BIG NEWS

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ACT party leader wants to charge money to talk about his ministerial role

post updated
Labour is up in arms about Rodney Hide's fundraiser for his party. ACT has advertised a meeting [PDF]where Rodney Hide is going to present his views on a certain topic. The meeting was organised by the local ACT fundraising co-ordinator and the charge is $45 per head.Nothing wrong with that, parties need money.

Yet the topic is local government - and Hide is the Minister of local government. Those attending will want hear what the Minister says, not what the ACT party leader says. Particularly the local government representatives, who have complained to the minister about local government matters, and whose local authority is being investigated by the minister. These representatives have been specifically invited to the meeting by ACT because ACT knows that they want to hear what the Minister has to say. So why did Hide tell reporters this:
I'm not charging as a minister, I'm actually going along to speak as party leader.
So why target, with invitations, those with an interest in Hide's role as a minister? In our democracy, advice and discussion with government ministers are free of charge. So is the $45 charge ethical? Or is it fine for a minister to travel to the meeting as a minster to purportedly speak as a party leader about his ministeral portfolio - provided those attending pay a fee to his political party for the privilege?

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Scoopit!

15 Comments:

Blogger peteremcc said...

Its not a public meeting Dave, its an ACT meeting.

The organiser invited the region's councilors because last time Rodney spoke to a Canterbury ACT meeting, the councilors complained that they WEREN'T invited.

Also, the leaflet you link to clearly shows him as "ACT Leader" on the cover and only once inside the leaflet mentions him as the "ACT Leader and Minister of Local Government".

October 21, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Big News said...

Peter, C- for spinning... (taking into account your hard work). The cover has the Hon Rodney Hide in capitals. Like, he's a minister.The notation as ACT party leader is not as prominent. Inside, the fact that he is the party leader is not separated from his ministerial role. On purpose. I never said on the blog that the meeting was public. Perhaps you read that somewhere else.

October 21, 2009 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Dave, you're dreaming. The party organised the meeting, not the Department. Hell, I'm not even a member of ACT but I can see through this pathetic beat up.

October 21, 2009 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Heine said...

So what you're saying is that an MP who may have a certain responsibility, is NOT allowed to discuss it at a party function to their own members over dinner and a few drinks?

I think you might be surprised but ACT members don't get confused that Rodney is our leader. In fact we are quite proud he is an Honorable Member of the house. Rodney is speaking to his members and telling them about what he is up to.

I know you don't like ACT, given your comments about them in the past - but this is possibly one of your worst and inaccurate posts about him yet. You trying for a job on a red top newspaper?

October 21, 2009 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger peteremcc said...

Just did a quick google search and look what was the first result:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0011/S00323.htm

That would be a speech by the Prime Minister, to a Labour Party Conference, introduced as:

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

KEYNOTE ADDRESS TO
LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE

Not even introduced as “Helen Clark, Labour Leader and Prime Minister”, as Rodney was mentioned in the pamphlet. No, just “Prime Minister”, her ministerial position.

Now, we’re people charged to come to this conference at all?

October 21, 2009 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger peteremcc said...

Also, Dave.

I'm the ACT on Campus Vice President.

Does that mean that whenever I comment on here I'm speaking as the VP?

Or am I allowed to speak in a personal capacity too?

October 21, 2009 at 9:06 PM  
Blogger Big News said...

Adolf,
I specifically said the meeting was organised by the local ACT fundraising co-ordinator. Meh.

Heine,
I like democracy, actually. Other than what I have already posted, I should add that I agree with Rodney Hide who said it was a mistake for ACT to advertise that way and it should not happen again.

October 21, 2009 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Big News said...

Peter, I had a look at the media release - apparently it was released by the NZ Government,not the Labour Party. Rodney's pamphlet was released by a local branch of the ACT party.

October 21, 2009 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Heine said...

I think you'll find Dave that this is hardly Big News - but more kerb crawling :)

This happens for all parties, and bringing it up to try and smite the ACT party isn't helpful at all. Especially as it was innocent.

October 21, 2009 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Big News said...

Ignorant, more than innocent.

Look, the point isn't whether Hide can speak as a minister or as a party leader at a party event, its that Hide purported to speak as party leader at a party function, but his party advertised his ministerial role and targeted non- party people interested in his ministerial responsibilities and said they`d be charged if they turned up to listen at that event. Even Hide admitted that was inappropriate, and he is right.

October 21, 2009 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Swampy said...

If the taxpayer is paying for the Minister to travel to the meeting, then he is speaking in his capacity as a Minister of the Crown.

If the Act party leader wants to speak at a private Act Party meeting, he can pay for his own travel.

October 21, 2009 at 10:31 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Someone should stick an OIA in to Ministerial Services to find out who's paying for the Act contingent's flights...

...oh, wait.

October 21, 2009 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger peteremcc said...

That's my point dave.

It's even worse for Labour to use the government to promote a Party conference.

Presumably Rodney will go using his MP's travel allowance, which he is freely allowed to use for private travel, rather than ministerial.

If you want to discuss getting rid of travel arrangements too, I'll support you, but that's a side issue.

October 22, 2009 at 12:51 AM  
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