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The politics of private dinners

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, May 9th, 2014 - 225 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, corruption, democracy under attack, im/migration, john key, Judith Collins, russel norman, same old national, sustainability - Tags: ,

Whether or not the National Party has done anything illegal with its Cabinet Club/s fundraisers, there are wider issues about values, who the National government represents, and how they insert themselves within networks of influence. A major part of the opposition and media focus has been that of people with a lot of money buying political influence, as posted on by NRT.

However, a distinctive thing about Cabinet Club is the values embedded in the practices, and seen in the exclusive and private nature of the events.  These mostly seem to be focused around cosy private dinners, targeting wealthy donors.  This also connects with the Collins-Oravida saga, where a lot of the debate has focused on whether or not Collins dinner in China, was a private event, or one that she attended in her ministerial role (see Gordon Campbell on this).

With both the Cabinet Clubs, and Collins dodgy dinner, the problem is that they blur the boundaries between public and private.  These private and exclusive social events are ones in which wealthy and powerful people cement their access to power by nurturing personal relationships.  This pretty much exposes the way the National Party represents the already wealthy, while making life harder for those on low incomes.

This was shown graphically on the 3 News report on the Chinese Cabinet Club event at which immigration minister Michael Woodhouse was a guest speaker.  3 News had obtained a slideshow with images of the event, including this one:

Cabinet Club Woodhouse Chinese

Here mainstream politics meet private activities, within someone’s home.  Woodhouse is set up to speak, with the cosy little dinner table seen in the background; the after-glow of a friendly bit of exclusive networking on a very personal scale.

The curious thing about Cabinet Club/s is that they have been a pretty secretive activity.  When the Green Party’s revelations about them were first picked up by 3 News, the immediate reaction of some Nat ministers was to deny all knowledge.

I did a search for online information about the Cabinet Clubs, and found very little publicly available information about them. I did find reference to them going back to the 1990s.  There’s this speech by Simon Upton in 1999, when he was a minister in Jim Bolger’s government: “Address to the Dunedin Cabinet Club“.

In 2011, Simon Bridges hosted a Cabinet Club event in which Paula Bennett was a guest speaker.

I am hosting the first Cabinet Club Dinner 2011 with special Guest Hon Paula Bennett

There’s a curious footnote on p82 of a 2007 Uni of Canterbury Masters thesis:

Don McKinnon, “New Zealand: An Engaging Country,” Address to the Cabinet Club (Dunedin, 9 May 1997), 7-8. In Ayson, “New Zealand and Asia Pacific Security,” 395.

In the National Party’s ploy to attack the opposition with a “They do it too” gambit, they have inadvertently shown the difference between the Labour Party fundraisers and donations and the Cabinet Clubs. In the House on Wednesday, John Key gleefully mentioned an ad from the Labour Party website, waving it about like some trophy of war:

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I seek leave to table a report that shows that a market place was established where $1,250 was paid for an opportunity to meet one-on-one in a short meeting with your choice of MP. That was at the Labour Party conference last year—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The document has been satisfactorily explained. It is in the House’s hands, when I put the leave, as to whether members want that document tabled.

Grant Robertson: What’s the source?

Mr SPEAKER: The member is asking what the source is. That is a reasonable question.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The Labour Party website. [Interruption]

Kiwiblog also has a copy of the invitation, clearly pretty widely circulated around businesses, for businesses to buy a marketplace stand at the 2013 Labour Party Conference.  This publicly available document, about a pretty well publicised event, clearly spells out what is on offer.  This is a stark contrast to the murky, hidden operations of the Cabinet Clubs: Clubs that frequently happen in very private spaces.

The 3 News report showed a clip of the Labour Party Conference stalls, which were very openly displayed for public, via the media, scrutiny.  Compare these stalls with the cosy Cabinet club scenes in a private home above:

Labour Party conference stalls

Furthermore, Key, in the House, as shown on 3 News, went on to compare Cabinet Club with Phillip Mills donations to the Green and Labour Parties: something that the parties were happy to put in the public domain. And note that Mills did this in order to encourage Labor and the Greens to implement environmental policies for the good of all New Zealanders, and not to enrich himself.

How do people get an invite to a Cabinet Club private and exclusive dinners?  Who gets the invites,.  Why are these events not publicized in the public domain?

In the course of researching for this post, I came across this Pansy Wong blast from the past: a Bryce Edwards report on some dodgy National Party fundraising by Pansy Wong at a restaurant dinner.

 It has been revealed that Wong has raised large amounts of money for the National Party in 2007, including $200,000 from one fundraising event where apparently one Chinese businessman paid $50,000 for one of John Key’s ties. All of this money presumably was passed onto the head office of the National Party. Yet the funds are not easily identified in the donations declared by the party to the Electoral Commission for 2008. Why not?

The National Party fundraisers, target the wealthy, showing who they really represent.  And in the course of the fundraising, the boundaries are blurred between mainstream politics and personal relationships, nurtured in exclusive and/or private spaces. As Russell Norman stated when he began his excellent speech for the Urgent Debate on Maurice Williamson’s resignation:

This cuts to the heart of our democracy […] and this cuts to the issue of whether our democracy is for sale under this government

 

225 comments on “The politics of private dinners”

  1. John 1

    Explaining is losing. The reality is that the National government is probably stepping over the line ( on occasion) at these Cabinet Clubs, but to the punters out there it’s hard to see the difference when all you have are soundbites and the PM screaming in your ear that everyone else does it too. Unless this turns up hard cash i’d leave it for later when the dust clears and we all have our second wind. The Collins saga and Parker’s economic plan hit the mark. Unless we have a royal flush i’d suggest we not over play our hand right now.

    • karol 1.1

      I’m not a strategist, and I’m not into politics as a game where “hands” are to be played.

      I am commenting on something that is really glaring to me – something that went un-remarked with most of the media coverage. And it’s part of a bigger picture, which is what the elections are all about for me (and I think for many voters).

      It’s about who the National Government represents, and who their policies benefit, compared with the policies and practices of the opposition parties.

      • Puddleglum 1.1.1

        A very good post karol.

        Politics, like most human activity, is an intensely social psychological process. The social psychology of a publicly observable stall at a conference is quite different from what is expected, and occurs, at a more intimate gathering of specially targeted people – who therefore understand immediately that they have significant ‘inside influence’ with the people who have invited them.

        It goes beyond lobbyists getting access to politicians (as in the US) since it signals a favoured status even prior to the ‘access’. Public advertising, or advertising amongst broad groups of people, conversely, would suggest no special status or implicit influence for the particular people who ended up attending.

        That was the point I was trying to get at in my questions of Wayne Mapp on another thread. That’s why I wanted to know if the people targeted were – exclusively – already National Party members.

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          Thanks, Puddleglum. I hadn’t seen all of that discussion as I was busy earlier in the week. Interesting that in that discussion (as in this thread), Wayne describes people who attend Cabinet Clubs as “National Party activists”.

          I have difficulty seeing wealthy donors to a political party as “activists”.

          But, yes, Wayne seems to miss the point about what these clubs also say about the section of the society the National Party represents. So much for John Key being “everyman” or, rather an ordinary Kiwi representing all of us equally.

          Oh, in this comment Wayne refers to attendees as National Party members. But he more consistently refers to them as “activists” not members.

          • Puddleglum 1.1.1.1.1

            That last link to Wayne’s first comment on that thread is interesting in that he says it is a way to ‘encourage better off members’ but doesn’t say whether or not anyone else (who may not be a party member) is also targeted or attends (e.g., friends of better off party members who are also better off or particular individuals who may be targeted to attend who are not themselves members).

            Such private events allow those who do not want to be publicly identified with a certain political party to attend, gain access and donate large sums without being identified (i.e., the cost of ‘membership’).

            I remember when Labour’s EFA was being debated and some on the right were arguing that limiting donations limits ‘freedom of speech’.

            That, to my thinking, is about as clear an indication (or ‘admission) as it is possible to have that our democratic rights of ‘speech’ are actually rights of money/capital.

            If limits on party donations are limits on free speech then, logically, those who have less money to donate have less free speech in our democracy.

            • karol 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes. It’s about democracy. And I would like to see money, especially big money, taken out of politics. It’s no wonder a lot of people have given up voting because they think most politicians don’t listen to them or represent them.

              Good points about the donors wanting anonymity.

              I also wonder who else attends, and whether potential wealthy donors who are not (yet) members are invited to the cabinet clubs.

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2

      “Explaining is losing”

      Umm, all that shouting from the Nats is the explaining.

    • Molly 1.3

      “Explaining is losing”
      What does this mean? Do you want people to stop asking questions because they know they are speaking to accomplished prevaricators and outright liars?
      We don’t have to follow the scripts written by those who wish to obfuscate.

      “Explanations are expected” – should be the approach of the media and the commentators.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1

        A good way to look at “explaining is losing” is through a Taoist lens.

        The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

        These are: (1) The Moral Law…
        The MORAL LAW causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

        Sun Tzu

        The highest rulers, people do not know they have them
        The next level, people love them and praise them
        The next level, people fear them
        The next level, people despise them
        If the rulers’ trust is insufficient
        Have no trust in them

        Proceeding calmly, valuing their words
        Task accomplished, matter settled
        The people all say, “We did it naturally”

        Lao Tzu.

        • You_Fool 1.3.1.1

          I always considered Sun Tzu as more of a Confuciusist thinker than a a Taoist

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1.1.1

            …While studies of Daoist rhetoric are increasing, a masterpiece of Daoist thought, Sun‐zi’s (Sun‐tzu’s) Art of War, has not been examined for its rhetorical implications. This study suggests that war is a useful metaphor for rhetoric, and that Art of War provides a comprehensive, insightful, and unique rhetorical theory based on parsimony: extreme economy in the expenditure of resources.

            Sun‐zi and the art of war: The rhetoric of parsimony. Steven C Combs.

            Although obviously Confucian influences were abundant during the Han dynasty.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    The Cabinet Clubs are a good idea, as party fundraisers go. Charging a $9k subscription to corporates and cronies for membership to a Club to get exclusive access to Cabinet ministers is quite novel. Whether it is ethical or not is a moot point to the Tory mind, stuck in “show me the money” mode. Wonder how these ‘donations’ are declared?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Or become tax deductible business expenses?

      • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1.1

        Thats the real reason for them as ‘dinners’.

        Public companies are usually required to declare their political donations ( and larger ones do)

        But of course lots of money can dissapear in the expenses budget for donations to specific ministers in their favourite policy area

    • Tracey 2.2

      its the conflict between

      “its not against the rules” and cabinet ministers adherence to the “highest ethical standards” which interests me. and is of no interest to politicians and the media.

      supporters of nats on here have constantly said collins did nothing wrong but offer no analysis of that claim in relation to highest ethical standards.

    • toad 2.3

      Almost all will be declared as anonymous because of the ridiculously high threshold before the name of the donor has to be declared.

      So we have no way of finding out who is paying cash to the Nats for access to their Ministers.

  3. lprent 3

    Great post karol. I was wondering about the background and how long this stuff has been going on for.

    The stalls at the Labour conference were an interesting new feature this time (I was down there as media for The Standard). I talked to some of the people on those stalls. The ones that I talked to had rented the space so that they could talk to the delegates. Most were pushing for something that was policy related.

    A very organised form of lobbying and a damn sight easier for all involved than the usual scrum trying to push paper into peoples hands.

  4. blue leopard 4

    I sure hope that when the National MPs travel to these not-under-my-Cabinet-Minister-role dinners that they pay for the travel and accommodation costs out of their own-private-not-Cabinet-Minister-wallets. Or that such costs are met by the ‘donations’ received from the attendees.

    If this is not the case and the costs are being put onto their expense accounts then what the National government MPs are effectively doing is transferring public funds into National Party coffers.

  5. Money, politicians and influence will always be a contentious issue. There’s no easy solution, parties need money to function and campaign, and they need to network with the public and interest groups to get ideas for policy.

    What’s the difference between, say, the owner of a manufacturing business attending National Party functions, talking to MPs and donating to National, and, say, the Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union attending and voting at Labour conferences and participating in leader selections and donating to Labour?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      The difference is that the union represents a membership that has a direct input into Labour policy by virtue of the party structure: they already have influence so they don’t need to buy it.

      Whereas when Sky City buys legislation they do so in an environment where they are the only bidder that knows regulatory changes are up for sale.

    • karol 5.2

      Did you read the post, PG? A major difference is between National Party’s exclusive, and secretive fundraising practices, often seemingly arranged privately and without any verifiable rational organisation other than cronyism, and union activities and Labour Party practices that are transparent and open to public scrutiny.

      • Pete George 5.2.1

        I’ve seen a lot out in the open about fundraising of both National and Labour, and also secretive fundraising, for example via trusts.

        “without any verifiable rational organisation other than cronyism”

        That’s a pretty big (and unverified) assumption, but if raising money for party operations and election campaigns is cronyism then all parties must be guilty mustn’t they?

        • blue leopard 5.2.1.1

          You are confusing the issue of fundraising with the manner in which fundraising is being conducted.

          National are raising money in a manner that gives people with wealth networking advantages that those without such wealth are not able to enjoy.

          They are raising money in a manner that further stratifies this country.

          They are raising money in a manner that allows them to hide those influencing their policies and thereby allowing National to continue to fool New Zealanders as to whose interests National are working for.

          They are also raising money in a manner that may well be transferring parliamentary perks to National Party coffers.

          • Pete George 5.2.1.1.1

            I see little difference to what Labour and Greens do.

            Who influences Labour policies the most? I have no idea. That doesn’t necessarily make it a secret.

            Who has influenced Labour’s Kiwisaver and Variable Savings Rate policies? There’s certain to be some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings. I suspect these weren’t union initiated policies.

            • blue leopard 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Just because you don’t see a difference doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

              I suggest that you look up the donations to the Greens and Labour in order to find out some of their potential influences. Try doing that with National and please realise that 100s of 1000s of dollars are not being declared in a transparent manner.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1.1.1.2

              :roll:

              Yes, you have no idea, perhaps because you couldn’t be bothered educating yourself about information that’s in the public domain and tells you exactly how Labour and The Greens develop policy.

              The National Party, not so much.

              Or perhaps you’re just lying, and you really do keep up with political news.

              • How were Labour’s Kiwisaver and Variable Savings Rate policies developed? If it’s information that’s in the public domain that should be an easy claim for you to back up.

                • blue leopard

                  You are the one that raised the question – how about you go and look it up yourself?

                  • OAB claimed ” information that’s in the public domain and tells you exactly how Labour and The Greens develop policy”.

                    I don’t think “look it up yourself” is generally accepted round here as suitable citation for claims made, it looks more like a weasel out.

                    • blue leopard

                      Pete,

                      You appear to have missed that OAB was responding to your questions re these two policies and you appear to have missed out the …’perhaps because you couldn’t be bothered educating yourself about information that’s in the public domain… ‘ part of what OAB says.

                      If you are having trouble keeping track of the conversation and what is said, I suggest rereading the comments first before you respond.

                      Or is it that OAB was correct and you can’t be bothered looking up the information yourself?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Nah, he didn’t miss anything, he just threw his toys out of the cot when I pointed out that he’s lying and has a perfectly good idea how policy is developed by Labour and The Greens, but it doesn’t suit his dishonest narrative that they’re equivalent to the Cabinet Club.

            • mickysavage 5.2.1.1.1.3

              Wow talk about making completely unsubstantiated smears.

              • No smears intended, I think you’re imagining something that isn’t there.

                Someone must have influenced the policies, unless David Parker did it all on his own, which would be a very poor way of doing it (I’m sure he won’t have done it on his own).

                Were these policies debated or advised at the last Labour conference? Or since then?

                • Ant

                  Hahaha. Your constant switching of the goal posts is pathetic, your initial argument got owned because you don’t realise what an affiliated union is, and now you’re off on some other pedantic tangent.

                  • blue leopard

                    +1 Ant

                  • I know what an affiliated union is and I got (unusually) an informative response from OAB that I thought spoke for itself – some will think that explains everything directly, some will have a chuckle at “it’s different when they do it”.

                    • blue leopard

                      Yes, just like some will be having a chuckle at your constant goal post switching! A good laugh all round.

                      I bet those people attending fundraising dinners have a good laugh too. Especially when they see National defending low wages and poor work conditions. I bet they are roaring with laughter when that happens.

                    • McFlock

                      If you think that’s what OAB said, you’re an idiot.

                      Union involvement in the Labour Party is public information, and any policy they come up with is debated and discussed by the membership, source known.

                      But if national want to make a small bureaucratic change to immigration or business regulations, are they doing it because of impartial advice from the civil service, or are they doing it because a wealthy “donor” spent several thousand dollars to have dinner with a minister and mention a small regulation change that the “donor” would personally benefit from. We can never know.

                      If you think the latter situation is fine, you’re an amoral dickhead.

                    • blue leopard – now you’re making things up about what people might talk about at dinners. Do you think people at Labour dinners chat and laugh about banning all private ownership?

                      Do you realise you have just shifted the goal posts? To an own goal.

                    • blue leopard

                      @ Pete George

                      Nope, you are simply attempting to shift the goal posts again in the wild hope that you might make a relevant point again.

                      Oh dear me Pete, please stop digging – I can’t handle all the laughter.

                    • I agree with you on one thing, it’s very funny.

                • mickysavage

                  Pete …

                  You first said this.

                  Who has influenced Labour’s Kiwisaver and Variable Savings Rate policies? There’s certain to be some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings. I suspect these weren’t union initiated policies.

                  Then when I pulled you up about makiung completely unsubstantiated smears you said:

                  No smears intended, I think you’re imagining something that isn’t there.

                  So is it my imagination that you suggested that some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings IE Kiwisaver providers influenced Labour’s policies?

                  And while you are at it what donations have the unions made to the Labour Party in the last three years?

                  • “So is it my imagination that you suggested that some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings IE Kiwisaver providers influenced Labour’s policies?”

                    If Labour have been thorough then yes, they should have sought input from groups keen on boosting compulsory savings. As long as they also sought a good range of other opinions I don’t see any problem with that, it would be sensible.

                    So it wasn’t a smear.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      “Who has influenced Labour’s Kiwisaver and Variable Savings Rate policies? There’s certain to be some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings. I suspect these weren’t union initiated policies.”

                      At least you could own your own weasel hostility, you fucking coward.

                      No wonder people knew Politicheck was stillborn when you got involved.

                    • “At least you could own your own weasel hostility, you fucking coward.”

                      That’s one of your funniest projections.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Your whole body of work, remember, and you’ll never understand why.

                    • miravox

                      Why care about (in the context of this post) Labour policy development while they’re in opposition? – It seems the people in the party, and the voters in particular, can argue against such policies and vote against them before the Labour party is elected.

                      A Cabinet Club influence has no such process.

                      Another good post hijacked :roll:

                    • mickysavage

                      I am not sure why I am bothering to do this but …

                      Blue Leopard said:

                      They [National] are raising money in a manner that allows them to hide those influencing their policies and thereby allowing National to continue to fool New Zealanders as to whose interests National are working for.

                      Pete then said:

                      I see little difference to what Labour and Greens do.

                      Who influences Labour policies the most? I have no idea. That doesn’t necessarily make it a secret.

                      Who has influenced Labour’s Kiwisaver and Variable Savings Rate policies? There’s certain to be some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings. I suspect these weren’t union initiated policies.

                      Clearly Pete is saying that Labour is selling policy to the biggest bidder like National.

                      Then I said this:

                      Wow talk about making completely unsubstantiated smears.

                      Pete then backtracked and said this:

                      No smears intended, I think you’re imagining something that isn’t there.

                      I then pointed out his previous statements and said that he was smearing:

                      So is it my imagination that you suggested that some groups with a keen interest in boosting compulsory savings IE Kiwisaver providers influenced Labour’s policies?

                      Pete then effing said:

                      If Labour have been thorough then yes, they should have sought input from groups keen on boosting compulsory savings. As long as they also sought a good range of other opinions I don’t see any problem with that, it would be sensible.

                      He is refusing to accept that he smeared Labour without proof.

                      I challenge him to admit this. Otherwise it will be clear that he is trolling.

                    • “Clearly Pete is saying that Labour is selling policy to the biggest bidder like National.”

                      Clearly you are wrong. I don’t think either Labour nor National are “selling policy to the biggest bidder” – a claim you make with zero evidence that’s what they do.

                      So ironically while you incorrectly claim I was smearing – I’ve said several times I have see nothing wrong with what Labour are doing – you resort to your own double dose of smearing.

                    • mickysavage []

                      Well then reconcile your statements that you made which I set out above, particularly your response to Blue Leopard.

                    • Jackal

                      Personally I find your two faced debating style Pete George whereby you backtrack on your argument, flip-flop and claim you haven’t said something that is right there in black and white very annoying.

                      However, didn’t the convention centre for pokies deal do exactly what you claim there is no evidence for? In effect the government agreed to change the law so that SkyCity could have 230 more gambling machines in Auckland. In exchange they got a $402 million convention centre. Couldn’t that be described as “selling policy to the highest bidder”?

                      More recently there’s the Donghua Liu case whereby a large donation was given to the National party soon after they proposed changes to our immigration laws. They were planning to drop the English language requirement and lower the investment threshold for rich migrants, two things that directly benefited the person making the $22,000 donation. This might be legal under our current system, but it’s nonetheless wrong!

                      These aren’t isolated incidents that show the current government, for the right price, is open to changing New Zealand’s laws to benefit a small percentage of people.

                      Furthermore, Nationals way of raising funds using the so-called ‘cabinet club’ is clearly corporatism, which is by definition the antithesis of democracy. That’s the main reason they’ve denied and tried to keep such practices secret.

                    • I think you’re wrong about a number of things Jackal.

                      Just because I didn’t mean what some people jump to conclusions incorrectly about isn’t my problem.

                    • McFlock

                      Just because I didn’t mean what some people jump to conclusions incorrectly about isn’t my problem.

                      Well, I guess you’re just a shit fucking communicator then, because it seems to happen more with you than any other commentator here.

                    • Or it could mean that too many people here jump to conclusions too often. Or they just make things up for the hell of dissing, which does happens often.

                    • wtl

                      Just because I didn’t mean what some people jump to conclusions incorrectly about isn’t my problem.

                      This is extremely disingenuine. You are saying that people have misinterpreted what you have said. Fair enough. However, others (e.g. mickysavage) have asked to clarify what you meant but you are refusing to do so.

                      Or it could mean that too many people here jump to conclusions too often. Or they just make things up for the hell of dissing, which does happens often.

                      You are always complaining you treated are unfairly here. I agree that in some cases some of the snipes at you are unnecessary. However, you are doing the same by taking a snipe at ‘many people here’ in comments such as this, so one can hardly be surprised that you get such treatment in return.

                    • McFlock

                      Or it could mean that too many people here jump to conclusions too often.

                      No, because then such misunderstandings would be experienced by everyone. But there seems to be something special about you.

                      Or they just make things up for the hell of dissing, which does happens often.

                      People make things up? Even if it was a problem experienced by all commenters (rather than being a complaint mostly from you), that shouldn’t be a problem for a halfway-competent fact-checker.

                    • mickysavage hasn’t bothered to back up or even deny smearing National.

                      Others smear frequently and never bother explaining themselves or provide anything to back it up.

                      I’ve clarified as much as I think I need to for now. If others front up I may consider taking it further.

                      “You are always complaining you treated are unfairly here.”

                      That’s rubbish. When did I last do that? I comment here by choice and sometimes point the behaviour of others out.

                    • Jackal

                      Pathetic Pete George…that’s the best word to describe your scribblings! You say that I’m “wrong about a number of things,” but don’t bother to argue specifically about what these things might be? You also claim:

                      Others smear frequently and never bother explaining themselves or provide anything to back it up.

                      You’re clearly wrong, as I’ve provided two examples of National selling policy to the highest bidder. You on the other hand have provided no evidence of Labour acting similarly, which is what you claimed.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      See comment 12.

                      It says it all.

                    • wtl

                      Others smear frequently and never bother explaining themselves or provide anything to back it up.

                      Yes, and serious readers ignore such comments because they can see that they are baseless accusations. If you that is that level you are striving for, that it is up to you. But don’t expect to be taken seriously if you sink to such a level.

                      I’ve clarified as much as I think I need to for now. If others front up I may consider taking it further.

                      That’s up to you. But if you refuse to clarify your comments when asked to do so, others will stick with their initial interpretations. And you cannot expect complaints about being misinterpreted to be taken seriously when you do not make an effort to clarify yourself.

                      That’s rubbish. When did I last do that? I comment here by choice and sometimes point the behaviour of others out.

                      Okay, fine, I withdraw that statement and rephrase my comment as follows:

                      You just complained about people ‘dissing’ others here. However, you are doing the same by taking a snipe at ‘many people here’ in comments such as this, so one can hardly be surprised that you get such treatment in return.

                    • North

                      Keep it simple. Petty Georgeous is simply doing his daily number – rationalising the selling of public functions for large putea. Ignore this idiot with no values other than the imperative of maintaining the exceptionalism and special entitlements of the wealthy. Under the dishonest guise of the reasonable man. He’s nought but a boring fuckwit.

              • Tracey

                talk a out deliberately misunderstanding the opening post to go off on a tangent started yesterday.

                the key word in all this is Cabinet.

                under the fta its what a normal member of the public would think that meant, not what the cabinet minister pretends it doesnt mean.

                why did bennett lie about it when asked on tv? possibly because she couldnt remember if it were secret or not, or because she knows it is not illegal but far short of highest ethical standards.

                pg is doing a everyones doing it defence, but forgetting major differences and avoiding any discussion of

                highest ethical standards

                which applies not to all mps but CABINET ministers.

  6. Cancerman 6

    These aren’t secretive they invite National Party members and members extend the invites further to people they assume are National supporter, often in the business community. It’s no secret that the business community tends to favour National. Anyone is more than welcome to join them as long as you pay the membership fee. Much like anyone can join a union given they pay their fees.

    Also it needs to be pointed out the difference between the fee and further donations, again much the same as Union subs and then further fundraising a Union member may or may not give. The only difference I see is that the National supporters are generally able to give larger donations, but thats because of their social background.

    Still don’t see the difference. Further explaination is required.

    • karol 6.1

      You are right. Further explanation is required. Where is the information about Cabinet Club/s organisation? How do you know about them? Why is there very little information about them in the public domain?

      If they are not secretive, how is it that many highly informed people on the left have never heard about them until the news coverage this week?

      • Pete George 6.1.1

        “how is it that many highly informed people on the left have never heard about them until the news coverage this week?”

        Can you quantify that? Some people may not have known about ‘Cabinet Club’ as a term – it’s been reported that different electorates use different names – but I’d be amazed if ‘highly informed’ people weren’t aware of the type of practice. It appears that Labour have done similar and I’m sure examples will emerge. For example (HT WO) from NZ Politics Daily:

        Meanwhile, yet another very minor political finance scandal could dog Labour, with news that Helen Clark is giving a talk to a $65-a-ticket cocktail Labour Party fundraiser, while travelling on taxpayer-funded travel, which appears to be outside the rules of these perks – see: Belinda McCammon’s Clark star attraction at Labour fundraiser.

        http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2011/08/nz-politics-daily-22-august.html
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5484632/Clark-star-attraction-at-Labour-fundraiser

        If this issue gets pushed expect to see many more donation ‘secrets’ revealed.

        • blue leopard 6.1.1.1

          ‘If this issue gets pushed expect to see many more donation ‘secrets’ revealed.’

          Good! We need greater dialogue and transparency for the public. This helps democracy work well. People should know who is funding the parties and who is gaining extra access and influence by doing so.

      • Wayne 6.1.2

        Karol,

        As is obvious, it is all done within the National Party. These events are essentially attended by National Party members who make a donation above their membership fee. They are not public events, but occur for National Party activists.

        Are you seriously suggesting that Labour never has private dinners, or does any private fundraising, both when in govt and when they are not. In fact it has been proved that they do.

        And if you are suggesting that none of this should occur and that effectively no-one should donate more than say $100, then essentially you are saying political parties should primarily be funded by taxpayers.

        No donations by individuals, no donations from business, no donations from unions. Remove the citizen from being politically active in the way that suits them.

        That of course is a typical socialist attitude, but not one likely to find favour with the Nats. Who actually believe in parties being able to raise money, (within the reasonable limits of the Electoral Act), from those who support the Nats and who want them to win.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.2.1

          :lol:

          Karol doesn’t support Labour, Dr. Dimwit. As for typical socialist, your bias and prejudice are showing.

        • karol 6.1.2.2

          Interesting. So, Wayne, why has no National MP/minister stated that to the media (as far as I’ve seen)?

          Why is so little known about such things publicly? Other parties have much more of their activities open to a fair amount of public scrutiny.

        • RedBaronCV 6.1.2.3

          I see a great deal of merit in your suggestion Wayne, that donations cannot exceed $100 but if we all gave a little each then the taxpayer and voter would be funding the political parties – our parties, our country.

          Nact might look a bit cash strapped though, It’s my opinion that no influence would equal no donations. No wonder Nact doesn’t want fairer funding, it’s very scary to them.

          • Wayne 6.1.2.3.1

            Well, if the taxpayer support was based on say $5 per vote, the Nats would be doing better than everyone else at this point of the electoral cycle. But obviously not so in 2002 (actually it would be 2005, the election after the 2002 result). Maybe an averaging system would have to apply.

            But in my view democracy is dependent on party actively supporting the part of their choice in the way that suits them best. In my experience some people prefer to give money, some deliver pamphlets, some do both.

            The effect of this “campaign” by Labour and the Greens, if they are serious beyond attacking National, must be to reduce donations, and presumably well below $1,000 per person (many, if not most Cabinet Clubs operate in the $200 to $1000 range).

            Hence the reason why you must be saying no donations of more than $100, or maybe $200.
            Even then 50 people will raise $5000 or $10,000.

            But the outcome would have to be taxpayer funding for political parties.

            Even if say 20,000 people paid $100 it would not be enough to pay for all the local election campaigns and the national campaign. This takes, I would say, around $3 million split between the electorates and head office. Given that each electorate can spend $25,000 in the last 3 months, this alone is $1,250,000 over 50 electorates.

            • RedBaronCV 6.1.2.3.1.1

              You misunderstand Wayne.

              I wasn’t discussing the taxpayer funding elections but us as individuals putting in our small change direct to the party we want to. Then we should chop back the allowable spend on elelctions. Make the $25000 an electorate more like $5000 to $8000. That way our elections are affordable for all and candidates have to engage.

              And as a huge fringe benefit it would get the NAct auto diallers off the planet

              • I’m not sure how big of a secret it is.

                See page 255 of Mulgan, R; Politics in New Zealand (3rd Ed); Auckland University Press; 2004 – a fairly standard introductory text to NZ’s political system.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      I notice you are saying that people who can afford to pay have a political advantage.

      Nice of you to make Karol’s point for her.

      • blue leopard 6.2.1

        +1 OAB

      • Populuxe1 6.2.2

        Are you saying Labour has nothing to offer business? That doesn’t seem to be the image people like David Parker seem to be cultivating cough Robert Walters Finance Speech 2012 cough

    • blue leopard 6.3

      It is giving those with advantages (for example, as you mentioned ‘social background’ advantages or financial advantages) further advantages and due to the manner in which this form of fundraising allows for donors to keep their identity secret – the general public are not able to see those donating to and potentially influencing the National Party which is the one of the main reasons for having donations transparent in the first place.

      • Cancerman 6.3.1

        I don’t see how this is some recent revelation though Blue Leopard. Its always been that wealthy donars and companies favour National. This is not exclusive though wealthy donar have and do support Labour as well. As for them being anonymous those are the rules. Where they are subverted eg John Banks I see the problem but other than that you want every donar named?
        That’s fine but would make Labour sausage sizzles a nightmare I imagine.

        • blue leopard 6.3.1.1

          Oh, so now it is that you don’t see this as ‘a revelation’ – not that there is not a difference between Labour’s fundraising and National’s?

          It seems like it was a revelation to National MPs, who didn’t appear to know what the TV3 reporter was referring to when asking about ‘Cabinet Club’.

          I don’t think the general public have been aware of these forms of fundraising, the amount of money going into such fundraisers, nor the advantages being gained from such donors, although I do think that some of the general public have had an instinctive feeling that wealthy people are given advantages – especially by the National party – there is a difference between ‘an instinctive feeling’ and having the details of such events reported on mainstream sources.

          • Pete George 6.3.1.1.1

            ” that wealthy people are given advantages – especially by the National party ”

            Is there a perception that Philip Mills is given an advantage (in exchange for money) with Labour and Greens?

            As far as the amounts go Danyl has totted them up:
            http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/chart-of-the-day-everybody-does-it-edition/

            • blue leopard 6.3.1.1.1.1

              How does this article explain ‘every one does it’?

              It explains the Greens and Labour also have anonymous donors, however the article provides no proof that additional networking advantages and access to MPs are provided by Labour or the Greens to donors making these anonymous donations.

            • karol 6.3.1.1.1.2

              The perception around Phillip Mills, as I indicated in my post, is that he wants Labour and the Greens to support policies to counter climate change - compare with Liu’s attempt to influence government immigration policies on behalf of people with money.

              • So we shouldn’t consider better ways of dealing with immigration involving people with money? There was a report that Liu wanted easier access to people without English language competence.

                What if a non-English speaking person wanted to immigrate here to invest a large amount of money in green energy manufacturing initiatives? Do you think the Greens would oppose that?

              • Populuxe1

                So from this I get that it’s ok for rich people to give money to parties with policies you support, but if they give money to parties with policies you don’t support it’s evil, corrupt and wrong, yes? Either way, relative merit aside, it still boils down to rich people using their money to affect political change.

          • Cancerman 6.3.1.1.2

            Cabinet Club is just a slang term used by some MP’s, not some majority (although a majority may well do the practice) for local fundraising. That’s why some of the MP’s have been confused when asked what is Cabinet Club.

            I assumed it was widely know that local mps holding fundraising for the party and suprised that you seem to be implying that this is just a secret National activity. If Labour mps and other parties aren’t holding local fundraisers I have to say I’m surprised.

            • karol 6.3.1.1.2.1

              Of course other parties have local fund raisers – and they are publicly advertised as such. Fundraising is absolutely necessary in the current political context.

              The Nats also have some publicly advertised fundraisers, requiring varying amounts of entrance fees. Where do the Nats advertise their Cabinet Clubs? Especially the ones in private homes?

              What sort of events are referred to as “Cabinet Clubs”? How do people get to attend them?

              • Cancerman

                Ok for example I have been invited to a drinks and talk at a local neighbours, not someone i know, not next door neighbour, by flyer in the mailbox. This person was just a party member holding it at their home, so doubt they invited more than several streets. Local mps was there to talk and mingle with those attending. My parents were invited to similar things when I was a child, hence why I’m surprised this hasn’t been done and known about for ages. Now no fee was asked for to attend but rest assured donations would have probably been asked for.

                • karol

                  Well, I guess that’s not any of the neighbourhoods I’ve lived in.

                  It also doesn’t sound like a Cabinet Club event.

                  • Cancerman

                    My point is that there isn’t a defined Cabinet Club system or method. It a catch all for anything from that to a dinner with a cost per plate or table. They fill these events throw party members and party members inviting people. They don’t advertised in the paper if that what you mean.

                    In terms of these events any donations are probably, not necessarily collect and donated by the host but if anything this makes National donations “more transparent” under the law as a name then has to be put next to it and the event becomes traciable, eg Antoines. Otherwises most of these donations would be under the limit and therefore anonymous. Same as the Labour sausage sizzle. The only difference is Labour member might put $5 in the bucket and National party member puts $100 towards their plate.

                    • karol

                      Yet, as some of the sites I linked to in my post show, some “Cabinet Club” meetings are formally named as such, with cabinet ministers named as guest speakers, and well prepared speeches and presentations.

                      Seems like some obfuscation going on.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      The real name for this crony capitalist crooked rorting club should be

                      SADSAC

                      [ ‘Send A Donation For Special Access’ Club]

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Cancerman, Wayne has already said that there is a formal subscription paid for membership of the Cabinet Clubs. Now you’re saying something else. Is the difference explained by different factions within NAct doing things differently?

                    • Probably not Murray, It’s been explained a number of times that different electorates fund raise however they want to so there’s a lot of variations.

                  • What is a ‘cabinet club event’ to you karol?

                    I’ve seen a variety of comments about them. The gist I get from a number of sources is they are at electorate level, they are called a variety of things and my guess is they will vary in how they are done quite a lot.

                    Just as I expect Labour don’t have a single named set way of fundraising across the country. Nor Greens. Nor any other party.

                    Before this came up this week I had never heard the term ‘cabinet club’ but the concept of dinner events to raise money sounded fairly normal to me. I used to be in Rotary and we had them every week, sometimes with politicians as a drawcard.

                    It baffles me what the big deal is on this. I imagine there would be far more effective and secretive ways of doing cronyism if that were happening, but I’ve seen no evidence there is, just accusations of ‘perceptions’.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Just in case there’s any doubt, “I’ve seen,” may as well mean “I wrote it down. Then I looked at it.”

                      Just in case there’s any more doubt, see my comment 12.

                    • karol

                      PG, for goodness sake, you keep making statements that ignore the content of my post.

                      I tried to find out what Cabinet Clubs are and presented the evidence I’d found in my post. Go read. Also see my comment @ 4.18pm above.

            • blue leopard 6.3.1.1.2.2

              So I take it you are no longer struggling with the difference between National and other parties’ fundraising?

              Cabinet Club is just a slang term used by some MP’s, not some majority (although a majority may well do the practice) for local fundraising. That’s why some of the MP’s have been confused when asked what is Cabinet Club.

              Yeah? how do you know that? Looked like utter dishonesty to me.

              I assumed it was widely know that local mps holding fundraising for the party and suprised that you seem to be implying that this is just a secret National activity. If Labour mps and other parties aren’t holding local fundraisers I have to say I’m surprised.

              This is a non sequitur – local fundraisers are not what is being discussed – what is being discussed are fundraisers done in a manner that helps to hide who the donors are and provides added advantages for those donating that those without money are able to experience. Such fundraisers are allowing National to appear more ‘for the people’ than they really are. This is why they are hiding such donors’ identities.

              Is this the best you have to offer?

            • freedom 6.3.1.1.2.3

              A slang term ? that’s funny. National Party President Peter Goodfellow seemed pretty damned sure of what they were called, what they were and wanted to emphasize just how innocent it all was. If it was a slang term, he probably would have mentioned it.
              Maybe you missed the memo?

              We appreciate that National is free falling back towards reality and you are all no doubt scrambling through the fueslage looking for weight to dump but you guys really need to better co-ordinated your spin.

              • freedom

                p.s.
                Cancerman, as we all know, Union donations to political parties are not secrets.

                Where as the Cabinet Clubs have delivered, according to TV3, over $830,000 of donations in recent years and despite apparently being a subscription based service, they have somehow done so anonymously? How exactly do you collect subscriptions anonymously?

                Then look at the fact that John Key is repeatedly calling for Cunliffe to declare who the donors where who asked for their donations to be returned rather than declare their identity. (leaving aside it was for a party leadership challenge and nothing to do with party political donations per se)

                This total of $8300 which was returned to the donors is somehow the crime of the century, and the PM stands in Parliament braying like the donkey he plays golf with, all the while happily accepting over $830,00 dollars from people whose anonymous identities National is fiercely protecting.

                In short Cancerman, stop drinking the koolaid.

                While on the subject of dodgy fund raising, it was amusing to see an ex Minister of Internal Affairs offering liquor for prizes in a recent fund raising raffle.

                from Internal Affairs website

                IT IS ILLEGAL TO OFFER THE FOLLOWING AS PRIZES

                A firearm, explosive (including ammunition), restricted weapon, or airgun
                Liquor
                Tobacco products
                A taonga tuturu (an object more than 50 years old that relates to Māori culture, history or society, and was manufactured, modified, used, or brought into New Zealand by Māori)
                Vouchers or entitlements to commercial sexual services
                Vouchers or entitlements to any of the other property listed above

                https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t31.0-8/10255146_10152770535638356_2730374015677352953_o.jpg

                • Is this as amusing:

                  Wine exploring with David Cunliffe & Friends

                  David Cunliffe MP, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party, will welcome you to this beautiful Titirangi home for the annual Wine Auction.
                  Afternoon tea and refreshments will be served.

                  The Auction Catalogue will be emailed on the 17th of May.

                  Authorised By David Cunliffe, 3071 Great North Road, New Lynn

                  https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/wine-exploring-with-david-cunliffe-friends-tickets-11473462435?aff=efbevent

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Yes Petty, it looks dodgy and it’s within the rules. That’s the point: get private money out of politics.

                    Please try and keep up.

                    We need better bland drivel.

                    • “That’s the point: get private money out of politics.”

                      I agree that money in politics creates potential problems, but parties need money to operate.

                      Would the alternative be any better? With any change there would be winners and losers.

                      It would virtually rule out any new parties getting any significant funding. It would rule out Colin Craig or Kim Dotcom projects.

                      Some people would applaud this but would it be fair? Would it be democratic?

                    • wtl

                      Some people would applaud this but would it be fair? Would it be democratic?

                      Yes and yes.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      And this is how it goes: bland, inconsequential bad faith “questions” ad nauseam. Sand the engine, grease the floor.

                    • freedom

                      Oak, did you notice how the PG seems to wilfully ignore that a clearly stated NZ law was broken by National as they offered actual bottles of wine as prizes where as Cunliffe merely spoke at an event?

                      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2005/0299/latest/DLM359440.html

                      the guy’s ability to ignore facts is astounding

                    • “where as Cunliffe merely spoke at an event”

                      Cunliffe is promoting and authorising a wine auction fundraiser “with David Cunliffe & Friends”.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, Freedom, and I’ve noticed he’s too dishonest to engage on substantive points. Look at the way this trash is still pretending that his lies of equivalence between Labour and National are relevant to a sub-topic about removing private money from politics altogether.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    An auction isn’t a game Pete. It’s a way of buying something.

                    So no, not as amusing.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Shit, you should be a Jesuit with causistry like that

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      There is nothing partucularly subtle about the differences between an auction and a raffle.

                      With lines like that you make people doubt the rather implausible biography you’ve been constructing of yourself.

                  • Murray Olsen

                    PG, don’t you know the difference between an auction and a raffle? You’re about as desperate as WhaleSpew in your abject devotion to the corruption of the NAct party. No one could possibly be that stupid and remember to breathe, so I can only conclude that you are being a dishonest annoyer of bridge crossing goats.

                • Cancerman

                  No political donations are actually truly collect anonymously, except for very small money in a bucket type things. Not sure what amount that makes up for different parties. All donations under, and I’m very prepared to have this numbered corrected cause its probably wrong but there is an amount, I believe $25,000 can be classified as anonymous. So say I subscribe to a club unless my donations are over that amount they are anonymous. Times that by so many different donars.

                  Now you may not like these rules but my point is these are the rules.

                  • freedom

                    A subscription fee to a fund raising club is what? It is a donation. It must be declared and as you have subscribed to the club then your name/organisation is known to the National Party so cannot be called anonymous.

                    • Cancerman

                      I don’t believe that is true but stand to be corrected as to what the law says. I think donars only have to be declared when they go over a certain amount per year. I don’t think this changes because the donations are taken as subscription fees.

                    • freedom

                      A subscription fee to a fund raising club is what?

                    • freedom

                      Look at it another way Cancerman

                      How can National contact you about your subscription, if they do not know who you are?

                • RedBaronCV

                  Things I never knew. Amateur services are okay then??

            • toad 6.3.1.1.2.4

              Paula Bennett wasn’t confused. Just a couple of days before pretending to know nothing about Cabinet Club she answered a Parliamentary question about it.

              The only explanation I can think of is that she signed off on the answer to the Parliamentary question without reading it (itself not a good look) so then thought she could get away with lying about her knowledge of Cabinet Club (an even worse look).

    • Naturesong 6.4

      You may want to rethink your analagy as it does not serve your point.

      People join a union (and pay fees which fund the union) specifically so that union can represent and advocate for them. Union members also get priveledges within the union that non-union members do not receive; they are on the inside, have greater access to the unions leadership and are able to affect change within the union.
      People join a union to gain advantage (mostly protection from abusive employment practices – an advantage denied to those who are not members of the union)

      To say that cabinet club is the same is to admit that people join the cabinet club specifically to gain advantage; members are paying to get greater access to cabinet ministers (it’s right there in the name), and expect ministers to represent them, represent their interests and influence those ministers.

      The thing is, Ministers are supposed to represent all New Zealanders, to work for all New Zealanders and to listen to all New Zealanders, not just the select group that pay membership fees.

      • Pete George 6.4.1

        “The thing is, Ministers are supposed to represent all New Zealanders, to work for all New Zealanders and to listen to all New Zealanders, not just the select group that pay membership fees.”

        Have you got any evidence they don’t listen to a variety of people who don’t pay membership fees? I’ve been listened to by a number of ministers with no money involved.

        • blue leopard 6.4.1.1

          Those dinners give an added networking advantage; creating familiarity and connections with the MPs that those without the funds to join in are cut out of experiencing.

        • Naturesong 6.4.1.2

          Context Pete, context.

          My post was 6.4, a reply to Cancerman’s at 6.

          Clearly stated at the top was;

          You may want to rethink your analogy as it does not serve your point.

          I stand by my assertion that Cancermans analogy plays into the perception that people joining Cabinet Club had an expectation that they were paying for access and influence.

          If you also believe Cancermans analogy to be flawed, you should reply to his post directly.

          Quick Tip: If you aspire to be a fact checker, reading comprehension is a necessary skill.

          • Pete George 6.4.1.2.1

            Perhaps you could work on some reading comprehension yourself.

            “I stand by my assertion that Cancermans analogy plays into the perception that people joining Cabinet Club had an expectation that they were paying for access and influence.”

            I don’t see how you could have got a ‘perception’ of “an expectation that they were paying for access and influence”.

            Quick Tip: If you criticise someone about facts make sure you have some yourself.

            • blue leopard 6.4.1.2.1.1

              Do you think that going to a dinner with an Minister of the Crown such as being provided by these National Party fundraisers would not give you networking advantages PG?

              • If I wanted to try and influence a Minister (or any MP) I wouldn’t try and do it by paying big money and joining a crowd at a dinner party. There’s far cheaper and more effective ways of networking.

                • karol

                  Judging by the image of the Cabinet Club in a private home, as on 3 News – hardly a “crowd” at that dinner party.

                  • Did 3 News show a photo of a secret fundraiser in a private home? I didn’t see it.

                    Fundraising dinner parties can be useful for networking but I doubt they are major influencers of policy.

                    • blue leopard

                      Just to ensure that there is no confusion: That is you stating an opinion, PG, not facts.

                    • karol

                      Great, PG, so you really haven’t read my post. @ 2.46pm. You said:

                      Did 3 News show a photo of a secret fundraiser in a private home? I didn’t see it.

                      head desk – if you want to continue commenting about my post, please make an effort to read (and understand) the post and stop wasting my time & discussion space.

                      PS; I don’t know how secret it was. I used the term “secretive” – ie that it’s kept pretty well away from public scrutiny.

            • wtl 6.4.1.2.1.2

              I don’t see how you could have got a ‘perception’ of “an expectation that they were paying for access and influence”.

              Naturesong didn’t say that he had that perception. Instead, he said that cancerman’s analogy gives that perception. Please reread the originally comment carefully:

              I stand by my assertion that Cancermans analogy plays into the perception that people joining Cabinet Club had an expectation that they were paying for access and influence.

            • Naturesong 6.4.1.2.1.3

              Cancermans analogy was that membership to the cabinet club is the same as membership to a union, and raised the question; if it’s ok for unions, why not cabinet club?

              The answer:
              People join a union to gain an advantage.
              Thus, people join Cabinet Club to gain advantage.

              To be clear, I was criticising Cancermans argument by pointing out that his analogy does not serve him well.
              The only fact I have asserted is that people join unions to gain an advantage. Am I wrong?

              As I said before; reading comprehension, you should get some.

              • That’s a very vague assumption of perception from what cancerman said.

                I guess people join unions for a variety of reasons, but I doubt many do it to try and buy political favours, so I don’t see the analogy you are suggesting.

                Membership of unions is vastly different to membership of ‘cabinet clubs’.

                Union officials donating large sums of worker deducted money to a political party, and having voting rights far greater than normal party members on policies and parties and leaders, is quite different to membership of an electorate club too.

                • Tiger Mountain

                  Pete George, affiliated unions typically pay on a percentage basis of the total membership numbers that supports Labour Party affiliation. So non supporters do not pay. State sector unions and FIRST and UNITE, significant sized unions are not even affiliated.

                  This post points out how the torys fundraise. Not in plain view like unions. Suit wearing assholes and aspiring assholes move from one air conditioned room to another, via airport lounges and hotel backrooms.

                • wtl

                  I guess people join unions for a variety of reasons, but I doubt many do it to try and buy political favours, so I don’t see the analogy you are suggesting.

                  Naturesong is not suggesting that people join unions for political favours. Naturesong is saying that people join unions to get benefits such as improved employment contracts, advice on employment disputes, access to superannuation schemes etc.

                  Membership of unions is vastly different to membership of ‘cabinet clubs’.

                  Exactly. But you should tell that to cancerman, not Naturesong. Naturesong was merely pointing out the flaw in the analogy, not saying that the analogy was a good one.

                  If you have issues with that analogy, why are you continuing to argue against Naturesong, rather that cancerman, who originally proposed the analogy?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  :roll:

                  Yes, the two are quite different. One is practiced in an open democratic framework and the other is practiced “informally” at high-price-ticket-only dinners.

                  Which was the point all along. Going round in circles got you back to the same place? Well fuck me with a filing cabinet.

                • Naturesong

                  Membership of unions is vastly different to membership of ‘cabinet clubs’.

                  I see you agree that his analogy does not serve his argument.
                  Why not just tell him that in the first place?

                  Having wrongly accused me of making shit up, you post this:

                  Union officials donating large sums of worker deducted money to a political party, and having voting rights far greater than normal party members on policies and parties and leaders, is quite different to membership of an electorate club too

                  Prove it.
                  – Links that show that all unions donate to the Labour Party.
                  – Links that show all unions have a greater say in party policy than members and leaders (do you mean labour delegates or the executive?).

                  Also, it’s not electorate club, it’s Cabinet Club. Either they want you to belive that you are getting access to ministers, or it’s false advertising.

                  I’m beginning to understand why so many on this site have no time for you, or simply greet any post you make with contempt.

                  • freedom

                    Naturesong, I have to say , apart from one or two close calls, it is
                    almost two weeks fully PG free and life is one big bootiful thang

                    :cool: :) :cool:

                  • “Also, it’s not electorate club, it’s Cabinet Club”

                    Prove it.

                    I’ve heard different names are used for different electorates. And they have been running for decades, including when no National MPs are in Cabinet.

                    A lot of this was explained here: http://thestandard.org.nz/cabinet-club

                    • mickysavage

                      Pete is correct sort of. Apparently most of National did not recognise the organisation as “cabinet club” but when it was said that they were talking about “cabinet clubs” they then realised what everyone was talking about.

                    • wtl

                      Prove it.

                      Tracey has collected several responses from National Party Ministers acknowledging the existence of functions called “Cabinet Club functions”.

                      See: http://thestandard.org.nz/cabinet-club/#comment-810228

                    • freedom

                      Astute people may notice the absence of Points of Order raised by the Government Ministers, or any of their attentive backbenchers, asking for the term Cabinet Club to be explained.

                      (note: this is not a reply to PG but an add-on to wtl )

                  • Cancerman

                    The cabinent club term has been used prior to 2008. It’s not a literal definition.

                    • freedom

                      http://beehive.govt.nz/speech/address-dunedin-cabinet-club

                      just lucky co-incidence then, that after 15 years the same happen-chance slang based group of letters co-incidentally are ascribed to the exact same group activity.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “It’s not a literal definition.”

                      I think everyone gets that it’s a metaphor Cancer, it’s oviously not the actual Cabinet, and nor is it a legally registered club that would have rules and the like.

                      They are more sort of informal gatherings. Everyone gets this, it’s kind of the point.

                      The metaphor is interesting though. Cabinet, and Club. And the money, and the informality.

    • Tracey 6.5

      why did paula bennett deny knowledge of it then, when she has attended them as cabinet minister of honour?

      can you post a link from the national party website to the latest cabinet club invitation?

  7. ianmac 7

    A great well researched piece there Karol.
    I still think that Jerrie’s plea to stop talking about the Cabinet Clubs speaks volumes about the morality of their system.

    • Anne 8.1

      Could it be:

      Inscrutable Chinese… ” how much for access to all areas [of the laws relating to immigrants]”
      – pulls out wallet full of notes.

      Key on behalf of CClubs… “more than $22,000 will buy you mate” ?

      • Populuxe1 8.1.1

        Why do they have to be Chinese? That’s somewhat racist

        • felix 8.1.1.1

          It’s racist to include chinese people in a cartoon? Surely that depends what the cartoon is about.

          What is the cartoon about?

  8. Don't worry be happy 9

    Could some tech savvy person put a link up to TV3’s questioning of Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley on Cabinet Club? Such hilarious ham fisted lying needs to be shared widely…

  9. Tigger 10

    Superb post, Karol.

    This issue hits to the heart of democracy. I’m keen to see all this corruption outed. And a fair warning to anyone who tries this in future. It’s wrong.

    The Nats were doomed as soon as the name of the damn thing was outed. A ‘club’? You really called it a ‘club’?

  10. McFlock 11

    Just to flip it back to another issue, does anyone still think that Key (leader of a party that sells private dinners with ministers to wealthy individuals) had still never heard of the richest person in his own electorate until informed of a police raid on said richest chap’s mansion?

    This party cosies up to the wealthy on a routine and sycophantic basis, yet Key had not bothered to go doorknocking in his own backyard? If that’s true, he’s just a fucking dilettante

    • freedom 11.1

      please please please let it be that KDC was a guest at a Cabinet Club Dinner

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 12

    Pete George 5.2.1.1.1: “it’s the same”

    Pete George 6.4.1.2.1.3.1: “it’s quite different.”

    And that ladies and gentlemen, is why there is no point arguing with a bag of air.

  12. Another political fund raising dinner:

    Red, white and you – a special fundraiser for the 2014 election campaign

    Join us for a night of fine southern hospitality and cheer.
    Special guest – David Cunliffe, Leader of the Labour Party
    Entree and mains provided by Lauren Matilda Matthews from the Kitchen Collective.
    Dessert by the award winning Kohu Road.
    Friday May 30th 7pm at the historic Tannery at 44b Portage Road, New Lynn.

    The price included dinner and wine/beer/non-alcoholic beverages.

    Contributions from this night will go to directly supporting Labours’ 2014 Election Campaign

    Authorised by Tim Barnett, 160 Willis Street, Wellington

    http://www.eventbrite.com/e/red-white-and-you-a-special-fundraiser-for-the-2014-election-campaign-tickets-11264611757?aff=es2&rank=1

    I don’t see anything wrong with this.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      All you have to do now is make the connection between the paid access and policy development and you’re home and hosed.

      Off you go.

      • McFlock 13.1.1

        … and make the connection between a publicly advertised event in accordance with the electoral act, and a secret dinner that nobody else knows about.

      • Tracey 13.1.2

        and the cabinet manual for highest ethical standards.

    • not Petey 13.2

      why do you fucking bother p george ?

      There’s no reasoning with the fuckwits at this site as everything reverts back too it’s OK when Labour does it but evil if the Nats do it.

      • McFlock 13.2.1

        nobody in this thread has said that, except you guys.

      • karol 13.2.2

        Not Petey, it looks like you are another commenter who has not read (and/or understood) my post, nor what many others have said.

        And you need to try harder to actually engage with the topic. Your comment adds nothing to the discussion.

        • felix 13.2.2.1

          “Not Petey” is the well-known tr0ll “higherstandard” (the longest running of his many aliases).

          He has never read a post, and has never added anything to a discussion.

      • Populuxe1 13.2.3

        Tsk tsk not Petey, don’t you know that’s only a “perception”,
        as in:

        “The perception around Phillip Mills, as I indicated in my post, is that he wants Labour and the Greens to support policies to counter climate change – compare with Liu’s attempt to influence government immigration policies on behalf of people with money.”

        • mickysavage 13.2.3.1

          So one of these persons wants to do his bit to save the world and the other wants to become richer and you think that this is the same? Really?

          • Pete George 13.2.3.1.1

            It’s the same in that Mills and Liu appear to want to have some influence on policies. The only difference is that you seem to agree with one’s policy objectives and not the other’s.

            I suppose saving the world could excuse anything.

            Do you think that encouraging investment in New Zealand by Chinese immigrants is bad generally? Are you aware that China could become a major driver of green technology?

            Or is it just that anything related to National must be bad?

            • mickysavage 13.2.3.1.1.1

              Honestly, do you not see the difference between the two?

              • Do you know what the two actually want?

                Do you know how Mills wants to save the world from climate change. If so do think that is a sensible and feasible approach to the climate problem?

                Do you know how Liu wants to change immigration policy? If so do you think it would be a good or a bad change?

                I don’t know the answers. I suspect some people are jumping to conclusions based on prejudiced assumptions.

                • karol

                  Once again, PG, you fail to address the substantive content of arguments you disagree with, then just ask more questions, while failing to do any actual research or attentive reading of the links provided by others.

                  You are just being diversionary, shifting the goal posts and the focus.

                • Clemgeopin

                  You DO know the answers and pretending not to know that time is running out for making changes to the serious climate change issue and easing immigration policies to please the wealthy donor wishes is foolish when we already have over 300,000 people unemployed or underemployed at present in New Zealand!

              • karol

                Yeas, micky. Once again PG, and this time with pop cheerleading for him, chooses to ignore one of the main points in my post. I pointed out, in a fair amount of detail with examples, how the Cabinet Club, Oravida dinners etc, differ from the way other parties, especially Labour and The Greens, do fund raising.

                An important point is that they expose the differences in values between the parties. I said:

                Whether or not the National Party has done anything illegal with its Cabinet Club/s fundraisers, there are wider issues about values, who the National government represents, and how they insert themselves within networks of influence.
                […]
                In the National Party’s ploy to attack the opposition with a “They do it too” gambit, they have inadvertently shown the difference between the Labour Party fundraisers and donations and the Cabinet Clubs.
                […]
                This pretty much exposes the way the National Party represents the already wealthy, while making life harder for those on low incomes.

                PG and pop, just choose to ignore all that and repeat the “Labour did it too ploy”, without addressing issues of values and who each party represents – in the case of the above comments, claiming there’s no difference in values between

                a) the Nats secretive practices that support the profit-making, self -serving power of corporate elites, by exploiting their networks with backroom deals in private place (for the ultimate benefit of the few), and

                b) Labour and the Greens very highly publicised acceptance of corporate wealth to publicly support policies to combat climate change (for the ultimate benefit of everyone).

                I would prefer that money was taken out of campaigning. But that does not mean all parties do fundraising in the same manner, and with the results that influence policy-making in the same ways. Fundraising that is necessary because of the current rules around electioneering.

                • claiming there’s no difference in values between

                  a) the Nats secretive practices that support the profit-making, self -serving power of corporate elites, by exploiting their networks with backroom deals in private place (for the ultimate benefit of the few), and

                  b) Labour and the Greens very highly publicised acceptance of corporate wealth to publicly support policies to combat climate change (for the ultimate benefit of everyone).

                  I haven’t claimed there’s no difference in values between National and Labour-Greens. Of course there will be.

                  Why do you put Labour and Greens in the same category, I think their values differ quite markedly.[diversionary it’s not necessary for them to be exactly the same re-the points I am making – ie about the donation by Phillip Mills to Labour nd the Green Parties]

                  I think your depiction of National is nonsensically extreme. [duh! a bald statement of opinion with no explanation or evidence backing it up]

                  I question your depiction of Labour in particular, but there must be a lot of examples of “very highly publicised acceptance of corporate wealth” to back up your claim. [Duh?! I can’t make any sense of this This was responding to your point about Phillip Mills donation vs Liu]

                  [karol: this comment is just a muddle. Don’t waste my time]

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  @Karol: Why not just delete his comments until he addresses the point you make rather than shifting the goalposts?

                  You’re pointing out the difference in values demonstrated by two different practices, the goat-botherer pretends you mean the differences between the parties and off he goes without responding to you. At the very least he’s being rude.

                • My post had a link to that 3 News report, followed by a screenshot from the report, of one of the photos of a cabinet club in a private home.

                  karol, the photo you posted didn’t look like a private home setting to me. You described immediately below the photo:

                  Here mainstream politics meet private activities, within someone’s home. Woodhouse is set up to speak, with the cosy little dinner table seen in the background; the after-glow of a friendly bit of exclusive networking on a very personal scale.

                  I’ve just viewed the news item you linked to again:
                  http://www.3news.co.nz/Key-Nothing-wrong-with-Cabinet-Club-donations/tabid/1607/articleID/343192/Default.aspx

                  This looks nothing like your description. 3 News makes no mention of a home.

                  So my question stands – can you show any 3 News photo of a ‘cabinet club’ meeting in a private home? That would support your claim…

                  a) the Nats secretive practices that support the profit-making, self -serving power of corporate elites, by exploiting their networks with backroom deals in private place (for the ultimate benefit of the few),

                  …but I don’t think the coverage you posted and linked to does.

                  • From goalpost-shifting to quibbling pedantry – yes, it’s him alright…

                    • Very funny, I was criticised for not pointing out what I thought was obvious so I proved a point, call this “quibbling pedantry” if you like but you sound like it’s you are trying to shift the goalposts.

                    • Not at all trying to shift the goalposts, just joining the many people on this thread trying to get you to actually engage with the post rather than spray pointless blather.

                      Karol has presented an argument in support of her claim that there is a significant ethical difference between National’s ‘cabinet club’ fundraising and the fundraising efforts of Labour and the Greens. That argument is:

                      • The Nats’ fundraisers are not public, unlike Labour/Greens efforts.
                      • They are presented as opportunities to get one-on-one time with cabinet ministers in exchange for cash.
                      • The people taking them up appear to be doing so in their own private, pecuniary interest rather than for any broader political purpose.

                      You have made many responses on this thread, none of which has pointed out a flaw in Karol’s argument or presented a counter-argument. If you’re surprised that people therefore consider you a time-waster or troll, don’t be. And if you’d prefer them to take you seriously, try addressing the above claim by dealing with its argument.

                    • “And if you’d prefer them to take you seriously, try addressing the above claim by dealing with its argument.”

                      Keep up. I had previously questioned karol’s premise on ‘privacy’ and got bollocksed for that, but I have since addressed it further and shown that her premise was badly flawed.

                      The ‘three Prime Ministers’ pucture was a very public meeting.

                      The 3 News ‘cabinet club’ coverage did not show a private him more a cosy secretive meeting, karol has now accepted that.

                    • Well, let’s see:

                      In comment 5 you asked the difference between x and y without reference to the instances described in the post, with various follow-ups in which you just declare you don’t see any difference between the various parties’ fundraising attempts – without reference to the fact a clear argument for difference has been presented. Also within 5 is a derailment attempt of the “what about the unions” variety.

                      In comment 6 you raise the instance of a former Prime Minister attending a publicly-announced fundraiser, which I guess is a response to Karol’s argument (I apologise for use of the word ‘none’ above) but the instance isn’t relevant.

                      In comment 13 you raise the instance of another publicly-announced, open-attendance fundraiser for Labour as a counter-argument, again seemingly without having actually considered the argument you’re trying to counter.

                      Among the resulting quibbling, you’re claiming that Karol’s unsupported assumption that one of these cabinet club meetings took place in someone’s house brings her premise about the privacy of these meetings into question. It doesn’t. If you want to bring her premise into question, tell us:

                      • Where these fundraisers were publicly announced and the public invited to attend.
                      • Why cabinet ministers pretended they had no idea what 3News journalists were on about when they were asked.
                      • Why National’s immediate response hasn’t been to justify the sale of meetings with Ministers but to claim Labour does it too, while being unable so far to point to a single instance of Labour having done it too.
                    • blue leopard

                      Good points well said, Psycho Milt @ 9.09am and 11.06am

                  • karol

                    Fair enough. It wasn’t stated as a private home in the vid. But to me the photo looks like it is in a private home.

                • Populuxe1

                  The difference in values is irrelevant when the methodology is exactly the same. That’s like saying that the Russian invasion of Crimea isn’t as imoral and legally questionable as the US invasion of Iraq because you like Russia better than the US. Total nonsense, though whether of the straw man or the apologist variety I cannot yet decide.

                  • karol

                    Actually, the methodology isn’t exactly the same: different ways of inviting people; diferent kinds of contexts – more open and public, compared with more closed and exclusive – things I’ve pointed out. And the differences highlight different values; indicate who the parties are targeting as their constituents, etc..

                    The similarities are fairly general, in that all parties need to raise funds.

                    Overall, I’d be for removing the need for extensive fund-raising by parties (either totally, or capping the amounts that can be raised) – that’s what fucks with democracy.

                • Populuxe1

                  I’m not cheerleading Pete George and I greatly resent being lumped in with him, though I understand that’s a fairly bog standard false dilemma tactic for you

                  • karol

                    False dilemma tactic? No, at the point in which I made that comment, and just above – you are running the same general line as PG – “Labour does it too”, which also happens to be the Nats approach as written about by Audrey Young today.
                    I can understand why you wouldn’t want to be lumped in with him.

                    “Cheerleading” may have been the wrong word.

            • miravox 13.2.3.1.1.2

              One of them is straight up in the newspapers saying what he wants, the other… isn’t.

            • Clemgeopin 13.2.3.1.1.3

              Only an idiot will consider the policy changes for the good of the entire planet Earth being evil and corrupt compared to that of the wealthy dodgy donors paying National for their selfish immigration policy changes.

              Regarding your final point, most things related to Key and Dunne are shady and dodgy anyway.

          • Populuxe1 13.2.3.1.2

            The method by which they try to achieve this clearly is, quite irrespective of my own political beliefs or whether I agree with them or not.

  13. Cancerman 14

    Freedom I’m responding to you down here cause I can’t seem to reply further up. I hope I’m not breaking a rule.

    In response to your posts

    “9 May 2014 at 4:11 pm
    Look at it another way Cancerman

    How can National contact you about your subscription, if they do not know who you are?”

    I agree with you that these subscriptions are not really anonymous and that they are donations.My point is that under the laws, as I understand them, they can be said to be anonymous as the are under a certain dollar figure.

    This my understanding of the electoral law.

    • freedom 14.1

      ty Cancerman,
      (re your comment location: sometimes you have to go back to the last reply button and it drops you under the previous comment. This, I understand, is to let the page remain legible as threads go sideways sometimes)

      You obviously agree that National are being notably untruthful in saying the Cabinet Clubs donations are anonymous, but as they seem to fall under the limits, that is as safe a word as any I guess. But the donations must also include the subscription fees and if all these fees are going to a loosely slang based hypothetical arrangement of meetings that may or may not be known to those MP’s attending, then the actual mechanisms of that aspect of National’s political fund raising does sound decidedly sketchy.

      On a related issue…
      When a donor makes a contribution that is within all rules and legalities of anonymity, the donor decides if they are anonymous or not. The donor decides. If a donor asks to be anonymous and has not broken any donation limit rules, the politician simply accepts the anonymous donation and forwards the legal anonymous donation to their party.

      HOWEVER

      When the donor declines to be identified, and the politician would prefer the donor to be identified, the politician simply returns the legal donation to the donor. This means no donation eventuated.

      Correct?

      Now go and explain that to dear Leader as he seems to have a real problem understanding it.

      • Cancerman 14.1.1

        Firstly I’m not a cult member so although right, right wing of coarse (I’m not that arrogant), in my views dear leaders a bit on the nose.

        That out of the way I assume we are talking about DC leadership trust? DC has in my opinion not broken the law. The glorious and exalted dear leader John Key is just point scoring as DC had previously rallied against the old National system of trusts and was party to the law change. And now as National is accused of keeping donars anonymous he is repointing out DC kept donars anonymous until challenged. DC I believe didn’t have to name any of the donars but did for political reason, perception.

        So yes you are probably right to say that a returned donation is no longer a donation. However the donation was returned after the reason for the donation, if you get my drift. Would Oravida no longer be a donar if the National party returned their donations? Um…

        • freedom 14.1.1.1

          If Oravida return all the money they have ever donated? Then they are not donors.

          They are just a closely aligned businesses group, with many shady associations to the Nats, a growing list of co-incidentally favourable gold mining and swamp kauri permits, an amazingly fortunate dairy exporter and all things being equal, they sound like the exact type of operation that NZ does not need.

          • Naturesong 14.1.1.1.1

            That wouldn’t excuse Collins though.
            Her issue is conflict of interest. Her husband gains, if not in bonuses, in reputation.

            Does anyone know if he only gets director fees, or does he have a management position and salary as well?

            The fact that Orivida is also donating large amounts to the National Party that appear to coincide with favourable treatment ….. It’s a bad look, but I’d be surprised if there was any paper trail.

            • freedom 14.1.1.1.1.1

              all of the above but especially this: ” I’d be surprised if there was any paper trail.”

              +1

            • Hayden 14.1.1.1.1.2

              Does anyone know if he only gets director fees, or does he have a management position and salary as well?

              Dunno, but, from Oravida’s Constitution:

              Remuneration and other benefits of directors
              27.2. (1) The board, subject to the approval by ordinary resolution of shareholders, may authorise: (a) The payment of remuneration or the provision of other
              benefits by the company to a director for services as a director or in any other capacity

              So Stone Shi, Julia Xu and David Wong-Tung can, with approval from Stone Shi, pay David Wong-Tung whatever they like for any duties he may happen to perform as a director, or anything else.

    • Tracey 14.2

      and the cabinet manual requirement for highest ethical standards… also please link to a cabinet club fundraiser that didnt involve a cabinet minister so we can stop taking it literally and factually

  14. Fed Up 15

    I’ve been reading TS for several years and not commented. Usually someone else pretty much says what I would. But now, I’ve really had enough of Pete George’s ridiculous comments completely ruining most threads. Particularly one as good as this. I don’t get why anyone ever replies to him. If he doesn’t go away soon, or is completely ignored, I don’t think I can keep reading.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1

      My high school history teacher used to say that the Bolsheviks were able to seize control because they droned on for so long at meetings that everyone else got bored and wandered off.

  15. blue leopard 16

    Harry Holland’s comment on the [other] ‘Cabinet Club’ thread has already been proven very accurate particularly this part:

    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.

    Again, well said Harry.

  16. Tracey 17

    henchman, wayne egleston attended a cc function with john key…. blurred lines at all?

  17. fisiani 18

    There is no such thing as THE Cabinet Club. That was the tv3 mistake.

    • Clemgeopin 18.1

      Just an well calculated innocent ‘Crony Capitalist Corrupt Cabinet Club’.
      Repeat after me : CCCCC

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