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

  • Twenty highlights of 2020
    As we welcome in the new year, our focus is on continuing to keep New Zealanders safe and moving forward with our economic recovery. There’s a lot to get on with, but before we say a final goodbye to 2020, here’s a quick look back at some of the milestones ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates New Year Honour recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her warm congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the New Year 2021 Honours List. “The past year has been one that few of us could have imagined. In spite of all the things that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • David Parker congratulates New Year 2021 Honours recipients
    Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment David Parker has congratulated two retired judges who have had their contributions to the country and their communities recognised in the New Year 2021 Honours list. The Hon Tony Randerson QC has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago