National MP claims threat from NZ First

Mark Mitchell claims that NZ First has threatened him to keep away from an electorate project, and NZ First have sent a new MP to request this and that they (NZ First) not be questioned in Parliament.

This is just one side of a story, but if it is close to accurate it is seriously concerning – akin to the Australian cricket cheating scandal, where team leaders got a team newcomer to go dirty.

Mark Mitchell (MP for Rodney):  Minister using taxpayer cash for political gain

Labour’s coalition partner NZ First has threatened to withhold regional development funding for an important economic development project in Rodney unless local National MP Mark Mitchell ends his advocacy for it and stops criticising NZ First ministers.

In an extraordinary request over the weekend, NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft – who said she was under instruction from a Minister – also requested that National pledge to not ask Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones questions about the project, should it go ahead.

“Ms Marcroft said she had been sent to tell me that the Mahurangi River Restoration Project would be considered for funding from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, but for that to happen I would have to end my involvement with it as a local MP.

“Ms Marcroft told me this was because the Government was unhappy with me revealing the illegitimate use of Defence Force aircraft by Defence Minister Ron Mark.

“She also said if I ended my involvement and the money was granted, that they did not want National’s Regional Economic Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith asking Shane Jones questions about it in Parliament.

“Finally, she implied my work as an Opposition MP would be a factor in funding any projects in my electorate I was involved in.

“I immediately told Ms Marcroft this behaviour was unacceptable, and that she had been put in a very compromised position by her colleague. She refused to name them so I said she had two hours to have the Minister call me before I took the matter further.

“She sent a text message an hour later asking me to forget the conversation.

“But this is rotten politics. It goes to the core of our democratic processes and the National Party will not let such behaviour stand.

“This billion dollar Provincial Growth Fund is taxpayer money and should be used to benefit New Zealanders, not buy an easy ride for the Government nor to try and convince local MPs to stop supporting local projects, because they have annoyed the Government.

“The Prime Minister needs to find out which of her Ministers is attempting to use public money for political gain and she needs to quickly explain what she intends to do about it.”

The buck may stop at the Prime Minister’s desk, but initially at least it is mainly up to NZ First to front up and explain.

If Mitchell’s claims are accurate this is more than dirty politics, it is an abuse of power and of the Regional Development Fund.

Marcroft is a first term NZ First list MP, ranked 9th. If she was instructed to do this by NZ First leadership it has put her in an awful position, a bit like the newbie Australian cricketer asked to cheat by his team’s leadership.


Leave a comment


  1. duperez

     /  26th March 2018

    There are probably some who think that Mark Mitchell can discern ‘rotten politics.’ Equally, there are likely to be some who think that he would have difficulty differentiating between rotten politics and simply ‘doing business.’

    • So you think this despotic, corrupt behaviour is acceptable then.

      • duperez

         /  26th March 2018

        What despotic, corrupt behaviour?

        There are probably some who think that everything that Mark Mitchell says is exactly as he says. No doubt he’s a fine and honourable fellow. When it’s proven to be despotic, corrupt behaviour I’ll believe it. Not that he said that about the behaviour.

        As to the topic at hand, naturally it’s par for the course for some to implicitly believe him.

        • PDB

           /  26th March 2018

          The fact they had a conversation and then she text to say to forget it suggests there is something to it despite your dismissal;

          NZ Herald: “Mitchell included screengrabs of texts in which he and Marcroft agreed to meet at the Orewa Surf Club on Saturday.

          A text from Marcroft at 6.10pm that night read “Hi Mark, on reflection I have considered the substance of our conversation to be incorrect and would therefore ask that you kindly disregard it. Thank you for your generosity in this matter.” She added that the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust may wish to apply if they wished to pursue their project and it had potential for the region.”

          From that it sounds more like she was rebuffed, spoke to the MP who put her up to it and tried to walk back the conversation. Why else was she talking to Mitchell in the first place about the project which is nothing to do with her or her parliamentary duties?

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  26th March 2018

      I rather think he has both discerned and exposed rotten politics, duperez. NZF caught with their pants down well and truly.

    • PDB

       /  26th March 2018

      Big squirrel there duperez – unfortunately par for the course for you.

      As to the topic at hand, if true it smells like something Shane Jones would do. Of course it could come down to a case of he said/ she said so expect this to go nowhere once the govt/ NZL First denies it happened.

  2. Corky

     /  26th March 2018

    Winston has asked Marcroft to apologise. Naivety, or sacrificial lamb?

    • PDB

       /  26th March 2018

      “However, NZ First leader Winston Peters said Mitchell had “misunderstood” the conversation with Marcroft – who had later apologised for it at Peters’ direction.

      “Ms Marcroft apologised to Mr Mitchell for the misunderstanding in their conversation. After the conversation had got out of hand she consulted with me late on Saturday afternoon and was advised by me to issue an apology,” said Peters.

      He said Marcroft was not acting under the instruction of a NZ First Minister.

      “While Mr Mitchell may have misunderstood her underlying point, she was apologetic over the matter, and conveyed that to him.”

      He said NZ First did not try to constrain opposition MPs from criticising the Government.”

  3. PDB

     /  26th March 2018

    Ardern plays the ‘I see nothin!’ car….again: “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also unaware of it but said applications for the fund would go through the same process regardless of who was advocating for it. “There is no prerequisite that anyone who is seeking funding needs to be silent on opposition to the Government.”

    Obviously she only “happily” (her word) looks into allegations of sexual abuse.

  4. Traveller

     /  26th March 2018

    Dirty Politics meet Corruption and Graft

  5. Blazer

     /  27th March 2018

    apologised…move on..or start another…thread.

  1. NZ First claims ‘misunderstanding’, Peters instructs apology to Mitchell | Your NZ
  2. National MP claims threat from NZ First — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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