more credibility here, David H (hint: it’s not you).

  2. Peter 2

    Oh, and I should add, the biggest issue here is that the Ministry for the Environment, regional councils, and a few other places, seem to have an inherent dislike of collaborative processes, largely from a patch-protection mentality. That’s where the opposition to this is coming from. The MfE and ECan couldn’t get a solution, or even attempt to get a solution on the Mackenzie, and now two collaboratively developed solutions have been written (one on water, the other on land/development) and they may fear for their relevance.

    • bbfloyd 2.1

      And Now…. For something…. Completely different…………(flam/cymbol crash)…!

  3. bad12 3

    Ah another ‘slushy’, you have to wonder if there is a % kickback going on here, either directly or into the Party campaign coffers,

    Or does the payback rely upon the Party’s ongoing dominance in society where the ‘scratch of the back’ for Nick comes at some point further down the track when Nick is no longer a politician and therefor subject to far less scrutiny,

    This is simply ‘corruption 101’, nothing is written down and no ‘visible’ transfer of capital take place, Arab money launderers do this extremely well, billions of dollars can transit borders through this system which requires a money man on each end willing to ‘put up’ the required amount of cash knowing that at some time in the future the same transaction will occur in the opposite direction…

    • mike e 3.1

      Nick lizard eyes Smith will get a board job at a major bank no worries he’s done his crony jobs E.can, Hatchet job on ACC the philanderer has subjected Sex abuse victims to another round of abuse tanks to his meddling!

  4. lostinsuburbia 4

    I’ve mentioned in other discussions but can it be coincidence that this has come out a couple of days after Auckland Council announced that Salmon was leading its review of alternative transport funding options. Perhaps the Nats are set on devouring themselves again in an attempt to hammer Smith (not that he doesn’t deserve it) and take a swipe at the Council?

  5. tracey 5

    Or further efforts in the fight of joyce vs brown

  6. Ruth 6

    I struggle to understand what the story is here exactly, is Labour just trying to deal to Nick Smith to make sure he doesn’t come back, do they really think Amy Adams is likely to be any better? In my view if as Peter says Guy Salmon was able to facilitate a shared agreement between Feds, conservationists and others to agree to stop destroying such an amazing landscape as the Mackenzie then all power to him.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    13 hours ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    19 hours ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    20 hours ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    24 hours ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    1 day ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    2 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    2 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    3 days ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    3 days ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    3 days ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    4 days ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    5 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    5 days ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    5 days ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    5 days ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    7 days ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    1 week ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    1 week ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    1 week ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    1 week ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    1 week ago
  • Voters to have the final veto on paid parental leave
    New Zealanders will have the final right of veto on a Government that has ignored democracy and is out of touch with the pressures and demands on families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Today’s decision by National to veto 26 ...
    1 week ago
  • Collins should put Kiwis’ money where her mouth is
    Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash is calling on anyone who has received a speeding ticket for going up to 5km/h over the 100km/hr open road speed limit to write to him and he will take it up on their behalf ...
    1 week ago
  • Where is the leadership on equal pay for work of equal value?
    The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis’ real disposable income goes nowhere for the year
    New Zealanders’ hard work for the last year resulted in no increase in real disposable income, showing Kiwis aren’t getting ahead under National, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Today’s GDP figures reveal that real gross national disposable income per ...
    1 week ago
  • Pora case a case to learn from
    Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The ...
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to start again with RMA changes
    The National Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act have attracted more than 800 submissions, many of them critical of key aspects of the Resource Legislation Bill. There has been much criticism of the new regulation making powers given ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Bennett’s briefing completely unacceptable
    It is completely unacceptable that Paula Bennett briefed her political staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis after her meeting with him, despite it having nothing to do with her social housing portfolio, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Green Building Council
    Building smarter, greener cities It will be clear to anyone who has been watching the public debate on the housing crisis that housing in New Zealand is sadly far from being economically sustainable when Auckland has the fourth most unaffordable ...
    1 week ago
  • Paula Bennett has more questions to answer
    It is unthinkable that Paula Bennett’s press secretary went rogue and tried to smear the reputation of someone involved in helping the homeless, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Political staff would not take such serious unilateral action without the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech on Notice of Motion on Orlando
    Mr Speaker, The Labour Party joins with the government in expressing our horror at this atrocity and our love and sympathy are with the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and of the United ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiakina Ngā Wai – Swimmable Rivers Report June 2016
    The campaign to clean up our rivers was launched at the Green Conference at Queens Birthday weekend. However, the work prior to the launch goes back a number of years. Russel Norman and Eugenie Sage deserve full credit for the ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • We can do more: Refugee quota should be doubled
    New Zealand is a better country than National’s miserable increase in the refugee quota that ignores our obligations to the international community and people in need, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “It is a sad day when the Government can’t ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere