“The silence of National and Labour on transparency is noted”

Neither of the two large parties, Labour or National, show any sign of following the Green Party example of transparency and a refusal to accept corporate baubles. Neither does NZ First. This is a shame, but it’s unsurprising.

The Green announcement: Green Party announces new transparency measures

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw has today announced two important new transparency measures, which will apply to Green Party Ministers, MPs and staff, to help counter the influence of money in politics.

Green Party Ministers will soon proactively release their ministerial diaries, to show who they’ve met with and why. Additionally, Green Ministers, MPs and staff will not accept corporate hospitality, such as free tickets to events unrelated to their work.

ODT editorial: Green Party transparency welcomed

Transparency is a hallmark of any functioning government and the Green Party says it will continue to aim to uphold that – in Parliament and in Government.

Green co-leader James Shaw recently announced two important new transparency measures which will apply to Green Party ministers, MPs and staff to help show what he says is the influence of money in politics.

The actions are a major step forward in transparency and one which should be held up as an example to other political parties, both inside and outside Parliament.

The power of big business over politicians has become insidious in the United States. It is possible many New Zealand voters will be surprised by the influence of lobbyists in New Zealand.

Because New Zealand is such a small country, MPs, or their staff, often move into areas of influence outside of Parliament while retaining their close ties with the parties with which they previously worked.

Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran was blindsided in Parliament recently when questioned about her relationship with public broadcaster Radio New Zealand. It was revealed Ms Curran, the Dunedin South MP, had met privately with a highly ranked staff member of RNZ.

Then, National revealed an employee of the Prime Minister’s Office promoted Government policy while participating in an opinion segment on Radio New Zealand National, only describing herself as a public relations consultant from a private company for which she no longer worked.

The silence of National and Labour on transparency is noted.

There should be no reason why big wealthier corporates have better or more access to politicians than those organisations who cannot afford to shout free tickets to the rugby or a corporate box at the tennis.

Some will view the Greens’ actions as naive. However, the party must be congratulated and voters should push hard for other ministers and MPs to also start opening their diaries.

Yes, the Greens should be congratulated on walking the transparency walk.

Pressure needs to be put on Labour in particular to front up on this. They have an agreement with the Greens to do this – their Confidence and Supply agreement:

20. Strengthen New Zealand’s democracy by increasing public participation, openness, and transparency around official information.

Labour agrees to work with the Green Party on these and other policy areas as may be identified from time to time, and in good faith.

There is little sign that Labour is living up to their agreement. There is one Beehive release from Associate Minister for State Services (Open Government) Clare Curran that touches on it: Continued effort needed against corruption

“While we continue to hold the position of least corrupt country, and already have high standards of conduct and integrity, we must not be complacent. These results show we are not immune to behaviour and actions that can erode the great work done by the majority of people in the public sector.

“Our focus must be on building and maintaining the public’s trust in the integrity of the public sector, a key enabler in our ability to do better for New Zealand and New Zealanders. I expect a continued commitment to transparency and the highest levels of integrity,” Ms Curran says.

“This government is also committed to reviewing and improving our access to information frameworks and is currently initiating work on human rights in the digital environment.

“Our commitment to open government plays an important role in New Zealand’s democratic system, underpinning the public’s respect, trust, and confidence in the integrity of government.”

That’s just talk from Curran – and she has been embarrassed twice in Parliament over questionable actions of herself and of Government advisor and lobbyist Tracey Bridges.

Greens have shown Curran up by committing to having open diaries and not accepting corporate baubles, while all she seems to have done is waffle and duck and dive.

If all parties currently in government establish more open and transparent procedures and practices then whenever National next gets into Government they should be under pressure to continue with similar levels of transparency and openness.

Talking of National, they don’t make it easy finding their list of MPs on their website. Todd McClay is their spokesperson for State Services – I can’t find anything from him on open government, although Nikki Kaye has called for greater transparency over Partnership Schools.



Leave a comment


  1. Corky

     /  March 8, 2018

    Both Labour and National are rotten to the core. Open diaries would be anathema to them.

  2. Gerrit

     /  March 8, 2018

    Plain and simple grandstanding by the Greens.

    It will table all “official” diaries appointments but not the social ones.

    So James Shaw meets Greenpeace’s Russel Norman at a social BBQ, will this be reported as a lobbyist meeting the Green party leader?


    Lobbyist wont meet Green MP’s in an “official” capacity. Their meeting will be “unofficial” over a pint or two at the local.

    Greens, so naive to think tabling the diaries will lead to transparency.

    How about the meeting minutes? Will they be published? After all what is said is more important in regards transparency.

    • Pete says:
      “Yes, the Greens should be congratulated on walking the transparency walk.”
      Gerrit says:
      “Plain and simple grandstanding by the Greens.”
      Your small-mindedness is showing, Gerrit. Well said, Pete.
      Is PDB still asleep in his bed? I’d have thought he’d have put his spoke in, Gerrit-like, by now!
      David, traveller? Come on, Greens!!!

      • Gerrit

         /  March 8, 2018

        The reality is that the transparency is only for official appointments. There is no transparency on what is being discussed or proposed.

        Russel Norman can visit and lobby James Shaw, the meeting is tabled, so what.

        Will we get to know what was discussed? The full transparency.

        Unofficial meetings will become the norm and the Green’s transparency will be shown up as just smoke and mirrors.

        • robertguyton

           /  March 8, 2018

          Russel and James are at a social BBQ and Gerrit harps,
          “Will we get to know what was discussed? The full transparency.”
          The full transparency? Hansard at Green Party social BBQ’s?
          You’re losing the plot, Gerrit!!!

      • Gezza

         /  March 8, 2018

        Gerrit makes an interesting point about Russell Norman though. Would they list invitees to a sandal-munching gathering where lobbying could occur?

        • PDB

           /  March 8, 2018

          Easy for the Greens to say as who would bother lobbying them anyhow when they have zero power & are but whipping dogs for NZL First/Labour?

          • robertguyton

             /  March 8, 2018

            Zero power?
            You’re not paying attention, PDB.
            No matter. It suits me to have you believing The Greens are somewhere in the wilderness, rather than inside the tent. Happy days!

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 8, 2018

              You’re right Robert. The Greens are successfully bulldozing through the Waka Jumping legislation they are so hot on…and managed to get the CPTTP across the line. Happy days.

            • robertguyton

               /  March 8, 2018

              Neither of your claims are true, HFD but it suits me fine that you hold them; in the meantime, The Greens are quietly turning the ship, to port, to port, steady as she goes.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 8, 2018

              Are you sure that to port there aren’t any icebergs for this titanic of a government to hit?

      • The Greens will, like any political party, be transparent in as much as what they reveal will only inform voters reveals in a manner that garners them support rather than compromises it.

        They’ll be a tad gun shy after Meteria’s confession to welfare fraud.

  3. Gezza

     /  March 8, 2018

    Talking of National, they don’t make it easy finding their list of MPs on their website.

    It used to be easy, as your link to Bill’s team shows. There used to a Home page link for the MP Team, because I used it to check out & copy the blurb for wotsisname, the mercenary chap.

    Must have pulled that heading & pages pending Simon’s reallocation of portfolios.

    • Gezza

       /  March 8, 2018

      * Mark Mitchell
      * Spokesperson roles.
      (Need a coffee, soz)

  4. Zedd

     /  March 8, 2018

    sounds like all parties, may have a ‘skeleton or two.. in the closet’ ?

  5. duperez

     /  March 8, 2018

    It was all so easy in the old days. God just carved a message on stone slabs (maybe got someone else to do the manual work or since he had the power, lasered it) and handed them to Moses and everyone got to know all about it.

    Now Mike Hosking gets pissed off because he waits on the mountain and doesn’t get anything to hand down. So so so frustrating when you’re the chosen one and you don’t get the service you expect.

  1. “The silence of National and Labour on transparency is noted” — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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