Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:
Last night, Labour was standing by Mr Cosgrove, and said the only thing he was guilty of was helping his constituents.
Deputy leader Grant Robertson said Mr Cosgrove had done what Labour expected of its MPs by trying to help “hundreds of constituents”.
“He did what Clayton does as a straight-up MP – worked hard on their behalf, tried to find a solution for them … he was motivated by finding the best outcome for one of his constituents.”
That is a very unfortunate choice of words to defend Clayton Cosgrove. I doubt I need to remind readers about the last Labour MP who was defended for months on end using the same words.
I hasten to say I don’t think the two cases are the same. But if those words did come straight from Labour, and are not paraphrases, then either they are being incredibly clumsy or they are knifing Cosgrove.
The issue isn’t that Cosgrove was helping his constituents. The issue is whether one should accept a $17,500 donation from a constituent who would have gained a massive financial advantage from legislation you were promoting. Yes Independent Fisheries have donated previously – but in 2008 it was just $3,000 to Cosgrove, while in 2011 it was $17,500. Why the massive increase?
The size is what has attracted attention. $17,500 is not a large donation to a party. It represents about 0.35% of what a party spends on an election campaign. However for an individual candidate it represents around 70% of their election campaign spending.
Hat Tip: Keeping Stock