Who gets the access to parliament

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)


10 Comments Posted

  1. Mike Smith may be a writer for The Standard which makes more sense to me; freelance writer would be an independent contractor.

  2. what has MIke Smith got to do with this article?

    I only asked about him because the list doesn’t indicate who he represents, whereas for most of the others it’s possible to at least vaguely guess what interests they might be trying to represent. Not to suggest that knowing someone’s direct employer necessarily helps much, as @Steven noted. It doesn’t.

    I’m looking forward to the Select Committee Report for Holly Walker’s Bill when it’s released late next month.

  3. So what does this mean, in reality ? maybe the speaker (Key-party) is sanctioning access only to those who fit their agenda ?

    Surely this should be controlled by a more ‘neutral’ person, without such obvious bias ?


  4. come to think about this more…most dirty or secret deals were not formed/made inside the parliament; those govt officials can be lobbied many other places other then parliament…
    what’s on the list can be the least we need to worry about,,,
    Can we all apply for this special card ? haha!

  5. gosh quite a few national govt hired bouncers here…
    what has MIke Smith got to do with this article?

    Holly I think we all know “Why” – answers to those questions you raised…except for some people who play dumb and claimed that how rightful/innocent and harmless it is…

  6. For what it’s worth, it may also be worth noting that James Sleep’s access card (one of the new ones this year) is not for lobbying, but rather for his (now former) role as the SFWU organiser responsible for SFWU members amongst parliamentary staff.

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