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Hide’s invitation to corrupt fundraiser

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, October 21st, 2009 - 74 comments
Categories: act, corruption - Tags:

Hide invite

Click here for a PDF of Local Government Minister Rodney Hide’s invitation to local government stakeholders to a breakfast speech titled “The Future of Local Government”.

This speech by the Minister to stakeholders is doubling as an ACT fundraiser. If you want to hear your Minister for Local Government speak, you will have to make a contribution to the ACT party.

Now, I can see Hide claiming he won’t be speaking as minister. Well, let’s take a look at this invite:

Hmm, “The Future of Local Government”. Sounds like a representative of the government, a minister, talking to me.

The body of the invite backs it up:

ACT Party Leader and Minister of Local Government; Hon Rodney Hide has a significant programme to enhance the operation of the Local Government sector. He would be delighted if you would join him for breakfast at the Heartland Cotswold Hotel on 4 November 2009.

At this breakfast, Rodney will present his views on ‘The Future of Local Government in New Zealand’.

Yup, no doubt he’s speaking as minister there. And they know they’re doing something dodgy because they avoid calling him minister on the front page but on the front page only, a sign of a guilty mind trying to cover up.

There’s no way out of this for Hide. He has been caught red-handed abusing his ministerial powers. He should resign before Key fires him.

74 comments on “Hide’s invitation to corrupt fundraiser”

  1. r0b 1

    According to the invitation: “The cost of the breakfast and presentation is $45 per person”.

    That’s pretty clear. You’re paying for the presentation. Paying to hear a Minister speak in his Ministerial capacity.

    The payment details are to an ACT account. If you were paying for breakfast you’d pay the restaurant, not ACT.

    It’s an ACT fundraiser. This stinks.

    • Tigger 1.1

      And in fact you’re being made to feel that if you don’t come you’re going to miss out an important opportunity to engage with the government: “The role
      you play has a significant effect on the prosperity of your communities, districts, towns and the Canterbury region as a whole. ACT Party Leader and Minister of Local Government; Hon Rodney Hide has a significant programme to enhance the operation of the Local Government sector.”

      It’s a fundraiser.

  2. Nick 2

    They’re using the wrong ACT logo.

    Scheisters!

  3. Nick 3

    I’m just looking for the Ministerial Services/NZ Government logo.

    Can anyone spot it?

    • snoozer 3.1

      Why is that relevant? All that would mean is the invite (and presumably the event) was paid for by Ministerial Services.

      In fact, its absence just confirms this is an ACT fundraiser.

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    Time for JK to break out another wet bus ticket

  5. toad 5

    Rodney’s excuse will be that someone in ACT made a mistake, and that he should not have been billed as speaking in his Ministerial capacity. So he’ll probably get away with it.

    But, as Double Dipton would say, it’s “not a good look”.

  6. snoozer 6

    It seems there are two lines the Right can take here:

    1) It’s not a fundraiser. Problem with that is it is being organised by ACT and the price is not insignificant. In fact, it’s only $5 less than the fundraising dinners held by Labour as part of Clark’s farewell.

    2) Hide’s not speaking as minister. Why, if that were the case, would stakeholders like local body councillors be invited to attend in their official capacity?

    It’s clear this is an unholy combination of a minsiterial speech and fundraiser where people who need to hear the minister’s plans for local government need to make a donation to his party.

    captcha – objecting. damn right I am.

    • Why, if that were the case, would stakeholders like local body councillors be invited to attend in their official capacity?

      I don’t think the leaflet is as conclusive as people here seem to think … I note that the bit just under the photo, that’s not included on the post itself, states:

      an address by

      THE HON. RODNEY HIDE
      ACT Party Leader

      It also states:

      Rodney will present his views on “The Future of Local Government in New Zealand’.

      That is, Rodney’s views, not the Government’s views.

      That said, snoozer’s argument here is a very good one – you don’t target a party fund-raiser at ECan officials and councillors. r0b’s point is pretty good too – you’re paying for a presentation, not just breakfast.

      Toad’s point, however, is a little off – Rodney isn’t billed as speaking in his ministerial capacity, he’s billed as:

      “THE HON. RODNEY HIDE
      ACT Party Leader”.

      • I’ll add that I think this address will be about ACT policy, not government policy. This will be about what Rodney wants to do, but hasn’t convinced the government to go along with.

        Not sure this helps the perception issue, but it’s something to bear in mind.

        • snoozer 6.1.1.1

          So Graeme’s taken the position that it is a fundraiser, not an official address by a minister.

          Tell me, Graeme, why is it that local government stakeholders that are being invited?

          Why are councillors from Ecan being invited in their official capacities to attend an ACT fundraiser?

          I know you’re supposed to be a smart guy and I know that you’re desperate to defend the Right, so I would have thoguht you could have done better.

          • Graeme Edgeler 6.1.1.1.1

            snoozer – what part of:

            “snoozer’s argument here is a very good one you don’t target a party fund-raiser at ECan officials and councillors.”

            did you not understand?

            I accepted your argument. And yet you still want to argue with me. Why?

            • peteremcc 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Graeme is right, of course it’s an ACT fundraiser.

              Has anyone in ACT denied this?

              Rodney is speaking in his role as ACT leader, at an ACT organised event.

              The only possible part of this that could be dodgy is inviting the region’s councilors.

              Of course, if you actually bother to listen to what Rodney has said in the media about this (and it seems no-one here has), he said that they were invited because they complained that they WEREN’T invited last time Rodney spoke at an ACT even in Christchurch.

              Clear yet?

      • Tigger 6.1.2

        The true devil here is not in the detail, but in the look. I would argue it is a fundraiser (he’s billed as a Minister inside so he can’t claim he’s there as ACT leader), but even if it is not, it looks looks like a fundraiser.

      • toad 6.1.3

        Um, Graeme:

        ACT Party Leader and Minister of Local Government; Hon Rodney Hide has a significant programme to enhance the operation of the Local Government sector.

        I take that to mean a programme as the Minister.

        • BLiP 6.1.3.1

          Could be done for false advertising too – there’s nothing ACT or Rodney has that could in any way “enhance” the operation of local government.

      • SMSD 6.1.4

        Hide is the Minister for Local Government. He is speaking on his views on Local Government. Inside the brochure he is described as the Minister for Local Government.

        It is absurd to suggest he is not speaking as the Minister.

        The simple fact is that the Minister for Local Government is giving a talk on his portfolio, and using that talk to fundraise for his party.

        • peteremcc 6.1.4.1

          So, just to be clear, no Labour Minister has ever been described as a Minister in a program for a Labour Conference or meeting that they spoke at in the last 9 years right?

          You can mention that you’re the Minister for Local Government, without speaking as the Minister for Local Government. Just as I can comment on here as the Vice President for ACT on Campus, but be speaking for myself rather than ACT on Campus.

          • dave 6.1.4.1.1

            The point isn’t whether Hide can speak as a minister or as a party leader at a party event, its that Hide purported to speak as party leader at a party function, but his party advertised his ministerial role and targeted people interested in his ministerial responsibilities and said they`d be charged if they turned up to listen at that event. Even Hide admitted that was inappropriate.

          • Pascal's bookie 6.1.4.1.2

            Peter, if you comment somewhere as the Vice President for ACT on Campus, then you are obviously speaking as the Vice President for ACT on Campus. That’s not a difficult one.

            This isn’t a party conference, it’s a fundraiser and ACT invited stakeholders from local government to attend to hear the Minister’s views on their sector. The (late) response from ACTies such as yourself and Clint aren’t doing much to protect ACT’s anti corruption brand.

            It would have been better to just admit the ‘mistake’ and let stakeholders attend for free. Blaming those stakeholders, denying it was a fundraiser, saying it is a fundraiser but everyone does it (with no examples), looks umm, bad.

  7. the sprout 7

    This is yet another screw up from the couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery party.

    Stand by for embarrassing back-down 😆

  8. BLiP 8

    What’s next – a $50 “filing fee” for submissions to select committees?

    • So Bored 8.1

      Its the ACT version of the law of supply and demand. We supply the money for ACT MPs to do parliamentary stuff, and they demand more……

    • the sprout 8.2

      No $50 just buys you the priviledge of rubbing oil on his feet.

      Select Committee submissions will cost much more than that, otherwise you run the risk of full democratic participation, including, like, poor people.

  9. tc 9

    If history is any guide, nothing will get done…..busy gov’t and all that.
    JK needs Wodney to take the wrap for supercity debacle as that’ll become obvious in 2010/11 that it’s a rushed through shambles so JK will keep ACT ‘in’ so it can shaft them and hopefully distance itself from the mess.
    Between ACT and Maori (the sell out parties), careful targetted campaiging from Labor/Greens should see them consigned to Political oblivion…..that’s the dream anyway.

  10. Nick 10

    Nothing will be done because nothing has happened despite the moaning and whinging from the likes of the people on this site.

    There must be a protest on the closure of moroccan food classes to go to that you’re missing while fornicating over this non issue.

    On the other hand, non issues and Labour go hand in hand. That’s why you’re losing 2-1 in the polls.

  11. snoozer 11

    Nick hearts corruption

  12. gitmo 12

    I can’t see why people have a problem with this – it’s an ACT fundraiser so what ?

    Can’t MPs fund raise in this way, as long as it’s all out in the open and people know where the money is going I see it as a pretty positive way for political parties to raise funds…or am I missing something obvious ?

    • snoozer 12.1

      It’s because he’s speaking as minister. see the post below.

      You can’t have a minister making a speech about his portfolio, charging stakeholders to attend, then keeping the profits for his party.

      It’s basically charging for access, not far from having a jar on his desk that everyone he has a meeting with as minister has to put a tenner in for his party.

      It’s corrupt

    • the sprout 12.2

      this from Matt puts it quite clearly

      Hide’s corrupt abuse of office

  13. randal 13

    antispam: question
    so the question is is wodney hide just a greedy little moneygrabbing carpetbagging venal party hack after all?

  14. Daveski 14

    A broader question is surely whether the general populace gives the proverbial. I’m not trying to defend Rodney. At the same time, I’m sure fund-rasising advertising Labour MPs and ministers have happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future, same as rorting of the trough is not something that is a National-only trait.

    It seems to be yet another example of the Left trying to pick up on an issue that has meaning to the partisan only while the great unwashed see them all as the same.

    National has been sloppy in govt and in many areas is still working out what it’s policies are yet it continues to ride a wave of popularity in the midst of the worst recession in 70 years.

    The focus on these issues I think partially explains it – preaching to the converted while failing to engage with the voters who deserted them in 2008 and still seem to find no reason to go back.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      “I’m not trying to defend Rodney”

      Then what is the point in saying all the rest of the stuff you are saying then?

      Honestly, who cares what you reckon punters might think. Who cares whether or not the Standard is effective at whatever you think its job should be?

      You’re a punter, I’m a punter. Let’s leave the shit at the door and talk.

      Do you think what Hide is doing is corrupt, or not?

      Should Key sack him, or not?

    • snoozer 14.2

      you’re kind of saying that I shouldn’t care about something if you don’t think everyone else will care.

      thanks, but I’ll take my cues on what to care about from my views on what is right and what is wrong, not from imaginary polls of the population at large.

    • Roger 14.3

      The broader question is actually whether the populace should give a proverbial?

      The answer is yes. How is it acceptable for a minister to collect a ministerial salary and operate in a democracy that ensures ministers are accountable to the public and parliament, then charge for access to their ministerial views on their own portfolios? This kind of rent seeking cannot occur unless the populace want to lose access and the right to access and the ability to hold ministers accountable. Labour wouldn’t have gotten away with this. This is an opportunity for the mainstream media to prove they are not partisan by punishing him for this outrage.

    • lprent 14.4

      Daveski: I’ve seen a few elections, including a few changes of governments.

      The first year is always a nice one for the incoming government in opinion polls. Usually so is the second one.

      What you seem to be saying is that we on the left should give up just because this is the case. That degree of political stupidity is appalling….

      Like climate change, it isn’t a big event that does the changes (like a volcano spewing massive amounts). It is continuously filling the atmosphere with greenhouse gases every day. It is the cumulative effect that is important. Politically you start this as early as possible and sustain a continuous pressure. The earlier you start, the bigger the effect is.

      But a bright boy like you should know this…..

      • the sprout 14.4.1

        well said

      • Daveski 14.4.2

        What you seem to be saying is that we on the left should give up just because this is the case. That degree of political stupidity is appalling .

        Ah no. Far from that. What I am trying to say is that there seems to be an infatuation for the issues that appeal to the political trainspotters.

        Meanwhile, while these are failing to gain any traction, Key is networking with the unions.

        I’m saying there’s been a consistent overreaction to these type of things similar to what used to happen at KB without the septic stuff thrown in.

        Funnily enough, I’ve seen the same message I’ve tried to give but delivered from the left and received quite differently.

        Rodders is an idiot but it’s not corruption.

        • the sprout 14.4.2.1

          true he is an idiot. i think it will be corrupt if the thing goes ahead with a charge now that the gross impropriety has been pointed out to those too thick to see it in the first place.

        • lprent 14.4.2.2

          Yeah, but the question is what it smells like….

          After this gets repeated thousands of times, including at every public meeting from here on in, the smell will come in whenever ACT is mentioned.

          After all that is exactly what the dog whistling in the blogs managed to get on to the agenda when they were largely in opposition to Labour. I’m going to enjoy standing up in meetings in Epsom and asking what the cover charge is?

  15. 123 15

    Umm, i’m pretty sure the Prime Minister holds party fundraising events, and is described in literature as being the Prime Minister.

    No difference.

    • gobsmacked 15.1

      You don’t have a clue about the law, 123.

      The PM sees a problem here, even if you don’t.

      “If it’s a genuine part of explaining your portfolio and communicating with audiences well, obviously, ministers don’t charge for that.”

      (John Key, NZPA, today)

      • Tom 15.1.1

        Key’s running from this one, alright. This could damage Hide permanently, which would suit Key. Wait for the official Prime Ministerial reprimand.

      • peteremcc 15.1.2

        actually, Key seems to be explaining what would be a problem.

        and what would be a problem is what Hide isn’t doing.

        maybe you can paste the quote where Key says that what you have quoted is what Hide is doing?

        no?

  16. snoozer 16

    Key: “If it’s a genuine part of explaining your portfolio and communicating with audiences well, obviously, ministers don’t charge for that.”

    Well, I don’t see how we can say Hide has met that standard, which is nothing special, just what’s in the cabinet manual

  17. peteremcc 17

    Just did a quick google search and look what was the first result:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0011/S00323.htm

    That would be a speech by the Prime Minister, to a Labour Party Conference, introduced as:

    Rt Hon Helen Clark
    Prime Minister

    KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO
    LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE

    Not even introduced as “Helen Clark, Labour Leader and Prime Minister”, as Rodney was mentioned in the pamphlet. No, just “Prime Minister”, her ministerial position.

    Now, we’re people charged to come to this conference at all?

    • George D 17.1

      Were, not we are.

    • dave 17.2

      The point isn’t whether Hide can speak as a minister or as a party leader at a party event, its that Hide purported to speak as party leader at a party function, but his party advertised his ministerial role and targeted people interested in his ministerial responsibilities and said they`d be charged if they turned up to listen at that event. Even Hide admitted that was inappropriate.

  18. Ianmac 18

    TV1 reported Hide’s action but in such a way as to seem that it was not a real problem. Almost seemed to say that Mr Hide was a funny fellow. Fancy charging folk to come to his speech. Naughty boy.

  19. ACT people are all over this blog? Yeah right, even Red Alert has more street cred. This is my first visit in ages here – so of course you won’t see many people defending it from ACT. 🙂

    Obviously none of you have ever been to see your favourite Labour MP come to speak on his/her portfolio within a party meeting environment. Your bias against Rodney is the true tale here – anybody who knows him knows he spends a lot of time talking about his portfolio to any ACT branch who asks for his time. The last time he did it, the councillors got pissy because he didn’t invite them. This time he did and welcomed them into an ACT meeting. What gives?

    We are encouraged to invite family, friends whoever along to our meetings, drinks, dinners… as I know everybody else does, regardless of party allegiances. Would this fall into your rather loose interpretation of “corrupt fundraising”?

    • Pascal's bookie 19.1

      “It was ECANs fault”

      The solution to stakeholders complaining that the minister is not communicating with them, is to communicate with them. Demanding a donation to the ACT party first is not-very-good.

    • lprent 19.2

      Obviously none of you have ever been to see your favourite Labour MP come to speak on his/her portfolio within a party meeting environment.

      You PAY to have MP’s talk to you in Act? Well there is a party of suckers and leeches.

  20. Lprent…wow, you’re trying a little too hard to twist it, unless you have never ever in your life attended at Labour/Green conference/event in your life.

    I have attended regional conferences for a few parties. Given there is always a keynote speaker and food/drink put on I have paid for the priviledge. This is no difference 🙂

    • Pascal's bookie 20.1

      ACT invited Local body officials along to hear the local government minister speak about local govt issues. And they demanded a donation to the ACT party.

      Can you really not see the problem there?

      • felix 20.1.1

        He’s never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. It wouldn’t surprise me if he genuinely didn’t understand the inherent conflict.

    • lprent 20.2

      Don’t be stupid. I’ve been going to labour stuff for 30 years.

      Labour regionals, conferences, and congresses all have two parts.

      One part is for people from the party, where we are charged and share the expenses sometimes.

      The other part is public, eg for Phil or Helens speeches, guest speakers, etc. If they are public then the public are never charged.

      Of course there are a lot of raffles etc – but those contributions are purely voluntary.

      So I’d have to say that you look like you have a VERY selective memory about Labour – if indeed you ever actually attended.

      From your lack of knowledge about things labour, I’d say that assertion is just another ACToid lie. Just like Rodney’s current squirmings…

  21. lukas 21

    sorry, missed the part where it said that this was the only time you could talk to the minister about this…. if you don’t want to pay, don’t go… simple. You can still e-mail the minster, write a letter to the minister, make a phone call to the ministers office hell you can probably even fax them still!

    Storm meet teacup.

  22. Pascal's bookie 22

    ACT looks like it’s sick of it’s anti corruption branding now that it’s in government.

    Colour me shocked.

  23. I think the point is that they wanted to go but weren’t invited, Rodney invited them along and so they were accordingly given the same rights as ACT members.

    Who forced them to pay? What would these councillors learn from hearing a standard address to members from Rodney? This is remarkably brilliant. I wonder if I should kick up a storm if I am charged for attending any functions where Andrew Little is addressing the EPMU/Labour Party. Why should I be charged to access the opposition?

  24. Brian 24

    What a beat up this whole “issue” is.

    Christchurch breakfast was an ACT fundraiser pure and simple. Perhaps there was some ambiguity that has been seized upon by some to score points. But the invitation did NOT go out to the community in general, only ACT members,supporters and other interested parties. All were free to accept or decline the invitation, there was no forced donation to ACT.

    • Pascal's bookie 24.1

      “only ACT members,supporters and other interested parties.”

      And ECAN people. Read the damn invite Brian:

      Local Government is key to keeping New Zealand going.

      Local Government is of critical importance to people’s lives and to the future of New Zealand. The role
      you play has a significant effect on the prosperity of your communities, districts, towns and the
      Canterbury region as a whole. ACT Party Leader and Minister of Local Government; Hon Rodney Hide has
      a significant programme to enhance the operation of the Local Government sector. He would be
      delighted if you would join him for breakfast at the Heartland Cotswold Hotel on 4 November 2009

      That’s clearly and unambiguously targeted at local body stakeholders.

      Local body people being invited to hear the minister speak about local government, fine. To do so they would have to donate to the ACT party, not fine.

      There would be no problem if local government stakeholders could hear what Rodney had to say for free, whilst ACTivists paid. But the point was to raise funds for ACT, so ACT decided to use the ministers portfolio as a fund raiser.

  25. PB – where were these advertisements/invites placed? As far as I know they were sent/emailed to ACT members in that region and other supporters nearby.

    It seems Rodney was roundly harrassed for not inviting them, and then given shit for inviting them. Gee. Tough audience!

  26. Pascal's bookie 26

    “where were these advertisements/invites placed”

    Who knows. The people at ECAN got them though we know that. Perhaps you could confirm whether they were sent to their offices or their private homes.

    The point though, is the text. It is clearly and unambiguously targeted at local body types:

    Local Government is of critical importance to people’s lives and to the future of New Zealand. The role
    you play
    has a significant effect on the prosperity of your communities, districts, towns and the
    Canterbury region as a whole.

    “It seems Rodney was roundly harrassed for not inviting them, and then given shit for inviting them.”

    I’ve seen ACT claiming this a lot, but I’ve not seen any details. Got any? (And he’s being given shit for fundraising off them though, not the invitation. The invitation and the speech are what Ministers should do as a part of their job. It’s the tacky village fete part that’s shit.)

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