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Roy joins in Hide’s Breakfast-gate scam

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 pm, October 22nd, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: act, corruption - Tags: ,

Question Time and media reports have revealed more on Hide’s ministerial-speeches-for-party-donations scam (as you know, every political scandal needs a ‘-gate’. I like Breakfast-gate).

Hon Annette King: Does he expect all his Ministers to comply with paragraph 2.54 of the Cabinet Manual, which states: ‘accepting additional payment for doing anything that could be regarded as a ministerial function is not permissible’ and ‘accepting payment for any other activities requires the prior approval of the Prime Minister’; if so, in what cases has he approved Ministers accepting payment for such activities?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second one is that I cannot tell the member, as I do not have that advice here.

If Hide is speaking as a minister, he and his party can’t take payment.

Hon Annette King: Does he believe that the Minister of Local Government upheld the highest standards as required by section 2.53 of the Cabinet Manual when he invited local government councillors to a breakfast called ‘The Future of Local Government Breakfast’ in his capacity as Minister of Local Government, with all cheques, at $45 a head, to be made out to the ACT Party?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: My understanding is that the Cabinet Office does not have concerns about this situation but any questions of detail should be directed to the Minister, who, I understand, has explained the circumstances.

Since when has the Cabinet Office been the judge of whether the Cabinet Manual is complied with? It is the Prime Minister’s job to appoint and fire ministers.

Hon Annette King: Is he aware that the Minister of Local Government said on Checkpoint last night that the Christchurch breakfast is the only time he has used his title as Minister to attract paying customers to hear him speak in his capacity as Minister, but contradicted that statement when he spoke to Susan Wood on Newstalk ZB and said that he had had meetings like this all around the country before, and is he aware of any such other meetings being held?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: The member will be aware that whether MPs are Ministers or not they take part in fundraising activities.

So, has Hide been doing this regularly or is this the first time? Murkier and murkier.

Carol Beaumont: Is he aware his Minister of Consumer Affairs, Heather Roy, is holding a similar breakfast in her ministerial capacity to talk about her plan to review consumer legislation, with all cheques going into the same bank account that Mr Hide is using to build the ACT Party campaign fund; if so, what is he going to do about this Minister’s behaviour?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: As I said before, all Ministers are expected to comply with the Cabinet Manual and there has been no suggestion that they have not.

Well, Bill, there’s quite strong suggestions they have not. And it looks like every ACT MP is playing this dirty little game. There was a time when they called themselves perk-busters

Hon Annette King: When the Prime Minister said that he would be operating a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy for his Ministers, did he establish the standard of ethical performance he expected from his Ministers, and did it exclude arranging private financial affairs to get as much money out of the taxpayers as possible, using their positions as Ministers to raise money for political campaigns, leaking commercially sensitive information to competitors in a bidding process, and releasing private information about people who question Government policy?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: That is just a bit rich, coming from Labour. That member knows that politicians attend fund-raisers all the time, and that is fine as long as everyone is clear about the basis on which they are attending.

There have been lot of strikes for a lot of ministers, the speaking minister, English, among them. What he says is the nub of the issue: “politicians attend fund-raisers all the time, and that is fine as long as everyone is clear about the basis on which they are attending”. Clearly, people are not clear about the role in which Hide is speaking. He is speaking on his portfolio and he has invited stakeholders – sounds like a ministerial speech, yet he (now) claims it’s a fundraiser.

Hon Rodney Hide: Could the Prime Minister confirm that when Ministers in this Government attend public meetings…

So, he is speaking as minister at a public meeting? Not as party leader at a fundraiser? Damned by his own words.

Meanwhile, Hide was saying the opposite to reporters outside the chamber, claiming it was the organisers’ fault and he’s speaking as ACT Leader:

“I’m going to make it quite plain that I’m speaking as the leader of the Act Party. Obviously, everybody knows now that I’m minister of local government and that doesn’t need to be added.”

Sorry, the fact that it says he’s minister on the invite isn’t the problem. With or without that he’s still clearly talking as minister – he’s inviting stakeholders, he’s talking about his portfolio.

And now he seems to be flip-flopping again on whether or not it’s a fundraiser. Yesterday it was, today:

“They’re not paying for the speech, they’re paying for the breakfast”

Um, The most expensive breakfast is $21. What’s the other $24 per head going on? Pixie dust? It’s the lies that get you in the end.

19 comments on “Roy joins in Hide’s Breakfast-gate scam ”

  1. r0b 1

    “They’re not paying for the speech, they’re paying for the breakfast’

    Hide is a liar. 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.

    Hide seems keen to keep the rort going:

    “In future I’m going to be very careful,” he said. “I’m going to make it quite plain that I’m speaking as the leader of the Act Party. Obviously, everybody knows now that I’m minister of local government and that doesn’t need to be added.”

    Is this what we want? Government for sale?

    • Tigger 1.1

      “I’m going to make it quite plain that I’m speaking as the leader of the Act Party.”

      Well that ought to be the kiss of death to any fundraising effort…

  2. pete 2

    accepting additional payment for doing anything that could be regarded as a ministerial function is not permissible

    This part is pretty interesting. Even if this were a legitimate fundraiser, Hide would be in breach, because this certainly could be regarded as a ministerial function.

  3. sean14 3

    Yup, we all know that Auntie Helen rigorously enforced the Cabinet Manual where Winston was concerned.

    Why is it that when your side does it it’s fine, but when the other side does it it’s the worst thing since un-sliced bread?

    • Marty G 3.1

      “Why is it that when your side does it it’s fine, but when the other side does it it’s the worst thing since un-sliced bread?”

      That may be your attitude, sean, but I’m struggling to remember Eddie or any other writer her expressing the same sentiments.

  4. peteremcc 4

    Sorry pete, how is Rodney accepting additional payment?

    The Party is charging for the event, Rodney isn’t getting paid for it.

    Presumably no minister ever spoke at a Labour Party conference or event in the last 9 years right?

    Or did they just all talk about each others portfolios? Helen spoke about finance, Michael spoke about law and order, Clayton spoke about being Prime Minister, Goff spoke about education and Annette spoke about Trade?

    • Daveo 4.1

      1) If you read the cabinet manual, ACT would count as a close associate. Would it be okay if he was selling access but giving the fee to his brother-in-law or to his son’s business? It”s corruption whichever way you look at it.

      2) There’s no suggestion Labour has done the same. I’ve no doubt the National and ACT research units are trawling through everything they can right now to find an example. But even if that was the case, it’s still corrupt, isn’t it?

      Why are you defending corruption Peter? Don’t let yourself go down with Rodney. You’ve got a bright career ahead of you.

      • felix 4.1.1

        Peter may even have a future as music supervisor for National Party productions.

      • peteremcc 4.1.2

        haha.

        maybe it’s a close associate, but i doubt it, even labour didn’t bother trying to make that argument in Parliament after their research units spent ages preparing questions.

        either way, it’s irrelevant, he’s speaking as the act leader.

        there is suggestion, i just suggested it. are you denying it?

        in fact, thinking about it now, i remember being at young nat events where ministers came to speak. of course they spoke as national party MPs so it was ok too.

        • Daveo 4.1.2.1

          “i remember being at young nat events where ministers came to speak. of course they spoke as national party MPs so it was ok too.”

          You just don’t understand the issues here do you? It’s not that an MP spoke at a fundraiser, it’s Rodney Hide, speaking as a minister and on his portfolio, charging stakeholders and the wider public a fee to the ACT Party in exchange for access. That’s what’s corrupt.

          Perhaps you don’t have such a bright future in front of you after all.

  5. pete 5

    There’s no suggestion Labour has done the same. I’ve no doubt the National and ACT research units are trawling through everything they can right now to find an example.

    I checked over at Kiwiblog, they haven’t found anything yet.

  6. Marty G 6

    Breakfast-gate – lolz

    • ak 6.1

      mmmm…pattern emerging here… Showergate, Breakfastgate….what’s next…Morning teagate? mmmm…..someone check Ryall’s “energy drink”…..

  7. Makes no difference what you panty sniffers say…this is the only place it seems to be an issue 🙂

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