Monday, June 14, 2021

Government for sale again

When the National Party ran a "Cabinet Club", selling personal access to Cabinet Ministers in exchange for large donations, I called it Government for Sale. Now the Labour party is doing the same thing:

The Labour Party is selling tickets to a “business conference" featuring the prime minister and finance minister for more than $2000 apiece.

An invite to the “Labour Party Business Conference” was emailed out by Labour Party president Claire Szabo to businesses in recent days, with tickets costing $1795 plus GST.

Those who attend the conference are promised “interactive” policy sessions with Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson, Environment Minister David Parker, Transport Minister Michael Wood, and Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta, as well as “networking drinks” at the end of the day.

These high-powered ministers are all listed as the Labour Party spokespeople for these roles, rather than as ministers. This keeps the invite and the event within the rules set out in the Cabinet manual for such party fundraisers.

Those rules were of course written by politicians, for politicians, so playing the hat game and claiming "its within the rules" is not even worth the usual eye-roll. The reality of the situation is that the only reason people are willing to pay so much to speak with them is that they are Ministers, and that Labour is selling access, just like National did. The only difference is that they're cheaper: two thousand dollars instead of ten.