Charging for help

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 Pita Sharples’ electorate manager Martin Cooper 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 Parliamentary Service,” 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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