Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cash for honours

Meanwhile, I'm wondering how this got so little media attention: last Wednesday, in the General Debate, Chris Hipkins outright accused National of selling honours:

This is a Government that has one rule for itself and another rule for everybody else. It is a Government that is interested only in furthering the interests of its mates and those close to it. Look, for example, at the number of National Party donors who have been given honours under this Government. Tony Astle—60 grand to the National Party was enough to make him an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Chris Parkin gave $66,000 to the National Party, and that made him a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Sir Graeme Douglas—twenty-five grand gave him an insignia of the Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Sir William Gallagher—$42,000 got him a knighthood. Lady Diana Isaac—$20,000 made her an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. [Interruption] Oh, there is old “Maestro”, Jonathan Coleman, piping up at the perfect time, of course, because we know that Garth Barfoot gave him $5,000 for his campaign and he got made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in exchange for that.
The only mention of this I can find in the media is one small report on Newstalk ZB. Which is odd, given how explosive this allegation is (and how easily it can be checked by looking at the data). Party donation returns are public. Honours lists are public. Surely its not that hard to check the two for correlations? Or would they rather leave it to bloggers?

Meanwhile, Labour has its own dirty history here. But I hope we can take it from Hipkins' speech that there will be no more honours handed out to Labour party donors in future, and that donations from those who have received honours while Labour is in power will be refused for the sake of political propriety.