Holly Walker

Who gets the access to parliament

by Holly Walker

Yesterday, the Speaker released an updated list of the lobbyists that have swipe-card access to parliament.

This list has more than doubled in the past year, which is a clear demonstration of the growing influence of lobbyists.

Those on the list include three former ministerial staffers (two from John Key’s office and one from Steven Joyce’s). Many come from government relations firms, and others represent companies, including Anadarko and Fonterra.

International best practice is to have a publically available register of lobbyists so that the public knows everyone – not just those who have a special swipe-card – who is seeking to influence decision makers about what.

If our parliament is really as open and accessible as everyone says, there should be no need for particular individuals to have swipe card access.

This list didn’t used to be public – former Speaker Lockwood Smith decided to disclose the list last year at the time that my lobbying disclosure bill passed its first reading in Parliament.

It’s great for transparency’s sake that new Speaker David Carter has decided to continue with this disclosure, but it does again raise the question about why some people get privileged access to parliament and decision makers, and why we don’t have broader public disclosure of lobbying activity in New Zealand.

Approved visitor list 2012:

  • Nicholas Albrecht (Vector)
  • Tim Clarke (Russell McVeagh)
  • Peter Conway (Council Trade Unions)
  • Daniel Fielding (Minter Ellison Rudd Watts)
  • Charles Finny (Saunders Unsworth)
  • Helen Kelly (Council Trade Unions)
  • Tony O’Brien (Sky)
  • Phil O’Reilly (Business New Zealand)
  • Leigh Pearson (LAPearson)
  • Barrie Saunders (Saunders Unsworth)
  • Mark Unsworth (Saunders Unsworth)
  • Jordan Williams (Franks & Ogilvie)

Additions in 2013:

  • Scott Campbell (SenateSHJ)
  • John Collyns (Retirement Villages Association)
  • Phil de Joux (Air New Zealand)
  • Connor English (Federated Farmers)
  • Anita Ferguson (Anadarko)
  • James McDonald (Japanz Consulting Services)
  • Ryan Malone (Dart Government Relations)
  • Alice Patrick (Arahia Associates)
  • Andy Rigg (Dart Government Relations)
  • James Sleep (Food and Service Workers’ Union)
  • Mike Smith (Independent contractor)
  • Martin Taylor (NZ Aged Care Association)
  • Nicola Willis (Fonterra)

 

Published in Parliament by Holly Walker on Tue, June 18th, 2013   

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