Ouch, Vernon Small lashes Labour for their lobbying

Vernon Small is tribal Labour. So tribal he even attends concerts in the vineyards of Martinborough with his friends in the Labour party.

So, when he criticises Labour for being upset about being busted for entertaining drug lobbyists, at about the same time as they start attacking the government over drug provisions with Pharmac, then you know they have an optics problem.

Early in the year it hit the mark with its tertiary education policy, a modest $256m new spend for the next term that had multi-generational appeal and helped dispel claims it had cleared the policy decks and left them bare.

But it has also become mired in issues it has judged are populist but which come with a big downside.

The most obvious was leader Andrew Little’s “captain’s call” to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership in line with activists’ views but to the great discomfort of many in his caucus.

More recently there has been its nuanced stance on funding melanoma drug Keytruda, which substitutes politicians’ judgement for experts in an arms-length agency.

Opening that door merely invites in the lobbyists.

Not surprisingly, that sat uneasily with some longstanding Labour insiders who expressed that privately to the media.

Read more »

Who leaked Little’s Big Pharma meeting details?

The spin cycle is currently underway after it was revealed yesterday that Andrew Little has been hosting and enjoying dinner with Big Pharma and, in an amazing coincidence, the drug of one of those Big Pharma companies that attended the soiree with Andrew Little is now being pushed hard by Labour.

Drug company lobbyists were hosted at a special dinner by Labour leader Andrew Little, months before Labour announced its stance to override Pharmac and fund melanoma drug Keytruda.

Labour confirmed the dinner took place, understood to have been in Labour’s parliamentary offices, in September.

Organised by Pharma lobbying group Medicines NZ, the dinner also included representatives from Keytruda makers Merck Sharp and Dohme, Pfizer, Roche, Healthcare Logistics and Sanofi.

Little said he recalled a dinner, but was unsure of the timing.

The Standard’s Greg Presland has blogged about this claiming it was a hit job from Jonathan Coleman’s office….but how can that be?   Read more »

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant – Green Hypocrites Outed

I blogged last week about Green MPs and their blubbing over lobbying. I alluded to there being two MPs who enjoyed the company of a lobbyist and her client at parliament despite the calls from their leader to unleash the disinfecting powers of sunlight.

Yesterday Holly Walker blogged again about lobbyists without any mention of the fact at least two Green MPs enjoy the company of lobbyists from time to time:

International best practice is to have a publically available register of lobbyists so that the public knows everyone – not just those who have a special swipe-card – who is seeking to influence decision makers about what.

If our parliament is really as open and accessible as everyone says, there should be no need for particular individuals to have swipe card access.  Read more »

Will Holly Walker try to do this here?

Holly Walker has a lobby bill in the house at the moment. In the UK lobbyists are under huge pressure as a scandal over their behaviour and that of MPs has erupted.

But will Holly Walker try this here?

The Speaker of the House of Commons has suspended 80 parliamentary passes in the wake of the lobbying scandal exposed by The Daily Telegraph.

Dozens of passes, which allow privileged access to the Houses of Parliament, have been withdrawn after this newspaper disclosed that Patrick Mercer, the Newark MP, was prepared to organise a pass for journalists posing as lobbyists.  Read more »

Some backbone at last

David Cameron has finally seen what John Key still fails to grasp…that unions are the enemy and are in bed with the Labour party. It is therefore best to move to cut off their funding mechanisms to the Labour party. They are no better than shameless lobbyists.

Downing Street was accused of conducting “shabby” politics by Labourafter David Cameron and Nick Clegg took a new anti-sleaze bill announced in response to the lobbying scandal and inserted last-minute plans to clamp down on union funding of election campaigns.

The surprise move was designed to reduce the impact of union support for Labour in the run-up to an election, and came as Clegg said he would introduce a bill to create a statutory register of lobbyists in time for this summer’s parliamentary recess.  Read more »

Watch the Lobbyists…they move first

Julia Gillard and Labor are stuffed in Australia, even the lobbyists have abandoned them. Julia Gillard is becoming Julia No mates.

Political lobby groups have deserted Labor and are flocking to the opposition while preparing for an expected change of government in September.

Labor-aligned firms are downsizing and those more associated with the Coalition are expanding, but even organisations that walk the middle ground have stopped knocking on the government’s door.

”There is nothing in it for us now to be in the government’s ear and in front of ministers and their staff on behalf of our clients,” one lobbying firm executive said.

”They’re not going to be in government much longer so our focus has changed. There is still a little bit of tokenistic representation to Labor, but really we don’t put much effort into it.”

Is Piers Morgan waking up from his coma?

It has been no secret that Piers Morgan is a big opponent of guns and the Second Amendment, but for a fleeting second it almost seems as though the irritable whinger ‘gets it’. Almost.

I’ve had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here, saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government,’ and I’ve always laughed at them,” Morgan said last night. “But, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government. Read more »

Greenpeace still engaging in politics

Greenpeace is trying frantically to get its charitable status back…they even went to great lengths to clan up their website of all political lobbying and brand destruction campaigns they have orchestrated.

But they just couldn’t help themselves with the TPPA negotiations…they are back at it. I just hope someone will inform the Charities Commission of their activities. They even have a political cartoon on the page.


A fund raising idea for Holly Walker

Holly Walker’s lobbying bill is in trouble…but here is an idea for her to consider with fundraising.

The sold-out walking tour began along the Spree River here, within sight of theReichstag’s glass dome. But the group would not visit the historic Parliament building, Checkpoint Charlie or the Brandenburg Gate. About 30 people assembled instead to spend a gray Saturday afternoon in November standing outside office buildings in a cold drizzle.

They were there to follow Timo Lange, 30, dressed all in black, with a hint of stubble on his chin, to learn how influence peddlers ply their trade in the German capital. Mr. Lange is a campaigner for the nonprofit group LobbyControl, which began giving the tours in 2009, to unexpected success for such a seemingly wonky subject.

This year the group has given 144 tours for about 3,400 participants, who pay around $13 (half price for students). The tour’s success reflects an electorate that, by American standards, has a low tolerance for money in politics.

Extension because it was sh*thouse

Holly Walker has announced:

The Green Party is pleased that the Government Administration Committee will take extra time to carefully consider the Lobbying Disclosure Bill.

The committee has been granted a six month extension until July next year before reporting the Bill back to the House. This extension is to allow Ms Walker to develop further options for the committee’s consideration, taking into account the issues raised in submissions.

“This extension means the committee can really give the Bill the time it deserves to ensure that the lobbying disclosure regime is the best it can be,” said Ms Walker.

“I will prepare some options for the committee to consider to ensure we work towards a lobbying disclosure regime appropriate for New Zealand’s political context.

Oh come on, despite all the offers to help, Walker is wasting Parliament’s time for what my sources tell me will be an complete re-write of the Bill.  Select Committees are supposed to be for tweaking and reviewing a Bill not bending over backward to do a job of an incompetent MP.

Might I suggest some questions the Gallery should be asking:

  • Will Holly Walker ensure that there is another round of public submissions on the new “redrafted” Bill?
  • Will Holly Walker take up any of the offers from more qualified people to help redraft the Bill or will she continue the “pedestrian MP knows best” attitude?
  • Will Holly Walker commit to not choosing favoured/left-wing submitters and blocking oral submissions she does not like?