Geddis on Cosgrove

July 8th, 2012 at 10:56 am by David Farrar

blogs on the Clayton Cosgrove issue at Pundit:

First of all, no-one is accusing Cosgrove of accepting a bribe from Independent Fisheries – at least, they are not doing so out loud. Both Cosgrove and the company adamently deny there was any connection between his introduction of a members bill that would financially help the company (as well as a number of other constituents) and its later decision to donate money to his campaign. Not only is this most probably true in fact, the dual denial means that there is no way of proving it to be false.

Personally I don’t think that there was a pre-condition on the donation.

Second, Cosgrove quite rightly declared the $17,500 in donations to the Electoral Commission – from which we all then were able to find out about the relationship a couple of months ago. True, this action tells against any corrupt relationship existing in fact; you’d have to be a pretty silly (or incredibly brazen) person to openly tell the world that you’ve accepted a chunk of money which was paid to you in exchange for trying to get a change in the law. But the point of declaring donations is to let us make those sorts of judgments about what may or may not have been the motives on each side – if we were to say that simply declaring a donation automatically means that, ipso facto, there cannot be a corrupt intent behind it, then that would have a rather perverting effect on the disclosure regime!

Exactly – this is why we have transparency – so people can judge for themselves if they think there is a connection between donations and (for example) specific policies or acts.

Which brings us once again to the third level of protection. What does the decision to accept a considerable donation from a long-term friend whom you have, in your official capacity as an MP, taken steps to help in a quite significant fashion say about Cosgrove’s internal sense of political morality? By this I mean, what does it say about his ability to scrutinise not only his own motives for taking the money, but also understand how taking that money would look to others? And here I mean not those political enemies who would like to see him taken down, but rather the “average voter” who is assessing the behaviour of her or his political masters? Is it a “good look” to them for an MP to be in this sort of relationship, even if all involve protest the purist of motives?

This is the point I made yesterday. Wise MPs do not lobby on behalf of mates, do not push private legislation that provides significant financial benefits to their mates, and do not then accept large donations from a mate whose financial interests would have benefited from your advocacy.

One last point. I note that Cosgrove is alleging that this story has been “shopped around” by Gerry Brownlee in an effort to distract from a court case being brought by Independent Fisheries against his use of CERA powers to rezone their land. That may well be true. And that case also may well reveal what some of us said from the outset – giving Brownlee or any other Minister extensive powers to override existing property rights and legal processes in order to “help Canterbury” carries considerable risks of their misuse.

However, the motives for drawing attention to Cosgrove’s relationship with Independent Fisheries do not touch on its basic rightness or wrongness. Or, to put it another way, the problem isn’t so much that people are noticing the donation to Cosgrove, but rather that the donation was given and accepted in the first place.

It shows how defensive Cosgrove is on this issue, that he is trying to shift attention by alleging that the story has been shopped around by National. The Nation have confirmed that they have had no contact with Gerry Brownlee’s office on this, and the first I know what the story was about was watching The Nation.

The ironic thing is there is an MP who is known to do smear campaigns about donations – even when there haven’t been any. That MP may be behind this “smear campaign” also. It is a Mr . Back in June 2008 he said:

On June 3, Mr Cosgrove received a letter from a member of the Institute which indicates that deals have been done between some senior industry members and the National Party to wind back this consumer protection legislation. “The letter said the REINZ president Murray Cleland recently told members at a regional AGM that if the National Party won the election it is likely to change the legislation to suit the Institute,” he said.

Mr Cosgrove said this raises serious questions over what deals have been done. “The National Party has confirmed it has met with REINZ representatives so now it needs to come clean on when this happened, who was present and what promises were made. National should tell us if any election campaign funds have been solicited or received by the Party, its MPs and/or its candidate, and whether any contributions have been made by REINZ and/or its member companies,” he said.

So when National advocated something, Clayton went out there and effectively alleged they were doing it due to donations from REINZ or its members (something that in fact was not true – he just made it up, and posed it as a question), while in this case the donation is a matter of record.

But to get this clear, the media asking Clayton questions about a donation from a property company which would have received huge financial benefits from legislation he proposed is a smear campaign, but him alleging National is in the pocket of the real estate industry (whom did not donate to National) is not a smear campaign. It is only wrong if it is not Labour doing it.

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39 Responses to “Geddis on Cosgrove”

  1. Paulus (2,490 comments) says:

    Usual Labour hypocrisy – when found out.

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  2. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    This is the man who, when a Minister, “lost” THREE lots of baggage while travelling internationally…which of course led to three insurance claims for complete new outfits – suits, shirts, ties and shoes – so as to complete his ministerial business. How likely is it that a minister – travelling business class with priority treatment and an entourage – would lose his luggage not once, not twice, but three times?

    Parliament would be a much better place without the nasty little bastard.

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  3. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    watching cosgroves’ ever-escalating/serial attacks-as-best-means-of-defence performance on ‘the nation’..

    ..the word that came to mind was ..hubris…

    phillip ure whoar.co.nz

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  4. Leaping Jimmy (15,912 comments) says:

    Hoisted by his own petard. Like I said on GD, I’m looking forward to him announcing his resignation.

    He’s always been a vicious, nasty, spite-filled little man, with no brains and no imagination. No wonder he’s done well in the Liarbore party but time to move on, Clayton. No more taxpayer-funded room and board for you, little man. At least till Liarbore get elected and you pick up a few quango’s in return for your “service.”

    Honestly how profoundly stupid would you have to be to do what Cosgrove has done in:
    a) accepting it and
    b) preparing a member’s bill on that subject.

    Did he seriously think it would never occur to anyone to connect the dots? What a moron.

    In terms of what happens next it’s a shame the Sunday media aren’t full of it on the front page. If this had been a National MP I guarantee they would have been screaming, as would Liarbore and the Gweens. But instead it’s relatively low key isn’t it. Let’s see what happens next, shall we. A demonstration of clear media bias is once again, in the offing.

    This is the man who, when a Minister, “lost” THREE lots of baggage while travelling internationally…which of course led to three insurance claims…

    Let me guess: London, Rome, Paris?

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  5. F E Smith (3,301 comments) says:

    you’d have to be a pretty silly (or incredibly brazen) person to openly tell the world that you’ve accepted a chunk of money which was paid to you in exchange for trying to get a change in the law.

    Then why do lefties accuse the right of it all of the time? So much of the bitterness from the left is about ‘big business’ ‘buying’ the votes of non-left politicians through their support.  Apparently it has nothing to do with businessmen liking the policies of the people they donate to, it is all about ‘buying’ power.

    Seems like a chicken coming home to roost, is all.

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  6. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Things that Cosgrove could have done that would have avoided him becoming Phillip Field version 2:

    1. When the developer offered him a huge donation, Cosgrove could have declined it. He could have said “It won’t look good since I’ve done you a legislative favour recently… I don’t want to look corrupt”.

    2. When the developer asked him to change the law to favour their interests, Cosgrove could have declined to help. He could have said “This won’t look good since we’re friends… Why not talk to another local MP who can evaluate your proposal in a less biased manner, or maybe an MP from a different part of the country so they can evaluate the bigger issues”.

    But imagine the fuss if National had proposed a law change that would allow people (and you know they’re going to be low income people) to live in unhealthy conditions near to an airport, and taken away their right to complain.

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  7. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    Kind of amusing that the Bill was to do with restricting what an airport can do…drafted by a man who seems to have such bad luck traveling through them..

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  8. Leaping Jimmy (15,912 comments) says:

    Seriously David, do you recall which cities he “lost” them in?

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  9. Manolo (13,316 comments) says:

    Plughead Cosgrove is a man of little scruples and a compulsive liar (virtues of any good member of the Labour Party.)

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  10. Liberty (233 comments) says:

    Cosgrove was only being very helpful to a friend.
    So was Nick Smith.
    So why hasn’t Cosgrove resigned?
    He won’t because Labour take MPs don’t take responsibility for their actions.
    In fact when was the last time did a labour MP resigned because he/she stuffed up.
    Possibly Colin Moyle ?

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  11. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    LJ: I am not sure…one was on a trip to Canada I think…

    Seriously, we should do a little poll here…restricted of necessity to those who travel internationally a bit…Who has ever lost their luggage while in transit? Who more than once? thrice?

    I have been travelling internationally since 1976, and I have lost my luggage once, on the way back to NZ from Europe in 1978. Three trips to the US since; about 50 trips to Tonga…never lost any luggage.

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  12. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    ..the word that came to mind was .. wanker

    Lost luggage once since 1979 , that was in Bali and the airline found after 2 days.

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  13. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,787 comments) says:

    I recall an Ayrab living on the North Shore some ten years ago who was even dumber than Cosgrove.

    He lost his ‘luggage’ (which never existed) three times at the same airport, on the same trip. He had three sets of travel insurance with three different companies and he managed to bulldoze/bamboozle Lufthansa into giving him a ‘lost luggage’ certificate.

    On his return to New Zild he lodged three claims, for about $10k each. The poor bastard didn’t realise the insurers all used the same re-insurer. For his effort he received a nice holiday over the winter months at in government owned resort at Waikeria.

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  14. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    DG: For 15 years I flew on average of well over 100 international flights a year, consulting. Add to that family holidays. Majority of my flights were business class. Was Gold Elite for 16 years, still gold now and about to go back to GE again. Was equivalent with Qantas as well. Lots and lots and lots of flights. At one stage I was doing the CHC Singapore run every week for a year – the various crew all knew me by my first name.

    Ive lost bags twice. Qantas to Darwin. For 6 hours. Returned, all intact, with huge apologies from the airline. Wellington to Auckland, Air NZ, for 4 hours, taxied to my hotel. Huge apologies.

    Ive never ever lost anything for good. Ever. And the same for every single person Ive ever traveled with.

    Cosgrove is the most unlucky traveler ever in the history of human travel…

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  15. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    Hmmo: Very good! I would venture to suggest your total air miles would well exceed Plughead’s…isnt it fascinating to compare your very different experiences?

    As I said, the one time his nasty little mouth clapped shut was when he was sledged about this matter…

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  16. metcalph (1,359 comments) says:

    In addition to the lost luggage, Clayton Cosgrove also used his ministerial credit card to pay for… wait for it… hair care products.

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  17. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    I couldn’t possibly comment DG. Given how unlucky he is, Im glad Ive never been on a plane with him. :)

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  18. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    Hmmo: No indeed! He would clear the Koru lounge faster than a Muslim in a jabala…

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  19. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    Merely observational whilst we are on the subject: its often been a point of note for me that the MP’s who ‘get the most’ out of their koru membership are those of the left. Those tireless defenders of the worker seem to love the freebies on offer so very much.

    The scramble when the cocktail pies used to come out at the Auckland domestic koru on a Friday evening was always fun to watch, the feral side of a few made us laugh our heads off.

    That and seeing Mr Tiny Horamia out buying dinner for his mates and ‘far-now’ nearly every single night…

    But I digress…

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  20. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    hmmo: It’s not just the Koru lounge mate! In my short time there I was astounded how many “fact finding” trips overseas taken by opposition members…always seemed to be looking for facts in interesting place….was it Cairo or Libya Dyson and her husband went to? She got embarrassed into paying the costs back…

    Then I recall running across Andrew Little a couple of times at the airport…while he was then the champion of the workers, it was always Corporate Cabs for Andrew…never the hungry looking chap in a turban driving a toyota…

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  21. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    I used to use “Kiwi Cabs” in Wellington. Always nice guys, generally immigrants, good for a conversation on the way to the airport. I suspect they would decline the likes of Andrew Little, just like my electorate did.

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  22. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    Piggy little eyes, sanctimonious arrogance, thin intelligence characterized by cunning rather then wisdom, drawn tight distrusting lips, grasping piggy hands. Plughead cosgrove, personifying a certain breed of Labour MP since he was admitted to the hypocrite party ages ago.

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  23. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    hmmo: Yes, I was a customer of Kiwi cabs during my time as an MP. Excellent service, always good conversationalists, even though English was their second language…Their kids will all be well qualified high earning professionals…

    Up and comer: You’ve clearly actually met Cosgrove then…even his mates in Labour didn’t have much time for him…Don’t expect any spirited defence from Shearer if the story gets legs….

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  24. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    Hey guys – what a petty and mean spirited set of comments on this thread. Which, left or right, salivates more about the delights of the Koru Club? Get a life!

    There is always going to be a fine margin between “donations” and “rewards.” Just accept that. And the fact that MPs are MPs doesn’t prevent them having friends.

    My sense is that the public want their elected representatives to get on with the job. Few are interested interested in marginal issues and implied character asassination like this.

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  25. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    DG 1:04. Lots of international travel over 20 years. Europe, Asia, USA, South America in a mix of classes (Econ. Biz and 1st) and over (I’m guessing) 10-15 different airlines. I’ve never had a permanent loss of luggage. Delayed once between Milan and Rome with 7 hour courier to hotel. Case missed onward connection London to LA are arrived 4 hrs later, again couriered to hotel. If Cosgrove ‘lost’ luggage three time on the same trip then I’m 99.999% certain he guilty of theft.

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  26. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Orewa1

    Mean spirited ah ,what , hello naif boy your comment is pathetic, rather like Cosgrove.

    The chances of loosing your luggage three times like Cosgrove did are so miniscule he is more likely to win Powerball every week until Xmas.

    And if you read the above interview with basic comprehension skills you will see he has some serious questions to answer and I believe these will be addressed on Tuesday the 19th or whenever the House sits again.

    It just that people here are too polite to say he looks like a common fucking crook.

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  27. Leaping Jimmy (15,912 comments) says:

    That and seeing Mr Tiny Horamia out buying dinner for his mates and ‘far-now’ nearly every single night…

    But I digress…

    Sometime later, in an unrelated incident, the very same issue surfaces and lo and behold, the conservative saints, humanitarians, call them what you will, say the following…

    It just that people here are too polite to say he looks like a common fucking crook.

    See, Orewa1?

    Frankly, I’ve never understood how anyone with a conscience could ever vote left. I mean how totally fucked in the head would you have to be, both spiritually and mentally, to even contemplate such a move, let alone actually make it.

    You’d have to be completely mental, wouldn’t you, Orewa1.

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  28. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    As a matter of fact, Leaping Jimmy, I generally vote right.

    But that does not remove my right to express a view – either about politicans of any persuasion, or about sad, negative people who occasionally use the anonymity of outlets like Kiwiblog to vent excessively vitriolic and mean-spirited dogma.

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  29. Reid (15,912 comments) says:

    Yeah sorry orewa1, that sounds incredibly churlish, doesn’t it. My apologies.

    (Formerly Leaping Jimmy).

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  30. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    orewa, I take your point. Problem is, I know a number of current and ex MP’s, of all colours and persuasions. I have a lifelong friend who for many years was part of the DPS, and through other business contacts, Ive heard the stories that emanate from Wellington.

    There are many I respect quite a lot. JK is one of them. For lots of reasons, quite a few public and one in particular I will not go into, as that would breach his and his wifes trust, and I respect them both too much to do that. He is a man of honour, and Im old enough and raised proper enough to respect that.

    There are others for whom I hold nothing but the deepest contempt. Every so often I let that contempt slip out on here, and elsewhere, but I would never ever name and shame. For me, its up to them whether they sleep well at night, and if they had half a decent set of morals, they wouldnt, but then they dont.

    Who knows, maybe in their dotage it might sink in. Unlikely. Twice Ive called them on it to their face, and both times theyve slunk away with their tail between their legs, the curs that they are, as my father would say :)

    Frankly, I dont give a shit. Its petty, and if they feel like big men and women becuase of what they do, good for them.

    There is a significant body of men and women who see what they do, and likewise, hold them in utter contempt.

    Lose your luggage 3 times? Sorry, thats lol funny. Seriously, who do you think youre fooling Cosgrove? Im surprised J thinks thats acceptable to be honest.

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  31. Manolo (13,316 comments) says:

    Shedding nicknames, eh Leaping Jimmy? :-)

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  32. David Garrett (6,309 comments) says:

    hmmo: who’s “J” ?

    Just to clarify, it wasnt three times on the same trip…it was three different trips…each one funnily enough at a stage which required him to claim a new suit and all accessories from his insurance…

    Any mention of that in the MSM?

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  33. mister nui (961 comments) says:

    David Garrett, that is interesting about Cosgrove “losing” his baggage.

    I will bet I have done a shitload lore travelling than him, I probably do more in a year than he has done in his entire life. Anyway, I have never lost my baggage ever, yes I have had it delayed a number of times, but even so, my guess would be that my baggage being delayed would equate to >0.5% of flights. I also travel frequently to places that most people have never heard of or even know exist, some real shitholes that take a number of wild and wonderful flights to get to, encountering some thieving bastards on the way.

    I remember one time, in a shitty West African country, thinking my luggage hadn’t turned up, so started wandering over to the heli lounge and on the way bumped into this native bastard with my luggage in tow! That was the nearest I’ve ever coming to losing it.

    So, I am with you that Cosgrove has never lost an ounce of luggage. Maybe it is something for his insurance company to investigate – he could then spend Christmas with Philip Field…..

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  34. Elaycee (4,286 comments) says:

    Like many others here, I travel a lot.

    Only time I can recall ‘lost’ luggage was several years ago when my overnight bag didn’t make it to the AKL carousel from Wellington on the Air NZ red eye. But it was delivered to the hotel a few hours later – in the meantime I was called and updated by the airline.

    But losing luggage three times? What a terrible coincidence…. I certainly wouldn’t want Clayton buying my Lotto tickets!

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  35. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    DG, not jesus, trust me on this :)

    J will remain J, and thats all Im saying. Clayton has already read this, and he knows exactly who Im talking about. And I would hasten to add, this is not even slightly to do with me lording it over him or anyone. But if they think they operate in the shadows, they are very very wrong.

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  36. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    mister nui, sounds like weve been to some similar places :) I had to fight for mine in a huge crowd outside Delhi Interantional, as some string bean tried to make off with my bag, after hoicking the bus luggage door open even as the bus was moving and slowing to stop. I was out the door and on him in a heartbeat, and then within seconds surrounded by a baying crowd of locals. Utterly shit scared, but with the advantage of height and shoulder span, I stood my ground, trying not to tremble too much.

    Thankfully some heavily armed guards rescued me. Damn near shit myself :)

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  37. mister nui (961 comments) says:

    Yep, hmmmo, some interesting characters on the way…..

    Thinking about this, generally there was always a reason why my luggage would be delayed;
    - Always between LA and Houston, as I used to take a flight to Houston with too short a connection time to save waiting in LA.
    - Coming out of Russia, where at this tiny little airport in the middle of nowhere they used to hand write all of the connections, it was always fun seeing how far my luggage made it on its homeward journey when I used to trace it once arriving in AKL.
    - When I was too drunk to transfer it in Chicago….

    There are other times, but those are some of the more memorable

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  38. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    I’ve done three international trips and a dozen or so national trips and I have had my baggage ripped twice on the same, multi-stage trip and lost on another trip. In both cases the consequences were trivial.

    If you’re a business person then even a short loss or delay can have a considerable impact if you have to go to a meeting straight away.

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  39. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    There has to be some break-even point – how many friends in a large group of people who benefit are allowed to donate?

    John Key must get donations and be friends with a whole lot of finance people – that where he spent most of his working life. But the asset sales must be the biggest boon to finance people of any group in New Zealand. Noone is accussing him of getting donations for himself and his party on the back of asset sales.

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