The curious difference between meal of fish and a ticket to Bon Jovi

Recall National’s current Agriculture Minister David Carter’s words, back in 2004:

[Winston] Peters last night vigorously denied claims made on TV One that the meal, at Kermadec Restaurant in Auckland’s Viaduct Basin and paid for by co-owner Peter Simunovich, might imply “corruption”.

“Do you think I’d compromise my career for a meal of fish?” he said.

But Mr Peters is at least expected to face an investigation by Parliament’s privileges committee, which oversees the behaviour of MPs.

The National Party says it will lodge a complaint against him.

The chairman of the scampi inquiry, National MP David Carter, said he would ask the privileges committee to speak to Mr Peters and Mr Simunovich to clear up the controversy.

I think the allegations are serious. If in any way he was collecting favours, it’s close to corruption,” he told the Herald. “At the very least it’s stupid. (my emphasis)”

Yet when Russel Norman revealed nine Cabinet Ministers and numerous Ministerial staff, including some of David Carter’s, have accepted corporate hospitality from Westpac – including box seats at the Rugby 7s, dinner at the White House restaurant, and tickets to rock concerts – while Westpac’s Government banking contract has been under review, PM John Key responds:

There is nothing wrong with ministers accepting hospitality from the Government’s banker Westpac, and it won’t have any bearing on the decision that will follow a competitive tender process for the contract, Prime Minister John Key says.

So what’s changed between 2004 and now?  Oh, that’s right, the Nats are in Government now.

24 Comments Posted

  1. toad – if you have evidence of bribery, you should go to the police.

    But I suspect you just like slandering the people you think of as your enemy.

    nznative likes slandering too. Becuase of around 200 new honours, three went to national party members that’s proof of corruption.

    It’s all just narrow mindedness driven by hatred.

  2. @photonz1 June 5 2:07 PM

    There is a vast difference between making a decision re who holds the Government’s banking account on the basis of lobbying and/or bribery on behalf of the overseas owned banks seeking it, and making it for the sound political reason that those overseas owned banks have an appalling record of tax avoidance and cannot be trusted.

  3. Norightturn has a good post about Nationals corruption with dishing out honors to old party hacks ……… they also dish them out to people who make large political donations.

    Its also pretty corrupt how they stack every Govt board with party hacks as well

    Same with ‘reports’ they get written up ………

    feeding the dogs some bones.

    And yes I know labor did it ….. which is part of the reason they are ‘bad and rotten’.

    But the Nats are worse ………. which is part of the reason they are ‘plain evil’.

  4. So Russell is critical of ministers, because accepting hospitality means they could potentially favour one bank over the others.

    Then he comes out and openly does exactly that – says one bank should be be given vast and unfair commercial advantage over the others.

  5. Photonz acknowledges that he doesn’t know what Keith is saying to the Cubans, and then castigates him for not saying something.

    This is of a piece with a lot of right-wing rhetoric.

    Made up bullshit.

    Cut the crap Photonz. When Keith gets back and reports on his trip we’ll have a discussion about what he did and did not say.

    I’d point out however, that he is a New Zealand member of parliament and unrestrained deep water drilling in New Zealand is a New Zealand issue.

    Cubans have to decide for themselves what risks they wish to take with their environment.. national sovereignty isn’t really a difficult concept is it?

    Oh wait… you like the NACT “Asset sales R Us” party. Maybe it IS difficult… sorry.


  6. Attacks on unregulated drilling of our deep sea by foreign companies without environment protection – I’ll repeat, the government now has (still inadequate) plans to regulate that they did not have prior to these criticisms from Greens.

  7. SPC – attacks on NZs deep sea drilling, but not on the country “hosting” Keith, shows how very easy it is to sway green convictions.

  8. He’s paid to work for the well-being of New Zealand …

    Use of his free speech in advocacy of protecting our environment from foreign corporates is not an attack on his own country it’s preventing one.

    Are you confusing a foreign corporate not being liable for environment impact of its activities with the well-being of New Zealand – what sort of international capitalist apologist are you …

    You may have noted even this government has moved on the issue since … their way of admitting they had not balanced the environment impact with economic development on the issue.

  9. So SPC – you are saying it’s ok for Keith to attack his own country for something, even tought he won’t say a word against another country for doing EXACTLY the same thing (who just happen to be hosting him on a nice big holiday)

  10. He’s working to protect our environment and contributing to our political debate on that issue … just as local Cubans concerned about their environment would do so there

  11. PC says “Do you have any knowledge of what he says to the Cuban parliamentarians he meets?”

    No – do you?

    I’m just waiting to hear the severe criticism of deep sea drilling in Cuba like the Greens make of their own country. If they don’t do that, then we can only presume that deep sea drilling is ok is some places on the planet, but really bad in other places.

    What’s the difference?

  12. photonz

    You are aware that parliament is not sitting, nor Select Committees and that Keith Locke is a party list MP with no electorate seat – he is therefore currently working for the Green Pary as their foreign affairs spokesperson.

    Have you any relevant knowledge of the activities of other MP’s during this parliamentary recess, or are you simply singling out one MP for selective criticism and to a higher standard than you have ever publicly made for any other MP because of your partisan prejudice against the Green Party?

    Do you have any knowledge of what he says to the Cuban parliamentarians he meets?

  13. The electoral act is very strict about “treating”. As a one time candidate, I was warned not even to shout a constituent a cup of coffee in case it is construed as corruption. This is not to say constituents are so poor they can be bribed by a cup of coffee, or ministers are so poor they can be directly influenced by corporate hospitality, but in both cases it sets up a psychological bond and feeling of indebtedness that can lead to favouritism. If this was not the case, then there Electoral Act and the Public Service Code of Conduct would not be so strict on keeping a safe distance from any suspicion of emotional blackmail.

  14. SPC says “… and at no cost to us”

    What – he’s not being paid his taxpayer funded salary while he’s there?

    So what value is the NZ taxpeyer getting for their money, when Keith is about to retire?

    As for influeence being brought to bear because of this trip –

    I’m waiting to hear the Greens attack Cuba for starting up deep sea drilling – in a similar way that they attack their own country.

    And I’m waiting to hear the Greens attack Cuba on it’s human rights record.



    Can’t hear a thing.

  15. I wonder how much “corporate hospitality” has been extended to Ministers by the insurance industry in the lead-up to the decision to privatise the ACC work account.

  16. photonz, there is no reason for any confusion, frog simply said that there was no taxpayer subsidy of the flight over to Cuba. He paid for it out of his own money because it was of interest to him.

    If the Cuban parliament was hosting him – and he says he was invited as a member of our parliament who was a party spokesperson on foreign affairs then that means that he was hosted by members of that parliament while there. I can only guess that the regular blogging is to indicate that he is on a working visit … and at no cost to us.

    If you can see any influence being brought to bear on us via a retiring MP through this working visit perhaps then you can show relevance to the Westpac contract with this government … or it’s just desperate attempt to throw mud at Greens for raising the issue of standards of accountability that embarrass the political right.

  17. So why did he say his trip was being hosted by the Cuban Parliament?

    That makes it sould like….well….he is being hosted.

    Which would tend to mean that they are looking after him.

  18. photonz1, Keith Locke paid personally for his trip to Cuba. No taxpayer funding. Not a cent. Get it!

    That’s the difference.

  19. Whats’s different?
    1/ The head of Westpac has not been accused of corruption.
    2/ The head of Westpac is not being investigated by a parliamentary committee.
    3/ Gerry Brownlie isn’t on the investigating committee.
    4/ Gerry Brownlie isn’t being personally hosted and paid for by the head of Westpac, who he has just cleared of corruption.

    Frog – you have no answer to the difference between a concert ticket and a trip to Cuba for a retiring MP?

  20. A primary point of difference is just who makes the decisions. WIth Winston and the Scampi affair, it was Winston. With National and Westpac, its not National.

    Comparing the two therefore fails.

  21. You really can’t see the difference between Peters receiving favors from someone for whom he has directly used his influence and Ministers getting tickets from a provider over whose contract they have virtually no influence?

    You are an intelligent person, frog. I must therefore conclude you are being disingenuous here.

  22. So how does a concert ticket, and a fish meal compare to say…….er……..a trip to Cuba.

    Isn’t Keith just a few months from retirement?

  23. Burn!

    This is all very well. Let’s just remember that it is a ‘game story’ though and not the kind of politics that the Green Party is held in high regard for… I guess someone’s gotta pick up the slack from Labour tho!

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