Over the weekend, the Greens proposed greater Ministerial transparency, with quarterly public declarations of meetings, overseas travel, gifts and hospitality. Its a great idea, which would help restore confidence in our system of government. So naturally, John Key opposes it:
Prime Minister John Key has dismissed the Greens' call for full disclosure of ministerial meetings, saying the information could already be gained through official channels.
"But nothing in the register that Metiria Turei is talking about would change anything.
"We already have the Official Information Act, you already have huge capacity through [the register of] pecuniary interests for people to register and for people to have access to information."
But the Register of Pecuniary Interests is released once a year, and doesn't capture meetings or gifts given. As for the OIA, this covers only information held in a Ministerial role; Ministers routinely refuse to release information on meetings with lobbyists and donors, pulling the same "its a private meeting" scam that Judith Collins has used over Oravida. In other words, Key's proposed "solutions" aren't, and he knows it.
Judith Collins is this very minute given us a public example of how there's no such thing as a "private" meeting by a public official. We need to take that lesson to heart, put our Ministers' corrupt and cozy relationships with lobbyists, donors and cronies under the microscope, and clean up our political system. Otherwise we'll keep seeing Ministers doing favours for people, abusing public office for private gain. And that is something we simply should not accept.