The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

NBR:’ Govt ministers will make final call on Westpac contract’

www.nbr.co.nz/article/govt-ministers-will-make-final-call-westpac-contract-key-ck-94855

Govt ministers will make final call on Westpac contract –

Key Government ministers and not Treasury will make the final call on any changes to the Crown’s banking contract, Prime Minister John Key has indicated.

The acknowledgment comes after the Green Party last week raised questions over ministers and their staff receiving corporate hospitality from Westpac, which has held the government’s banking contract since 1989.

Nine ministers confirmed they had accepted hospitality from Westpac in the past year, including box seats at the rugby sevens, while 13 said their staff had accepted similar offers.

Mr Key last week said the Greens did not have any legitimate concerns and the Government had now opened up the contract to competition.

He told reporters Treasury would make the final decision, but today said that decision would be based on advice from the Ministry of Economic Development.

“That recommendation will go to ministers, who are likely to base their decision on the recommendation,” he told Parliament today.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman questioned Mr Key on whether the public should be concerned about ministers receiving corporate hospitality from Westpac, which included Rugby Sevens and rock concert tickets, plus restaurant meals.

Mr Key said he did not like the implication because it was “without foundation”.

“There are well set out guidelines in the Cabinet guidelines.

There is also a pecuniary interests list. The member is simply making accusations to get on the front page of the paper,” he said.

Mr Norman later said in a statement that the Government needed to be clear about whether ministers who received hospitality from Westpac would be signing off the final decision.

“The public also deserve transparency around the amount of hospitality and free gifts corporates give to ministers and their staff,” he said.

Westpac last week said invitations from its corporate hospitality programme were extended to “a broad range of key stakeholders, including members of both sides of the House, without prejudice or expectation”. More by NZPA and NBR staff

__________________________________________________________________

Comments and questions

3 Unfortunately, the Government probably has no choice but to continue to use Westpac as their banker at present. However, the real question is: will the Government allow the fledgling NZ banking industry to develop its skills and capacity in business banking so that it may one day take over some of this work? Anonymous | Tuesday, June 7, 2011 –

___________________________________________________________________

6:47pm reply The government has every choice to move their business to Kiwibank. While no doubt Westpac will be sharp on price, it will contact a profit component in their bid. That profit exits the country in the form of dividends to the parent bank.

Now with Kiwibank, the profits will stay in the country of origin and get recirculated locally. The multiplier effect (elementary economics) of this means Kiwibank can afford to bid lower, and NZ inc would still be better off. I would have thought the choice was obvious.

Perhaps Kiwirail should have thought about this before awarding big contracts to overseas comapnies!! Richard S | Tuesday, June 7, 2011 – 7:38pm

_____________________________________________________________________

reply “Mr Key last week said the Greens did not have any legitimate concerns and the Government had now opened up the contract to competition.

He told reporters Treasury would make the final decision, but today said that decision would be based on advice from the Ministry of Economic Development.

“That recommendation will go to ministers, who are likely to base their decision on the recommendation,” he told Parliament today.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman questioned Mr Key on whether the public should be concerned about ministers receiving corporate hospitality from Westpac, which included Rugby Sevens and rock concert tickets, plus restaurant meals.

Mr Key said he did not like the implication because it was “without foundation”.

“There are well set out guidelines in the Cabinet guidelines. There is also a pecuniary interests list. The member is simply making accusations to get on the front page of the paper,” he said.

Mr Norman later said in a statement that the Government needed to be clear about whether ministers who received hospitality from Westpac would be signing off the final decision.

“The public also deserve transparency around the amount of hospitality and free gifts corporates give to ministers and their staff,” he said.’ __________________________________________________________________

MY COMMENT:

I agree with Russel Norman, and look forward to the Green Party (preferably ALL parties) supporting legislative changes to ensure the following:

A NZ ‘Register of Lobbyists’ and ‘Code of Conduct for Lobbyists’ – as required by most Australian States and Commonwealth Governments:

An enforceable ‘Code of Conduct’ for New Zealand MPs .

How is it that NZ is ‘perceived’ to be the least corrupt country in the world’ (along with Denmark and Singapore according to Transparency International’s 2010 ‘Corruption Perception Index’) – when we lack transparency and accountability in such critical areas?

__________________________________

AUSTRALIAN OVERVIEW: http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/pubs/BN/pol/CodesOfConduct.htm Summary of codes of conduct in Australian parliament, including a comparison with NZ __________________________________

AUSTRALIAN REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTERS OF LOBBYISTS, AND LOBBYISTS ‘CODES OF CONDUCT’ :

Australian Commonwealth Government http://lobbyists.pmc.gov.au/

In 2008 the Australian Government introduced a Lobbying Code of Conduct and established a Register of Lobbyists to ensure that contact between lobbyists and Commonwealth Government representatives is conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparency, integrity and honesty.

Any lobbyist who acts on behalf of third-party clients for the purposes of lobbying Government representatives must be registered on the Register of Lobbyists and must comply with the requirements of the Lobbying Code of Conduct.

The public Register of Lobbyists contains the following information about lobbyists who make representations to Government on behalf of their third-party clients:

the business registration details and trading names of each lobbying entity including, where the business is not a publicly listed company, the names of owners, partners or major shareholders, as applicable; the names and positions of persons employed, contracted or otherwise engaged by the lobbying entity to carry out lobbying activities;

and the names of clients on whose behalf the lobbying entity conducts lobbying activities.

SAMPLE LOBBYIST PROFILE: http://lobbyists.pmc.gov.au/register ” ___________________________________________________________________

Penny Bright https://waterpressure.wordpress.com Penny Bright | Tuesday, June 7, 2011 – 9:05pm

June 7, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Fighting corruption internationally

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: