Have your say: Green Party calls on government to reveal lobbyists, introduces Member's Bill to create lobby-list. Your view?

Have your say: Green Party calls on government to reveal lobbyists, introduces Member's Bill to create lobby-list. Your view?

The Green Party has introduced a Member's Bill to Parliament today which, if passed, would see the government set up a publicly accessible register of people and companies that lobby the government.

The Lobbying Disclosure Bill was introduced by Greens MP Sue Kedgley, and comes weeks after the Green Party compiled a list of Ministers and their staff who attended events hosted by Westpac in the bank's corporate box at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

The Bill, if passed, would set up a register of lobbyists and a code of conduct for lobbyists, Kedgley said. It was modelled on a successful Canadian public disclosure regime, she said.

“Lobbying is entrenched in our political system, but lobbyists are able to operate in secret and under the radar, in the shadows of the democratic process,” Kedgley said.

“The public has no way of knowing who is lobbying their politicians or what they are being lobbied about. There is also no information available on which lobbyists have special access to Parliament granted to them by the Speaker," she said.

“We believe the public has a right to know who is engaged in lobbying activities that seek to influence public policy. We want to get lobbying out of the shadows and ensure it takes place in as open a way as possible."

Many countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the US already had registers of lobbyists and the OECD had recommended that they be set up, Kedgley said.

The secrecy surrounding lobbying activities fueled the perception that government decisions were being unfairly influenced, undermining the public’s trust in the integrity of New Zealand's democracy.

"The ongoing growth of lobbyists’ influence has subtly shifted the political landscape in favour of corporate interests," Kedgley said.

See a Green Party Q&A on the Bill here.

Your view? Do we need to know more about who is lobbing our government Ministers, or is this just a pre-election Green Party attention grab?

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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I think all lobbying should be on-line so we can all see what's going on.

Matt Robson:

“”I remember, with some anger I must admit, the huge effort put into lobbying Members of Parliament before the 1999 law change which radically liberalized alcohol retailing and cut the alcohol purchasing age to the social detriment of young New Zealanders.
“That’s why when I saw this person from the Beer, Wine & Spirits Council wandering around Parliament with an official parliamentary pass around her neck earlier this year, as if she were some kind of official staff member, I asked my staff to make enquiries.
“The way I saw it was that if the Chief Executive of the Hospice Association, or the Chief Executive of Save The Children Fund, who often appropriately come to Parliament to lobby MPs to outline their concerns, aspirations and hopes, aren’t entitled to an official photo ID allowing them to walk around Parliamentary offices any time of the day or night as they like, then why on Earth should a Liquor Industry official?”
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0301/S00171.htm

Explains why the current alcohol "reforms" are just tinkering.  Attempt to look good by getting tough on problem drinkers, but designed to cause as little impact as possible on industry profits. 
Roger Kerr wrote an article downplaying the cost of alcohol abuse to society, and I bet his organisation was in the Beehive boots and all.

 

I have been wondering where the Exclusive Brethren are going to target their shadowy support this year.  At their natural conservative allies National?  Or are they going to follow The-Way-And-The-Light Don Brash to ACT?  He has always exhibited a moral purity which they clearly think is worth supporting.

Darn Bernard, when are you going to install that sarcasm font?

On more serious matters, I am all for a register.  Transparency is important if we are to maintain at least the vestiges of a democracy.

Cheers to all

Absolutely.  Another good reason to vote for them.

And ps.  the legal firm lobbyists must reveal the clients for whom they provide contract services.

 

I'm starting to get scared. The Greens are making a habit of proposing sensible policies that would steer us away from the (broken) status quo. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

Personally i reckon pollies should have to wear jackets emblasoned with their sponsor's logos, and also that all ballots should have a "none of the above" option which counts as a vote.

I've always been very centrist, but Goff's gaffes and JohnKey's donkeys give me no hope...now i"m bricking it at the thought that the greens are the most sensible and rational party on the block.

VL:  I'm in much the same boat.  Essentially centrist. 

Or to put it another way:  keen to promote rational and proactive economic and social policy.  No party offers that.  Labour is going down the crazy & populist tracks of dicking with GST etc., hauled down the loony left track by their radical wing. 

The Nats are very much don't-rock-the-boat with voters and at the same old time don't-upset-farmers-and-landlords-with-CGT reactionary model.  Absolutely no interest in national savings, just like every National govt before them.

I agree about the Greens.  The problem is that they are reflexively left wing on everything - more so than Labour.  I know some Green Party members, they are very lefty.  ACT of course is the opposite - totally in bed with the BRT and big business.

So it leaves one totally adrift

Cheers to all

I recall seeing a photo of John Key in Chch eastern suburbs following the Feb quake, wearing a BNZ shirt.  So at least he was wearing his sponsor's merchandise. 

There is always a way to hide crooked dealings from the public eye. Well intentioned indeas like this will always be circumvented.

On top of that, there's also the Waitemata Trust and Ruahine Trust.

Of course lobbyists will sneak around, and most would probably get away with it, but the costs of failure would be high.

It is politicians who would be exposed. It would not look good for politicians who are seen to be arranging secret--and therefore illegal--meetings.

New Zealand is a small place. These sorts of problems can be addressed.

They don't care about you - you are not in it - mate :

 http://www.youtube.com/v/acLW1vFO-2Q?version=3%22%3E%3Cparam