Brassneck

Written By: - Date published: 12:21 pm, March 2nd, 2015 - 64 comments
Categories: boycott, clayton cosgrove, corruption, election funding, Ethics, labour, Politics, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , , ,

The release of the candidate donation returns has shown us that the National Party have found a new way to rort the system and give the lie to John Key’s promise of higher standards. However, there are issues for the NZ Labour Party as well. In particular, four MP’s have been shown to have taken money from sources that do not have the interests of the Labour party or, indeed, the majority of Kiwis at heart.

Trevor Mallard received $11,000 from Bob Jones and one of his employees. This is probably the least worrying as Jones is a local resident and clearly didn’t rate the National party candidate for Hutt South. Given how tight the race in the electorate was, it’s hard to say it was unreasonable for Mallard to cash that particular cheque.

Jones also donated to Stuart Nash, who also received a whopping $67,000 from two men who appear to have actively canvassed the possibility of Nash forming a breakaway party. It has been reported that Nash rejected the plan, but it’s clear he didn’t reject the money. Nash is a complicated character, who is rated quite highly by some in the party. Well, rated quite highly by one MP from Napier. To take this money, flirt with the possibility of launching a rival centre party and at the same time try to win the leadership of the Labour Party is truly astonishing cheek.

Clayton Cosgrove took $10,000 from the Vela family, who have business interests in racing and fishing and have been previously accused of using political donations to curry favour. Like Mallard, Cosgrove faced an uphill battle to win his electorate seat, so the incentive to take the money is obvious. He failed anyway, but due to a puzzlingly high list placing made it back into Parliament. Hopefully the list moderation committee won’t make the same mistake again.

The worst donation is one of the smallest. While Talley’s employees are still battling to get their collective employment agreement settled after a year of negotiations, the West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor took $5000 from a company accurately described on the Standard 6 years ago as corporate scum. Tellingly, Talley’s donated to many Tory MP’s, but only one from Labour. It can only be coincidence that three of the recipients, Chester Borrows, Stuart Smith and Damien O’Connor, are members of the primary production select committee.

These donations will be seen by some as big business attempting to buy off or corrupt the Labour MP’s concerned. Certainly all four have been incredibly disloyal to the party in recent years and O’Connor and Nash clearly have nothing in common with the history and values the party holds dear. Happily, Trevor Mallard seems to have abandoned his political fitness regime which involved repeatedly hoisting his foot into his mouth and it’s no small credit to him that he retains Hutt South despite the changing demographics of the seat.

Nash will probably be gone next election anyway. The vote splitting of the Conservative Party candidate and the local issue of council amalgamation aren’t likely to help him next time around.

Clayton Cosgrove? Well, I have to acknowledge he did good work when he was an electorate MP. I’m personally aware of him going out of his way to help and protect a young woman in Kaiapoi who was campaigning against the opening of a party pill shop in the town and had received some particularly nasty threats from the (now deceased) gangster businessman involved. Good on him for that. But it’s time to go, Clayton. I just decided I don’t trust you any more.

And O’Connor? The difficulty for Labour is this right wing buffoon holds one of the few provincial seats left. We’re probably stuck with him. But he absolutely should get his own chequebook out and make a donation to the meat worker’s union equivalent to the tainted Talley’s money. The party can probably tolerate brassneck MP’s but never a blackleg.

64 comments on “Brassneck”

  1. Puckish Rogue 1

    Did National break any laws? No they didn’t so another mud-slinging attempt falls flat.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Own goal, fool.

      Thanks for confirming that ‘the letter of the law’ is the National Party’s ethical benchmark.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.1

        More likely they have been caught out by the John Banks trial which established that a donation has to be totally anonymous at the time of the donation and not as a bit of a game decided later when the return is signed off.

        The only way to keep the buggers honest… I mean anoymous was to reroute it through the national party head office.

        It would news to a lot of people that the party hq has total control over the electorate and regional finances. Usually the party president has turn up with guys with baseball bats to get the money for a campaign.

      • weka 1.1.2

        “Own goal, fool.”

        Not to mention demonstrating that they didn’t read the post. What a dick.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      I would not be so confident PR …

      http://pundit.co.nz/content/you-cant-have-it-both-ways

    • Tracey 1.3

      John Key is proven a liar though for promising higher standards.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      Just because something is legal does not make it right. What National did was obviously wrong and now we have the RWNJs showing their own immorality by defending that immoral action.

      • exStatic 1.4.1

        Lets see who pops up to defend Hone’s apparent trousering of KDC’s huge “donations”?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1.1

          And a RWNJ pops in to try to distract from their own immorality.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.4.1.2

          Fire-and-forget smears from a hypocrite who wets the bed that a party that won no seats had a resident backer, and was completely open about it.

          Meanwhile, thanks to Blabbermouth Goodfellow and Loose Lips Lusk, we know the National Party has “relationships” with foreign residents and pretends they’re anonymous, while selling legislation in return for financial rewards – “trading on their time as MPs to build lucrative business careers”.

          Exstatic will now run away like a coward and look for another place to dump.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Pleeese. This is such a mish mash of bullshit and speculation its hard to know where to begin.
    Just as the ‘The Standard’ isnt one drone hive but has many voices , so is the labour party MPs.

    Im wondering if you have any real insights about politics .
    Its a bit disquieting than you have taken on a self appointed role as the modern McCarthy.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      You don’t see anything unwise about a Labour MP who sits on the PPSC taking money from Talleys?

      At the very least it’s poor judgement.

      A conflict of interest can be:
       actual: where the conflict already exists
       potential: where the conflict is about to happen, or could happen
       perceived: where other people might reasonably think that a person has been compromised.
      A poorly managed ‘perceived’ conflict of interest can be just as damaging as a poorly managed ‘actual’ conflict of interest.

      MBIE.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        I agree.

        Regardless of whether they pull the Francis bacon defense (the money they received did not affect their judgement), it still looks dodgy as fuck. Very similar to US campaign “donations” (bribes).

        Would Talleys be donating if they thought O’Conner would not give them the decisions they want? Doubt it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1

          It doesn’t matter: all parties can be as pure as the driven snow, and the perception is as much to be avoided as the reality.

          In the case of perceived CFIs, we think about them as instances in which no conflict exists, but the potential for financial gain as a result of what we publish is strong enough to give our readers the impression of an actual conflict.

          Nature editorial

  3. Skinny 3

    I agree Cosgrove needs to go, however no problems with taking money from Talley’s, an outfit that locked out meat workers (they own Affco) I helped raise thousands of dollars during the lock out. I credit them for going against the grain of sealords and insisting on employing Kwi workers only. Must be the son as the old man is a prick.

    I hear Hooton paid good money for a bottle of vodka signed by Nash. I take it Hooton is
    meddling to get a rightwinger into to Labour. Matthews is just reliving the Douglas and Prebble days.

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Hooton has found you don’t have to live in a beehive to set up a honey trap.

      • Skinny 3.1.1

        I will cut Nash some slack having met him a few times. He is very personable guy. The first time I met him he was on a Labour election tour bus (Helens last stand) and out of all the male LP MP’s Nash was the most friendly, I mean if you were an outsider you would think the others were fuckwits. So on that level I can see why Nash is popular. As for his idealodgical view not so popular.

        • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1.1

          I like hanging out with personable, sociable types for a beer. But if they can’t get my kind of politics done then they’re useless in Wellington. And yeah, too many of those other MPs are a strain just to hang out with.

          • Skinny 3.1.1.1.1

            Yeah it all turned to custard when it got past the superficial chit chat. And seeing some of the suspect candidates that stood in the last election, one has to question Labours vetting process, or should I say lack of.

            • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1.1.1.1

              It’s not really their vetting process which is suspect, IMO it’s the cultural gulf between what the Labour Party internally prefers as MP material and what Joe Public Labour Leaning voter is actually hoping to see from the party’s candidates and MPs.

              Also, people who want to be politicians are weird enough to start with.

        • Tracey 3.1.1.2

          Half the population think John Key is a nice and personable guy skinny

        • Saarbo 3.1.1.3

          I will cut Nash some slack having met him a few times. He is very personable guy.

          Agree, but he still come across as a wanker…an over confident “personable” wanker perhaps.

          I mean if you were an outsider you would think the others were fuckwits

          In general I agree with this, the male Labour MP’s need to gain some serious social skills if they want to win voters…or maybe that’s just the way they treat Labour party members. Exceptions: Little and Cunliffe.

          I agree strongly with the sentiments of this post, it does seem that the donors have influenced the recipients of the donations…i.e. it wasnt surprising hearing which Labour MP’s received from Talleys et al.

          No problem with labour taking money from these arseholes however.

    • It wasn’t signed by Nash. That wouldn’t be worth anything. It was signed by Dan Aykroyd. But I lost it.

      • Skinny 3.2.1

        Oh right that now makes sense. How about you front at my timeline of truth gig and I will get you a bottle of Clayton’s signed by Bill Murray. It will take a while but I will get it, you’ll have to put it on tick tho and Peters will have to approve you gracing the blue rinse brigade with your presence. Hmm think we need CV there to keep you honest.

  4. greywarshark 4

    To take this money, flirt with the possibility of launching a rival centre party and at the same time try to win the leadership of the Labour Party is truly astonishing cheek.
    If the story about Nash is true, that’s not chutzpah from Nash. that’s duplicity. Smiling assassin-type duplicity.

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Precisely. And let’s remember his ‘attempt’ to win the leadership of the Labour Party started with him as a newly re-elected MP firing media broadsides at Labour and at Cunliffe straight after the election. I know people in the party who rate him highly but honestly, the guy represents yet another generation of Labour careerist shite.

  5. MrSmith 5

    A little off subject, but surprising to see the Greens out spend Labour in election advertising at the last election, good news for the Greens, I would have thought, sure they didn’t convert that money into votes, but nice to know you have members that are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

    And now Labour, (like they have an endless supply of cash) are about to waste around 80k contesting the upcoming by-election.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      It depends on the local spend. I have not done the analysis but that figure relates only to the party vote spend. Every green billboard would have been 100% party vote attributed whereas off the top of my head every labour billboard featuring the local candidate would have been 50%. Apples and oranges comparison.

    • Colonial Rawshark 5.2

      I’m very interested in seeing if the Greens are building up a portfolio of income earning assets with the fundraising that they are managing.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        … Whereas many Labour MPs are quite happy to live (campaign-wise) off the earnings of their LEC rental property – and who betide anyone who asks for some of it.

        I think the first question for an activist with intersecting sympathies between the Greens and Labour is: who would you donate to now?

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.2.1.1

          Well, I do donate to Labour, god knows what they do with it; I don’t donate to the Greens.

  6. weka 6

    Very good blogging TRP, well done.

  7. Bill 7

    It’s not where the money comes from that matters. It’s what the money does.

    If there’s an allegation that these MPs will allow the money to corrupt them, then that matters…a lot. But such an allegation, if it was made, would need to be substantiated.

    Failing that, a reasonable, even circumstantial, case should be laid out for the likelihood of corruption occurring. eg – A Primary Production Select Committee Industries Labour MP receiving a donation if that Labour MP was the only Labour MP on the committee and there was no other reasonable reason (aside from buying influence) as to why Talleys would make the donation…that might do it.

    But, without that allegation/case being made, the money could come from Beelzebub and, well… it’d just be money. And scurrilous gossip and casting aspersions would just be, yeah…just that.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      It’s unlikely that Lusk and co. would be donating to someone they think is going to make a good anarcho-syndicalist. Quite the opposite, I would have thought.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2

      The rules are really clear: a perceived conflict can be just as damaging as an actual one.

      That isn’t some sort of ombudsman’s whim.

    • Tracey 7.3

      And how would anyone prove it? Even this one is hardly cast-iron.

  8. Michael 8

    Taking money from right-wing business interests corrupts the Labour Party. Those who took these bungs should be given the arse card by the new Party president.

  9. Tracey 9

    Bearing in mind that Cosgrove didn’t even campaign for his own party on some of his advertising material….

    • mickysavage 9.1

      Which was strange because if anyone depended on party vote it was him.

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.1

        You gotta be suspicious of the ones who can’t even do basic maths.

      • Tracey 9.1.2

        exactly…

        perhaps he thought he was more popular than he was, and could win the seat? Or he s just not terribly bright. I hear tell he was an awful Sports Minister to deal with.

  10. exStatic 10

    Interesting also, the huge sums that some Internet/Mana candidates (especially Hone) received and then spent very little of it.
    Wonder where the balance is? Oh, and speaking of Right Wing business interests – and foreign as well??

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      Yes, it would suck if any party that was funded from overseas won seats in Parliament, eh.

      Goodfellow confirmed a “small number” of donations had been rejected by National …”We generally know our funders because we’ve got a relationship with them and there are very few foreign funders…

      Fairfax.

      So much for “anonymous” donations.

      Oh, and I almost forgot, please accept my deepest and most sincere contempt for your hypocrisy.

      • exStatic 10.1.1

        OK then, just don’t mindlessly rave about RWNJs when the most obvious rort here is by the left.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1.1.1

          Ah, a liar and a hypocrite.

          The National Party: funded by more than one non-resident foreigner. Forms a government. Nothing to see here, except a string of lies and hypocrisy.

          IMP: funded by a resident. Gets no seats after the Left stymies them in TTT. Bed-wetting, Chicken Little, and dirty smears.

          Speaking of mindless, that’s you.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1.1.2

          Considering YOU dont understand the election funding laws. Your foot is in your mouth

        • greywarshark 10.1.1.3

          wx static
          You hum it and I’ll play it. Good words for your little pop song. Bit of static going through the amplifier though.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.2

      Only SOME spending is required to be listed, in general its only advertising. Plus they only cover the pre election period of 3 months. Anything before is not required to be listed

      Specific items are excluded , like polling, staff salaries , running costs of vehicles etc

      You can put your warrior helmet back in the hot water cupboard, as there is no battle to fight on this one

  11. Greg Loveridge is not “one of [Bob Jones’] employees”. He is a Labour Party loyalist. His interest in Labour politics meant his first job was for Trevor Mallard. Now he has made a lot of money in property (see http://www.nbr.co.nz/greg-loveridge ) it is not really surprising he would give an election-year donation to Trevor Mallard. Don’t be so quick to put people in boxes.

    • mickysavage 11.1

      How was the $1k bottle of vodka from Nash’s Auckland Club fundraiser Matthew?

      • It was consumed collectively within a few minutes of purchase. I then lost bottle (signed by Dan Aykroyd of Ghostbusters) the same evening. I hope the Labour Party spent my money more wisely!

        • mickysavage 11.1.1.1

          I am not sure we ever saw it but if you want a bottle of Pinot Noir signed by Helen (although she did not brew it) this can be arranged for a suitable price …

          • Matthew Hooton 11.1.1.1.1

            Partly as a result of the Nash lunch I no longer drink at all, so will have to pass. At least one other at the lunch decided the very next morning “never again” and hasn’t touched a drop since. I’m not sure any of us actually vote Labour but we were certainly well fleeced.

            • Colonial Rawshark 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Good health to ya Matthew. The poison has never done any man any good in the long run.

    • Don’t blame me Matthew, I got it from your pals at the Herald: “Labour’s Trevor Mallard represents a middle-income Hutt South electorate but his campaign last year was funded by $11,000 in donations from two richlisters – Sir Robert Jones and Sir Bob’s managing director Greg Loveridge.”

      • Well it’s not untrue, just incomplete. He does work for Bob Jones, but that is not really relevant to the donation. In fact, it was probably Loveridge who put his new boss up to donating to his old.

  12. Northsider 12

    An excellent and much needed post: thank you Te Reo Putake.

    Mallard is in the departure lounge and gagging for an ambassadorial position. Anyone with a gram of pride would not take a cent from Jones.

    Cosgrove: Andrew Little has the measure of him and hence his bottom position in the rankings.

    ___________________________________________________
    “Nash is a complicated character”
    ___________________________________________________
    You are tooooooo charitable: your mother did a good job bringing you up. Gladly he will evaporate at the next election: if Andrew puts him at the same level on the list as Cosgrove.

    You have identified the core of the ABC bunch. They kept us out of government for half a decade with their smart-arse approach to politics.

    Grant Robertson used them but has managed, to a point, to avoid being soiled by them.

    [Can some admin delete my previous unfinished post?] [Done. And thank you. You were right about my mum. TRP]

  13. Sable 13

    As I keep saying there is little separating National from Labour these days. Neither can be trusted with the welfare of this country or its people.

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