Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Closing the revolving door?

Last week we learned that former Minister Kris Faafoi had moved straight into lobbying, putting him in a position to exploit information learned as a Minister for private gain. Other countries - even corrupt Australia - ban this. And now the National Party has come out in support of such a ban here:

The National Party wants to stop former ministers who have just quit Parliament from being able to immediately become political lobbyists.


It is not unusual for former MPs and ministers to move into consulting after leaving politics, but many countries have what's called a "cooling off" period.

Australia makes its former decision-makers wait 18 months before they can start lobbying, while Canada has a five-year rule.

The National Party wants to see such a policy introduced here, although Brown didn't have a preference for how long the waiting time should be.

Weirdly though, they're wanting the government to lead on this. Instead, they should be offering a member's bill. It wouldn't be hard - take the definition of lobbying from the 2013 Lobbying Disclosure Bill, the prohibition clause from the Australian or Canadian legislation, maybe a regulation-making power to designate additional categories other than Ministers, Parliamentary Undersecretaries, and public service chief executives as being subject to the ban, and there you have it. And that would both show us what National wants, and provide a spur for the government to actually act (in that if they don't, the bill might eventually be drawn - a tactic which has proved successful on electoral law). And if they don't do this, well, we can draw our own conclusions about how unhappy National really is with cosyism.