“Substitute the words “convention centre” for “suitcase of cash” and the transaction looks very clear.”*
National wants to change the rules for another foreign corporate. Wouldn’t move an inch for Kiwirail jobs. Maybe because Kiwirail didn’t donate 100K to National (and Labour) like SkyCity did.
And what about the other bidders to build the convention centre? They didn’t get to submit costings before National did its dirty deal with SkyCity. Did they not employ expensive lobbyists? Did SkyCity? You would have to be suspicious about how SkyCity got National’s ear. We need transparency on lobbying.
Fortunately, the Greens have it sorted, reports I/S:
Last weekend, Dominion-Post columnist Tracy Watkins highlighted the lack of transparency around lobbying in this country, and called for change. We’re now seeing the first concrete steps towards that, with the Greens’ Sue Kedgley putting up a member’s bill to require public registration of lobbyists.
The bill is here [PDF]. It is heavily based on the Canadian Lobbying Act 1985 and defines “lobbying activity” as seeking to influence or arrange meetings with MPs, Ministers or ministerial staff, for payment and on behalf of another. It does not cover ordinary citizens seeking to influence their representatives, and it does not cover requests for information or publicly available submissions. Lobbyists must be registered, and will be subjected to a Code of Conduct. Failure to register will attract a $10,000 fine for an individual, or a $20,000 fine for a company.
The Bill would register lobbyists and create a public list of who they have lobbied on which issues and on whose behalf.
Sounds good. I don’t know about you but the fact that a mouth for hire like Mark Unsworth has his own swipe card to wander around Parliament and lobby who knows what on behalf of whom chills my blood. It’s clearly an usurpation of democracy.