When does corruption start damaging National?

By   /   May 8, 2014  /   50 Comments

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In December last year we rated in the top ten of the least corrupt countries according to Transparency International, in its Global Corruption Barometer. At the time the lead researcher, Finn Heinrich stated “Corruption hurts the poor most”. What a difference a year makes!

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In looking back at this National Government it is hard to ignore the fact that the last six years have been marked by concerted efforts on the part of the National Party to build its own economic base.

In December last year we rated in the top ten of the least corrupt countries according to Transparency International, in its Global Corruption Barometer. At the time the lead researcher, Finn Heinrich stated “Corruption hurts the poor most”.

What a difference a year makes! During this year the extent of the practices of this Government have come to light in a way that raises serious questions about the level of corruption our Government has reached.

This National Government began its tenure as a Government with tax cuts for the wealthy few. It raised GST in order to help it meet the costs of tax cuts for its mates. And then we have had slash and burn policies – cuts to sexual health services, ACC counselling, budgeting services and benefits – leaving people in those services or recipients of social security struggling to make ends meet. And then in an election year we have funding announcements essentially reinstating funding to some of those services that have had to survive with no certainty of Government funding. It’s an ugly game and one that raises concerns about how many may have fallen between the cracks by seeking sexual health, counselling or budgeting advice at a time that the Government was saying “No”.

We have been witness to a Government that does business on terms that suit it – both in terms of helping their mates but also by compromising transparency and non-corrupt practices in exchange for money or favours. If you are Mediaworks then a $43 million loan is not out of the question if that’s what the Prime Minister wants. That is the same Prime Minister that suggests to Sky City that they could have more gambling machines if they pay for a Convention Centre. A deal is struck and it happens. It is interesting though that it no longer suits Sky City to have the Intercity bus stop there despite that being a condition of the casino in the first place. So now they want it to move. I’m sure another dinner with the Prime Minister will solve their problem.

So it is no surprise that the Prime Minister does not have too much difficulty defending his Minister of Justice when she does a bit of business for Oravida while in China. And she, too, was successful. Oravida is no longer locked out from exporting milk to China, unlike some of its competitors. Oravida’s gratitude is shown in its photo gallery and of course in its donations to the National Party. So Ministers doing business works. They do have influence and it can be brought to bear when necessary – but at the right price.

We saw the rather ironic Maori Party fundraiser exposed by Native Affairs. An audience with the Prime Minister in exchange for $5000.00. The chance for a word in his ear and the chance to do business. Perhaps that explains why the Hon Pita Sharples received three substantial donations in 2011 from 2 major property development companies and a major company.

And now we have Cabinet Clubs. Payment made for the chance to eat and chat with a Minister. And all donations to the National Party. Given the history of the deals done by the Prime Minister and emulated by some of his Ministers this would be the most effective way to lobby a Minister. And Hon Michael Woodhouse has confirmed that with his rethink of immigration laws comes after (interpreted) discussions with none other than Donghua Liu.

It is an accepted way of operating by this Government. Taking steps to help those who can afford to reward those steps. What chance is there for those who truly need help, who don’t have the $5000 for a plate or the ability to donate between $1500 and $15000 to attend an informal get together?

This is clearly payment for access and if the price is right a deal can be done. There is no transparency here and it will be intriguing to see how we fare on this year’s Global Corruption Barometer.

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50 Comments

  1. YogiBare says:

    Thanks for adding a few more details to what we already know about this corrupt government.
    Pedantic Alert…”fallen between the cracks”?

  2. countryboy says:

    The issues outlined above are the very smallest tip of the largest iceberg imaginable .

  3. XRAY says:

    Very good summary.

    You can add to this the shelving of the MMP reforms by none other than Judith Collins. Why, because it would stop National bypassing election rules thereby barely legally but nevertheless rigging election results with their corrupt cup of teas with prospective pseudo National MP’s, claiming to represent some other party.

    And Warner Bros deal trading labour law rights for money. God knows what happened there with our “business” minded PM but that early example of what National were capable of stank.

  4. Mistery Mistery says:

    Yes. The tip of the iceberg.

    Corruption, and the hiding of this corruption, is led and designed by the most deceitful and cunning of liars, who are most adept at hiding their own corruption from the rest of the world.

    Looking forward to the UN v NZ Govt meeting in September. NZ govt have been called by the UN to answer to some of their implemented corruption.

    Now, will they add further corruption to the mix by answering with half truths and deliberate lies, or will Judith Collins and Key be honest – did that make you laugh?

    Justice minister denies access to justice for most of the most vulnerable of our society – people with disabilities. This is my take on the ‘access to justice’ question that the UN demand an answer to.

    This issue is so corrupt – when the Justice Minister is also the ACC Minister, charged with helping the accidentally disabled, and the sexually and violently abused in our society. It’s been getting worse since the day she started.

    It’s happening – very conveniently – in September, so won’t have the results of the UN investigation until post-election. Still there will be updates until the day of the hearing.

    Opinion and belief.

    • Mistery Mistery says:

      http://www.acclaimot…eport_to_UN.pdf
      http://tbinternet.oh…NZL_17068_E.doc

      PRESS RELEASE ACCLAIM OTAGO

      Does ACC system provide access to justice asks UN

      The United Nations Committee responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“CRPD”) has formally raised access to justice and other issues with the New Zealand Government. The Committee considered a report submitted by Acclaim Otago, prepared with the generous support of a shadow report grant from the New Zealand Law Foundation.

      The Committee of disability experts met in Geneva last week for a pre-sessional working group. The Committee has prepared a list of issues which will form the basis of the Committee’s examination of New Zealand’s compliance with the Convention in September 2014.

      The Committee has selected the most pressing issues around access to justice from Acclaim Otago’s report and the New Zealand Government must now prepare a formal and detailed response on these issues for the Committee’s consideration. The Committee’s question to the New Zealand Government on this point was.

      Please explain whether New Zealand law provides access to justice for persons with disabilities engaged in the statutory dispute resolution process with regard to adequate funding, procedural fairness and reliable evidentiary procedures under New Zealand’s Accident Compensation scheme.

      “Acclaim Otago is delighted that the Committee has heard the voices of people with disabilities covered by ACC. The United Nations Committee has taken our report seriously, and we hope the New Zealand government will now do the same.” says Dr Denise Powell, one of the co-authors of Acclaim Otago’s report.

      “ACC was designed as a system to provide access to justice for all New Zealanders. We can now have a debate about how access to justice for people covered by ACC can be improved. The aim is to reconstruct ACC into a world leading personal injury system that actually does what it was designed to do.” Says Mr Warren Forster, the main author of the report. He continues, “This is the first step in re-orienting ACC towards respect for the human rights of people with disabilities.”

      Other issues raised by Acclaim Otago have been incorporated into the list of issues including the way the New Zealand Government engages with people with disabilities covered by ACC and the actual level of employment for persons who are exited from the ACC scheme after being assessed as able to work full-time.

      “Now that these issues have been raised, we need to understand the scale of the problems within the ACC system. Acclaim Otago will seek public input into the issues next month.” Mr Forster says.

      ENDS

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1404/S00332/does-acc-system-provide-access-to-justice-asks-un.htm

      http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/UNProject

  5. Te Kupu says:

    Love to see a ‘sting operation’ by the likes of a Campbell Live to actually see how far your $5000 goes and what you can get on tape for that access! Just saying…

    • Claris Moses says:

      We seem to have forgotten about the huge donation which was budgeted for Pacific Economic Development which was to be paid to an Onehunga based private company on the basis of a flimsy 6 page submission.

      This was pulled but the stench of Sam Lotu-Iiga’s hand is still strong in this friendly gesture to his friends.

  6. Intrinsicvalue says:

    Louisa corruption will hurt National when you actually find any. In the meantime, keep digging on the cabinet club. Please. There are so many skeletons in Labours closet, this will be so much fun.

    • Stuart Munro says:

      MILTON! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
      New Zealand hath need of thee: she is a fen
      Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
      Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
      Have forfeited their ancient Kiwi dower
      Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
      O raise us up, return to us again,
      And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power!

      Lost, damned and doomed is this government – and while they steal New Zealand drifts, shipping water and broadside to the seas.

      Labour’s skeletons won’t keep this hulk off the rocks IV, only a government awake to its duty can do that.

      Muldoon was worth a hundred Keys, and Muldoon was rubbish.

    • e-clectic says:

      Care to point out a couple or three of that multitude of skeletons IV or is this just another unsubstantiated claim of yours?

    • Mistery Mistery says:

      Cash for access deals run with help of PM’s office
      The Green Party can reveal details of an exclusive Wellington dinner where a select group paid about $3000 each to the National Party to dine with and lobby the Prime Minister in a cash-for-access deal involving the Prime Minister’s own staff.

      The Green Party has been told the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson was with him at the September 2011 dinner at the Museum Hotel which suggests John Key was there in his capacity as the Prime Minister, not just a member of the party or an MP.

      “This crosses the line drawn by the Prime Minister himself: that Ministers were free to attend pricey Cabinet Club style fundraisers for the National Party in their capacity as members of the party or an MP,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

      “This $3000 a head dinner with John Key shows how enough money can buy access, not just to Government Ministers, but to the Prime Minister himself.

      “It is concerning that the Prime Minister’s chief of staff accompanied him to the event, which would suggest John Key was there in his official capacity as Prime Minister. It is completely inappropriate for people to pay to access the Prime Minister and the fact that the National Party benefits from this raises serious questions over a possible conflict of interest.

      The dinner, on September 13 2011, was organised by hotel owner Chris Parkin, who invited a select group of Wellington’s business elite to attend.

      “The Prime Minister himself has confirmed he’s attended 53 Cabinet Club events where private donors paid thousands to the National Party in order to meet him. The Wellington dinner was run on a similar basis.

      “I think ordinary New Zealanders would be shocked to learn this is how the National Government goes about its business.

      “These cash for access deals are a dangerous corrosion of our democracy.

      “The Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins sagas prove the National Party treats more seriously the concerns of people who give them money.

      “Lots of ordinary New Zealanders would love to have dinner with the Prime Minister and talk to him about the issues they want him to follow up. But they can’t afford to go to one of his exclusive dinners.

      “Ministers have special powers that other MPs don’t. They have an obligation to avoid the risk they could use those powers to their own benefit, or to benefit those who give their party lots of money. These dinners are a blatant breach of that obligation.

      “New Zealand needs a ministerial disclosure regime, like that proposed by the Greens, which would mean the Prime Minister would have to say who he met that night and what they lobbied him about.
      @IV

      “A $3000 dinner with the Prime Minister is worlds away from the $25 ticket to a quiz night, or movie night or other types of fundraisers everyday New Zealanders are used to. And its completely different from the normal voluntary political donations that parties rely on to survive.

      “Though John Key may insist these cash for access fundraisers are technically legal, that does not mean they are right,” Dr Norman said

  7. BlueSky says:

    Insignificantvalue??? Hilariously sad clown pretending to be a troll, Lousia doesn’t have to search out Corruption when Judith Collins is caught wallowing in it all by herself, M Williams has actually hoisted himself by it, JBanks is off to court for it, Woodhouse seems also caught up in the sticky stuff, and the list certainly seems to go on and on…..
    I wonder who will be at the end of this little list, someone of insignificant value – like you?
    I think not.

    • Intrinsicvalue says:

      None of those are corruption. On the other hand, the Services and Food Workers Union giving $500,000 of their members money to the ‘living wage’ campaign…now there’s corruption.

      How can you seriously keep a straight face accusing National of corruption when Labour have been in the trough for decades?

      • Marcus says:

        Money paid for services rendered or having to pay money to get any services in politics may be business as usual in China or many other countries, but in New Zealand it is corruption, no matter which party the politicans involved belong to. If you can’t tell the difference between this and openly raising money to support a campaign then you are a fool.

        • Intrinsicvalue says:

          “Money paid for services rendered or having to pay money to get any services in politics may be business as usual in China or many other countries, but in New Zealand it is corruption,”

          Ah, so who did this then? The only one I can think of is a Labour politician.

          • Anonymous ACT Support Intrinsicvalue – pathetic attempt at deflection.

            • Intrinsicvalue says:

              This may be a new concept for you Frank, but most of us want proof when accusations are made. Proof such as convicted Taito Philip Field.

              I’m asking for proof of corruption by any National MP in the Key Government. That’s a perfectly reasonable request, and one that as yet has not been answered.

      • Marc says:

        IV – empty words and NO proof for such grandiose lies.

  8. The media effectively have their hands tied, especially Mediaworks with a $43 Million Government loan effectively silencing any decent investigative journalisim.

    • Andrea says:

      Are there no independent journalists here, then? Are there any across the Ditch? Do we still have unbought newspapers and radio stations?

      And, perhaps Al Jazeera might be interested… They certainly have a wide reach.

      Yet – how many Gentle Readers flap to the back pages to keep up with the exploits of assorted ball players and use the politics pages for wrapping the soggies to go in the bin?

      A lot more plotting and scheming is needed to crack this one. Hot goss, politics and scandal are so fleetingly entertaining these days.

      • XRAY says:

        The MediaWorks bailout headed by its former owner Stephen Joyce was so odd. He wasn’t broadcasting minister at the time, the Ministry of Economic Development report recommended no government money was needed and yet it happened all the same.

        The conflict of interest was enormous and yet it went almost untested by the mainstream media of the day.

        Given we have now seen far more of the crony culture of the National Party being exposed lately one wonders if this “bailout” was not seen by them as an investment (taxpayer-funded of course) in non critical journalism against National.

    • poem says:

      If real journalism existed in this country john key would have been history long ago.

  9. Steve Hart says:

    Transparency international’s anti corruption index cannot be relied upon for any reliable guidance on the level of corruption in New Zealand.

    • Stuart Munro says:

      Oh really – do you know how it arrives at its rankings? Highly subjective.

      • Steve says:

        I understand TINZ asks half a dozen people in government for their opinion. That’s the total sum of the research. Download their annual report to see how TI is funded.

    • poem says:

      Transperency.org.nz (designed to hoodwink) is NOT the real Transparency.org that says New Zealand is corrupt.

    • QuentinZ says:

      Of course it won’t give any reliable guidance of the level of corruption; they measure the perceived corruption!
      Given that NZ is a nation populated mainly by sheep (I’m talking about the kind walking on its two hind legs not the wooly kind) and sleepy hobbits, I don’t think there will be much of a noticeable dip in the corruption ranking

  10. e-clectic says:

    Looks very much like a follow on from the US model outlined by Thomas Frank in The Wrecking Crew.

  11. Marc says:

    Yes, so we have another post on the revelation of the truth about what really goes on in government, yes in this whole country, that is in “higher circles” of business and in politics.

    It is nothing new to me what the media is reporting on, this has all been going on for years, and I bet it will continue to go on in future.

    While it is good to see the media expose a lot of questionable and virtually corrupt practices some ministers and MPs may engage in, I would not celebrate too much if I was a Labour MP like Louisa. I fear it will not suffice to attack National and John Key on their misdeeds in regards to “dealings” with some wealthy Chinese migrants and so, as they will throw back some mud soon.

    Sooner or later you will have to come up with some decent policies, of which we have not heard all that much yet.

    I never hear much from Louisa on social development or welfare issues, and this is a major concern, especially for those of us, who suffer sickness and disability, and who now face new kinds of medical and “work ability assessments” along criteria that is now set along the lines of what Professor Mansel Aylward from the UK recommends.

    MSD and WINZ also have a mad doctor called BRATT, and he claims we are all “addicted” to the benefit and must be weened off as soon as possible, and no matter how sick and disabled we are, WORK is supposedly “therapeutic” for us, so we will get well by getting out there and competing with the fit and healthy workers.

    I just wonder, whether all this mud slinging we are getting in Parliament and partly in the media now, whether that serves our purpose. Other matters seem to be neglected and not talked about.

    So, please, get back to real politics, and alternatives, and perhaps do some study, dear Louisa and also Sue Moroney, so you are up to date with what goes on in social security and amongst the “beneficiary bashing” circles out there:

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    I would love to hear you ask some real hard questions to that other bully (not the Crusher one), I mean Paula, the Benefit denier.

    Thanks for your attention, and have a good day!

  12. Weepu's beard says:

    I thought governments were not supposed to be in the business of doing business. That has been a conservatives’ mantra for as long as I can remember.

  13. poem says:

    On the world report on corruption just released last year, New Zealand is listed as one of 51 countries out of 107 perceived by political parties among the institutions most affected by corruption and is one of 4 countries out of 107 perceived the MEDIA to be among the institutions most affected by corruption, the other 3 countries are Australia, Egypt and the UK and also in this report it states that New Zealand has been listed as one of the countries out 107 where corruption has increased. The powers that be in this country have created its own bogus “transparency.org.nz” website that the nz media etc use to lie to New Zealand, it is NOT the real international Transparency.org website. The real joke is, while it hoodwinks NZers and keeps us in the dark, and continues to perpetrate national party lies, the rest of the world sees the real stats on how corrupt New Zealand has become.

    • QuentinZ says:

      care to give links to your findings, because I can only find information with the opposite views…
      Doesn’t mean that I buy the crap that NZ is completely corruption free

  14. poem says:

    People really should be made aware that the transparency.org.nz is bogus, it tells the untruth that NZ has low level corruption. This is a lie. The real transparency.org however, does state that NZ is now as corrupt as other countries. Reality, what we are seeing and hearing practically on a daily basis, tells us how corrupt NZ has become under john key. national is pimping itself out for money to the rich, foreign or not, for governmental favours and to dictate policy. There is only one way to go. Sack the self serving corrupt nats Sept 20.

  15. Jack says:

    I thought the neo liberal dogma was the Government are not meant to be involved in business activities and the market takes care of the problems. This Government is knee deep in everything using taxpayers money, bailing out Finance Companies, Warner Bros, Rio Tinto, Sky City, Oravida to name a few. NZ Inc is Key and his cronies little play thing.

    • Intrinsicvalue says:

      Well we don’t have neo-liberal dogma in NZ so your point is well made. Of course Govt is involved with business. It is Govt’s role to create the environment for business to thrive, employ, pay taxes. That’s why Govt’s talk to business.

      • darridge says:

        Yes we do.

        • Intrinsicvalue says:

          No, we don’t. Other wise we would not have WFF, or most other forms of welfare our very generous Govt. provides our of our money.

      • Stuart Munro says:

        No, the government’s role is to ensure the citizens thrive. It is possible to do this with business, but that’s not remotely the same thing as letting business run amok.

        There are commonalities of interest between people and business, but there are also conflicts. The slave trade, tobacco, speculation and privatisation are all against the public interest. No democratic government can obtain a genuine mandate for sociopathic enterprises.

        • Intrinsicvalue says:

          Speculation and privatisation are absolutely NOT against the public interest. They serve the public interest by enabling people with initiative and drive to prosper, which in turn creates wealth for the country overall. There should be no state owned commercial enterprises. None. Even monopolies should be privatised, and then profits monitored by a monopolies commission.

          • Marc says:

            “Trickle down pissing down trick”, yet again, deliver the “trickle down evidence”, please, you are an empty voice in a void echo chamber, talking to yourself, I am afraid.

      • Intrinsicvalue says:
        May 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

        Well we don’t have neo-liberal dogma in NZ so your point is well made. Of course Govt is involved with business. It is Govt’s role to create the environment for business to thrive, employ, pay taxes. That’s why Govt’s talk to business.

        “Talking to business”? Is that what you call outrageous cronyism; subsidies; corporate welfare; and secret/dirty deals?

        Oh dear, is that the best spin you can offer us?!

        Truly, truly tragic.

        • Intrinsicvalue says:

          ““Talking to business”? Is that what you call outrageous cronyism; subsidies; corporate welfare; and secret/dirty deals?”

          Don’t know. Haven’t seen any of this really since 2008.

          • Marc says:

            Another round of “charity” golf is planned for Key with Oravida boss, I hear. The “charity” is for the National Party.

          • Marc says:

            Hollywood deal with the “Hobbit” movies, Sky City free convention centre deal, special treatment for mining an oil drilling corporations, just some to think of, dear dishonest “friend” of the darker forces.

            Oh, I forgot, South Canterbury Finance, or what it was called, a convenient bail out, for the better off down south.

          • Marc says:

            RIO TINTO, and the list can go on.

  16. Mistery Mistery says:

    http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/3518811/directors?backurl=%2Fcompanies%2Fapp%2Fui%2Fpages%2Fcompanies%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DOravida%26mode%3Dstandard

    ORAVIDA KAURI LIMITED (3518811) Registered
    To maintain this company log on here
    Last updated on 05 Nov 2013
    View as Single Page Certificate of Incorporation Company Extract

    Company Summary
    Addresses
    Directors (3)
    Shareholdings (1)
    Documents (14)
    PPSR Search

    Full legal name: Deyi SHI
    Residential Address: 18 Kipling Avenue, Epsom, Auckland, 1023 , New Zealand
    Appointment Date: 19 Aug 2011
    Consent: View Consent Form

    Full legal name: David WONG-TUNG
    Residential Address: 3 Omana Heights Drive, Maraetai, Auckland, 2012 , New Zealand
    Appointment Date: 11 Oct 2012
    Consent: View Consent Form

    Full legal name: Julia Jiyan XU
    Residential Address: 4a/89 Halsey Street, Auckland Cbd, Auckland, 1010 , New Zealand
    Appointment Date: 06 Sep 2011
    Consent: View Consent Form

    Historic data for directors
    Show History

    [link to Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment website]. [link to the New Zealand government business website]. [link to the New Zealand government website].



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