Friday, May 31, 2024

Naked corruption

There's been all sorts of corruption swirling around the government's Muldoonist fast-track law, with various donors invited to apply. And now we have another case, with a donor demanding specific amendments to help it in a legal dispute:

A NZ First donor wants Fast Track legislation to free up permanently protected land for quarrying.

J Swap, a company involved in quarrying, wants land protected under QEII covenants to be available to quarry. It donated $11,000 to NZ First in December, after the coalition was formed.

It also gave $5000 to NZ First's Shane Jones in August 2023 and $3000 to National's David MacLeod in September 2023.

One of J Swap's related companies is currently involved in a long-running court case trying to pry open (permanently protected) QEII covenanted land for a quarry. They've lost every round. But if the select committee chair they donated to approves their amendments, then three Ministers, including one they donated to, can solve that problem for them. Of course, interfering with QEII covenants would be a massive government over-reach - its private property, and you'd think ACT would have something to say about that. But this company apparently thinks its possible, if you pay NZ First enough money.

This entire incident shows the problem with fast-track in a nutshell. Its just a nexus for corruption, in law-making, and in decision-making. We should throw it in the garbage bin. And if we don't, well, we're clearly going to need a specialist Anti-Corruption Commission to sort out the resulting mess.