Green killjoys bitter over Parliamentary rugby team

What a bunch of killjoys the Greens are opposing the traditional Parliamentary rugby tour.

The Greens are objecting to a corporate-sponsored trip for MPs to play in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup.

Corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, his colleague Commerce minister Paul Goldsmith and NZ First leader Winston Peters are among those who will skip parliamentary sessions in lieu of the September junket.

They’ll also be at the Rugby World Cup, which runs alongside the tournament.

Also on the team are Labour’s Damien O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis, and National’s Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell.

“If there are corporate lobbyists going, they have privileged access to ministers,” Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says.

It is not dissimilar to the Cabinet Club approach where there are select few who get to spend extended time with ministers and MPs.

“This isn’t the first time this has been raised.”

She added: “This is a trip to the Rugby World Cup, there is no point try to pretend that’s not what it is. And the fact that it has now been sanctioned as a parliamentary trip raises real concerns.”

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Helen Clark called for an inquiry into the Parliamentary rugby team after a trip to France. ??

She questioned if a team of politicians should have sponsorship from the likes of Air NZ, Lion Nathan, Visa, Adidas and McDonalds – and said it should be considered a gift.

MPs are required to declare any gifts on a register of pecuniary interests.

Parliament’s business committee gave leave for the absence from September 10 – 23, which means the MPs will be in England for the opening, but will miss the October 31st final.

It’s understood flights and accommodation will be funded by corporate sponsorship.

A spokesman for Parliament’s Speaker David Carter – who chairs the committee – confirmed leave was granted. “Mr Speaker is not aware of any taxpayer fund going into that,” he added.

Labour’s chief whip Chris Hipkins said he was “reasonably relaxed” about MPs taking time off.

“I think there is value in the rugby exchange. We are the World Cup holders, so we have to defend our world cup, and timing isn’t really dictated by the sitting schedule. It’s dictated by the actual World Cup.”

MPs – who earn upwards of $156,000 a year – will miss four sitting days of Parliament during the trip.

The Parliamentary Sports Trust, which is sponsored by a number of corporates, is paying for the trip.

Sounds like a good bunch of blokes to go on tour with but the Greens are upset when there isn’t even any taxpayer money involved in this with the team sponsored by corporates.

I think the Greens are just upset that none of their panty-waist members could make the team and they think they are missing out and therefore everyone should miss out.

The second issue will be that this is a competitive sport where there are winners and losers, and worse a score is kept. The Greens oppose all that sort of nonsense preferring a everyone is a winner approach to everything…which is strange behaviour from a bunch?of lunatic losers.

You maybe sure that if there was a parliamentary Morris Dancing Team or Tiddlywinks Team they’d be into that boots with bells and all.

I note they shilled this story through Andrea Vance who is currently in the UK.


– Fairfax