Written By: – Date published: 12:21 pm, March 2nd, 2015 – 64 comments
Categories: boycott, clayton cosgrove, corruption, election funding, Ethics, labour, Politics, Unions, workers’ rights – Tags: clayton cosgrove, damien o’connor, stuart nash, talleys, trevor mallard
The release of the candidate donation returns has shown us that the National Party have found a new way to rort the system and give the lie to John Key’s promise of higher standards. However, there are issues for the NZ Labour Party as well. In particular, four MP’s have been shown to have taken money from sources that do not have the interests of the Labour party or, indeed, the majority of Kiwis at heart.
Trevor Mallard received $11,000 from Bob Jones and one of his employees. This is probably the least worrying as Jones is a local resident and clearly didn’t rate the National party candidate for Hutt South. Given how tight the race in the electorate was, it’s hard to say it was unreasonable for Mallard to cash that particular cheque.
Jones also donated to Stuart Nash, who also received a whopping $67,000 from two men who appear to have actively canvassed the possibility of Nash forming a breakaway party. It has been reported that Nash rejected the plan, but it’s clear he didn’t reject the money. Nash is a complicated character, who is rated quite highly by some in the party. Well, rated quite highly by one MP from Napier. To take this money, flirt with the possibility of launching a rival centre party and at the same time try to win the leadership of the Labour Party is truly astonishing cheek.
Clayton Cosgrove took $10,000 from the Vela family, who have business interests in racing and fishing and have been previously accused of using political donations to curry favour. Like Mallard, Cosgrove faced an uphill battle to win his electorate seat, so the incentive to take the money is obvious. He failed anyway, but due to a puzzlingly high list placing made it back into Parliament. Hopefully the list moderation committee won’t make the same mistake again.
The worst donation is one of the smallest. While Talley’s employees are still battling to get their collective employment agreement settled after a year of negotiations, the West Coast Tasman MP Damien O’Connor took $5000 from a company accurately described on the Standard 6 years ago as corporate scum. Tellingly, Talley’s donated to many Tory MP’s, but only one from Labour. It can only be coincidence that three of the recipients, Chester Borrows, Stuart Smith and Damien O’Connor, are members of the primary production select committee.
These donations will be seen by some as big business attempting to buy off or corrupt the Labour MP’s concerned. Certainly all four have been incredibly disloyal to the party in recent years and O’Connor and Nash clearly have nothing in common with the history and values the party holds dear. Happily, Trevor Mallard seems to have abandoned his political fitness regime which involved repeatedly hoisting his foot into his mouth and it’s no small credit to him that he retains Hutt South despite the changing demographics of the seat.
Nash will probably be gone next election anyway. The vote splitting of the Conservative Party candidate and the local issue of council amalgamation aren’t likely to help him next time around.
Clayton Cosgrove? Well, I have to acknowledge he did good work when he was an electorate MP. I’m personally aware of him going out of his way to help and protect a young woman in Kaiapoi who was campaigning against the opening of a party pill shop in the town and had received some particularly nasty threats from the (now deceased) gangster businessman involved. Good on him for that. But it’s time to go, Clayton. I just decided I don’t trust you any more.
And O’Connor? The difficulty for Labour is this right wing buffoon holds one of the few provincial seats left. We’re probably stuck with him. But he absolutely should get his own chequebook out and make a donation to the meat worker’s union equivalent to the tainted Talley’s money. The party can probably tolerate brassneck MP’s but never a blackleg.