web analytics

SkyCity shows need to clamp down on lobbyists

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 am, June 14th, 2011 - 22 comments
Categories: business, capitalism - Tags: ,

“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.

22 comments on “SkyCity shows need to clamp down on lobbyists ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    This insidious model of corporatist Government must be put to an end.

    Where the rich and wealthy like SkyCity and Peter Jackson have 24/7 access to our leaders in Wellington and in their private homes.

    And where for a suitable dollar sum (and there is no way we can track where the dollars are being donated to what political cause) the laws of the land can be repealed or amended by ‘our representatives’ to make the affairs of private business more convenient and profitable for their major shareholders.

  2. RedLogix 2

    While lobbyists always have and will be a feature of political life, they do need moderating. The problem is that NACT govts like this one fundamentally run the the country as if it were a business.

    It’s the model of behaviour that they know and feel comfortable with. In that world wheeling and dealing is normal. Cutting deals and scatching backs is SOP. Accountability is something that only flows upwards from the minions to the executive, never the other way around.

    But it’s not good government, and it’s certainly not democracy.

    • rosy 2.1

      The problem is that NACT govts like this one fundamentally run the the country as if it were a business.

      Not just as a business, but for business when they should be running government for citizens.

  3. toad 3

    Fortunately, the Greens have it sorted…

    If only! It still needs the Bill to get drawn in a ballot, and then get the support of a majority of MPs. Remarkably, even Whaleoil (you’ll have to go looking – I couldn’t stomach linking there twice in one day) supports it, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it getting support from the Nats or Act.

  4. salamander 4

    Oh, Jeez .. the Australians did this about a generation ago .. no kidding

  5. freedom 5

    http://www.sul.co.nz/page/mark-unsworth.aspx
    Am I overly paranoid or does it send the wrong message about the focus of a Lobby firm when they have a specific section of their website headers set aside for the Chinese.  Where is the Maori section, or a Japanese section, even a Pasifika section would have at least acknowledged the geography of our Nation’s place on this Globe. No just the Chinese thankyou, that will do nicely.

    • Irascible 5.1

      No. It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of the truth. Bill English, the bag carrier for the Key led National Party, has already been door knocking in China to drum up open cheque books when Key takes up his auctioneer’s hammer and starts selling off NZ to “Mum & Dad Big & Bigger Businesses ” investors in China.

  6. marsman 6

    Douglas Myers seemed to insist that the Business Round Table is not a Lobby Group, it would be great to finally see them publicly declared as such.

  7. NACTs don’t need lobbyists when they are major shareholders in NZ casino capitalism. Look what RWC has done with Rugby Inc now subsidised by workers whose wages and benefits are being savaged. SkyCity now defines downtown Auckland and therefore the new NZ. NACT and the banksters are rewriting our ‘National’ identity as cheap labour ‘entertainers’ of rich tourists and tax cheats. Read Lord Ashcroft. The NZ economy is defined by the parasite finance capitalists who bet on the currency, the intensity of the quakes and the weather. Lets face it we are a destination for parasites and destined to be serfs and servants. But not all is in their favour. Their bets don’t always pay off. Fundamentally NZ is a posterboy for disaster capitalism. Not a classic neo-colony, but one fallen from OECD grace, and rapidly turning into the Chinese Great South Islands. If not this year then next, when the Chinese working class stands up the earthquake in the South Islands will make a bigger impact on the NZX than any earthquake.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    I’ve always considered lobbyists and lobbying a sign of corruption. Wealthy people get their views heard by the politicians while everybody else is effectively kept silent due to not being able to afford the lobbyists. They don’t need a register – they need to be banned outright and a better method communicating between MPs and individuals (one that everybody can access and use) brought in.

  9. Chris 9

    Lets not forget some history here.
    The Labour Party, like any respectable capitalist party seeks – and gets – corporate funding. Big business spends hundreds of thousands of dollars backing Labour because it knows it can be relied upon serve its interests. In 1999 Labour won the elections and formed a coalition government with the Alliance. In recognition of Labour’s thoroughly capitalist credentials big business gave just as much to Labour as to National for electioneering. Labour’s total declared donations came to $1.1million while National’s were $1.2. The Act Party got $805,000. The Engineers Union gave $80,000 to Labour’s campaign, big dollars for a union, but this was just a tiny drop in the bucket for the Labour Party. At a time when unions were in dire straits that money could have been much better used on union campaigns and organising resistance to the attacks on workers’ rights. In 2002 the Labour Party surpassed National, raising $1.6 million in election donations, mostly from big business.
    The Labour Party in recent years has been the most well-funded party. Not content with big business donations, Labour also receives substantial funds from the public purse. In all, the extra-parliamentary Labour Party organisation appears to operate on a budget of about $2.5 million per year. Compared to this, the Parliamentary Service provides the parliamentary wing of Labour with $5 million in Party and MP Support alone. The Labour parliamentarians also receive about $12 million worth of Services to MPs, and Labour ministers currently receive nearly all of Ministerial Services’ staffing budget of over $15 million. These lucrative resources greatly overshadow the party organisation’s finances.

    [You got a weeks ban here. I’ll let this one through because it’s been replied to; but not any more….RL]

    • salamander 9.1

      So ?

    • Anthony 9.2

      Hahahaha.

      How much do National get? how much $$$ in the Waitemata trust?

    • jabba 9.3

      well said Chis .. risky but well said.
      did Owen Glenn do any lobbying before being discarded like a dirty rag?

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.1

        Fucking hell Own Glen is small fry next to the National types who financed Brash’s coup of ACT

      • The Voice of Reason 9.3.2

        No. Glenn made his money in Europe. Any lobbying would be done there, where it would be of benefit. That’s if he does actually lobby, which I understand not to be his style.

    • Colonial Viper 9.4

      The Labour Party in recent years has been the most well-funded party.

      You’re talking about Tony Blair’s Labour Party you moron, not the NZLP.

  10. Jenny 10


    Lobbying undermines democracy. Faced by the continual pressure from well funded lobbyists, who enjoy special access denied to ordinary taxpayers, governments continually ignore the wishes of the vast majority of citizens, to the benefit of the wealthy minority.

    A case in point:

    The Huffington Post on the power of the lobbyists.

    ……public opinion polls consistently show that voters like seeing the minimum wage raised, said Celinda Lake, president of polling firm Lake Research Partners. “When we’ve done public polls, anywhere from 86 to 67 percent say they support an increase in the minimum wage,” Lake said at the CAP event. “A solid majority of voters believe that raising the minimum wage will help the economy.”

    The question must be asked, why if this policy is so popular with voters, are politicians so reluctant to raise the minimum, or even keep it steady to match inflation?

    The Huff gives part of the answer:

    …..And business interests in Maine have been lobbying for the creation of a “training wage” that would let companies pay teenagers less than the state minimum.

  11. ropata 11

    We have the best Government money can buy 🙁
    Muldoon was far more honest than the present bunch of self serving elitists.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Prime Ministers’ meeting reaffirms close trans-Tasman relationship
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today held their first bilateral meeting in Canberra. It was Chris Hipkins’ first overseas visit since he took office, reflecting the close relationship between New Zealand and Australia. “New Zealand has no closer partner than Australia. I was pleased to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Immediate humanitarian support to Türkiye and Syria following earthquakes
    New Zealand will immediately provide humanitarian support to those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by these earthquakes. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones affected,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Pākinga Pā site to be gifted back to local hapū
    An historic Northland pā site with links to Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika is to be handed back to iwi, after collaboration by government, private landowners and local hapū. “It is fitting that the ceremony for the return of the Pākinga Pā site is during Waitangi weekend,” said Regional Development Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • New initiatives to unlock Māori science and research resources
    The Government is investing in a suite of initiatives to unlock Māori and Pacific resources, talent and knowledge across the science and research sector, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Two new funds – He tipu ka hua and He aka ka toro – set to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Advancing our relationship in India
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for India tomorrow as she continues to reconnect Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.  The visit will begin in New Delhi where the Foreign Minister will meet with the Vice President Hon Jagdeep Dhankar and her Indian Government counterparts, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government Northland housing investment to spark transformational change
    Over $10 million infrastructure funding to unlock housing in Whangārei The purchase of a 3.279 hectare site in Kerikeri to enable 56 new homes Northland becomes eligible for $100 million scheme for affordable rentals Multiple Northland communities will benefit from multiple Government housing investments, delivering thousands of new homes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government investment safeguards Waitangi Treaty Grounds
    The Government is supporting one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic sites, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, as it continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. “The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a taonga that we should protect and look after. This additional support will mean people can continue to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago