Bryce Edwards:  Why Faafoi’s lobbying position should be illegal

DR BRYCE EDWARDS,  director of the Democracy Project, looks into Kris Faafoi’s entry into the lobbying business within a few weeks of his retirement as a cabinet minister and why this is allowed in New Zealand whereas it is illegal in many overseas democracies… 

Probably the most corrupt and broken part of the New Zealand political system is the role of corporate lobbyists influencing policy decisions of governments on behalf of vested interests. This is a group of political insiders – usually former politicians, party staffers or senior Beehive officials – who work at the centre of power and then depart with inside knowledge and networks that they can leverage to help corporate clients influence government policy.

It’s known as a “revolving door” in which corporate interests can prosper through having insiders who move backwards and forwards in and out of the Beehive and other positions of influence. It’s a growth industry in Wellington.

The extraordinary thing is New Zealand is unique in having no regulations on this part of the policy process. Corporate lobbyists profit greatly from a “wild west” setting, in a country where Government decisions are often made to benefit the wealthy. Continue reading “Bryce Edwards:  Why Faafoi’s lobbying position should be illegal”

Lessons in public service ethics are praiseworthy – but why link them with the Beehive?

The teaching of public service ethics is admirable. Accordingly we approve the expansion and changes to the Australia and New Zealand School of Government which include a newly created chair in public service ethics and integrity at Victoria University of Wellington.

But it is called the New Zealand Prime Minister’s ANZSOG Chair in Public Sector Ethics and Integrity, a more problematic proposition. Besides being a gob-stopping mouthful, the association of ethics and integrity with politicians – no matter how Right Honourable an incumbent PM might be – is fraught.

Politicians such as Housing Minister Phil Twyford have made no secret of their contempt for some public servants. Questioning Treasury’s estimates around KiwiBuild in the Budget, he said he did not agree with the “questionable assumptions” used and:

“I just think some of these kids in Treasury are fresh out of university and they’re are completely disconnected from reality.”

Continue reading “Lessons in public service ethics are praiseworthy – but why link them with the Beehive?”