Charging for help

November 13th, 2011 at 8:14 am by David Farrar

David Fisher at HoS reports:

A key aide to a Government minister asked for money in an email that also discussed putting “political pressure” on an issue.

Maori Affairs Minister ’ electorate manager wrote to a local property owner that he wanted money, then spoke of contacting a Government minister.

It led to a call for police to become involved after details were passed to Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

Cooper named Hide as one of the people he planned to write to as part of a campaign of “political pressure”.

“I’ve never seen a more serious situation with anyone employed by ,” Hide said.

I agree. If Cooper was an MP, he could be facing the sort of issues that Taito Philip Field did. As a parliamentary staffer his actions may not be illegal, but they certainly are grossly unethical. You do not and should not charge money for work you do, unless it is entirely in your own time and your own resources, and has nothing to do with your parliamentary job.

The Parliamentary Service should conduct an inquiry, regardless of the wishes of the MP he works for. They are the employer.

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10 Responses to “Charging for help”

  1. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    It may be a police matter as well. I am unsure of the law on a Government official personally requesting money to perform a service.

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  2. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    Mr Cooper is a maori.

    He can, by definition, do no wrong.

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  3. AG (1,827 comments) says:

    @tvb…

    Crimes Act 1961
    “105 Corruption and bribery of official
    (1) Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him in his official capacity.”

    No definition of “official” in the Act … so not clear if it would cover an electorate manager paid by parliamentary services. Alternatively, if Mr Cooper got $3000 and then did nothing, this could be “Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception” under s.240.

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  4. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    It never stopped Labour charging $10,000 per table at ‘functions’ to get an audience with ministers.

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  5. Other_Andy (2,676 comments) says:

    Margaret Mutu or Anette Sykes will have something to say about this.
    Their ‘interpretation’ of Te Tiriti o Waitangi will obviously exempt Mr Cooper from prosecution or, if this fails, they will argue that New Zealand law has no jurisdiction in this case as it involves Tangata Whenua.

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  6. Griff (7,715 comments) says:

    This is the Tangata Whenua way?

    arrest them all. jail for the MP down.

    Or savage justice UTU Nice bit of rape slaughter Infanticide and cannibalism should fix the of the rest of us New Zealanders
    “mana”

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  7. DrDr (114 comments) says:

    Sharples needs to distance himself from this guy and cooperate fully with the police. If he doesn’t, then he will lose any credibility and will be a stain on the next Govt. Corruption of this kind has no place in our political system or NZ society in general.

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  8. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    DrDr (75) Says:
    November 13th, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Sharples needs to distance himself from this guy and cooperate fully with the police. If he doesn’t, then he will lose any credibility and will be a stain on the next Govt. Corruption of this kind has no place in our political system or NZ society in general.

    Nah, normal practice. Have you not needed something the brown fella’s have to consent too.

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  9. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    Why the excitement, it’s just a bit of koha, common as mud if you are taking anything up for consent that requires tangata whenua consent. A bit blatant maybe, but just business as usual.

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  10. maigret (1 comment) says:

    If Cooper took money for arranging the sale of the property he must be licensed as a real estate agent or he’s broken the law. There is a Martin Rees Cooper listed on the REAA register – is it the same guy? Is Parliamentary Services paying someone who is moonlighting at Harcourts in Milford?

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