Shaw says no to corporate hospitality

"Political power should not be for sale," James Shaw says. Greens pledge to release diaries every three months.

The days of long lunches and corporate boxes at big sporting occasions are over for Green Party ministers, MPs and their staff.

Greens co-leader James Shaw has announced from today (Saturday) they will no longer accept corporate hospitality.

As well, he says all Green Party ministers will release their ministerial diaries every three months to show who they have met and why.

Mr Shaw told the party’s summer policy conference in Napier there was no reason why big, wealthy corporates should get better access to politicians than those organisations who could not afford to shout free tickets to a rugby match or a corporate box at the tennis.

“These organisations aren’t shouting the corporate box or the tickets or the dinner out of the goodness of their hearts.

“They are doing it because they want to know there is someone in Parliament or the Beehive who’s looking out for their interests.”

Mr Shaw says they are not usually organisations who advocate for the homeless or single mums, or groups fighting to protect the environment.

“They are usually deep-pocketed corporates, or lobbyists acting on their behalf, who have a financial interest in preserving the status quo …

“It is quite simply the purchasing of political power. Well, I’m here to say that political power should not be for sale.”

As well, Mr Shaw, Women’s Minister Julie Anne Genter, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and parliamentary under-secretary Jan Logie will soon start making public their diaries every quarter. Similar disclosure systems already exist in the UK and some Australian state parliaments.

“At times it feels as if access to politicians, particularly ministers, is the grease that keeps Wellington’s wheels rolling. Lobbyists, chief executives, NGOs and individuals want to be able to walk into any minister’s office at any given time and push their case or cause.

“Well, we think it’s about time New Zealanders know who is in those meetings and why,” he says.

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