Tuesday, 3 July 2018

A Relief

Corruption?  It Just Ain't So

On the 23rd of June, under the heading Corruption and Incompetence we published a piece alleging that NZ Cabinet Minister, David Parker was prima facie guilty of a corrupt act.  It now emerges, however, that he was not.  

Columnist Audrey Young reports:
National had legitimate questions for Parker about the background to an exemption for one development at Mangawhai involving settlement funding of two iwi - and Parker more than answered them, which he did so at length, and with reasoned and passionate argument.

What has emerged is that although the Treasury advised against any exemption for any development, it was done after Parker took a paper to cabinet and sought its approval.  It was done on the grounds of not wanting to create a contemporary Treaty of Waitangi breach through reducing the value of returns on a major investment by iwi using redress given to it by historic breaches.

The issue of general exemption for treaty investments was considered but rejected.  The potential reduction in value was not through the bill threatening the development, because it doesn't, but by reducing the pool of potential wealthy buyers for the top-end residential sites.  Parker refused to listen to any private pleadings of any developer during the course of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill banning foreign buyers from buying New Zealand houses.  [Emphasis, ours.]  He made it clear they should make [the pleadings] to the committee.

When select committee members and cabinet colleague Shane Jones (at the behest of John Key) raised the potential injustice, Parker did the proper thing and took it to cabinet.  Disarmingly, Parker did not defend every aspect of what has occurred.  He conceded in the House it was fair enough that National question whether he and select committee should have looked into details about the level of the iwi involvement in the development before recommending the exemption.
So, Parker was not trying to feather the nest of a few mates via writing the law in their favour.  This is extremely good news.  We apologize unreservedly.  There are few things more disturbing than self-serving corrupt practices by high officials and Government ministers.   We are very pleased with the outcome.

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