I was going to fisk her article, but Andrew Geddis has helpfully done it for us. He points out that while there is not a document called a code of ethics, such an action would probably be a contempt of Parliament under standing orders, and also corruption under the Crimes Act.
So I’m not necessary saying that Sue Kedgley is wrong to call for greater regulation of lobbying activities in New Zealand. But any concern that there is nothing in place to stop New Zealand’s parliamentarians replicating the worst excesses of their British counterparts is misplaced.
Kedgley wrote the bill that Holly Walker introduced last year about regulation of lobbyists. It was so incompetently drafted that its impact on free speech would be monumental. If I responded to a tweet fron an MP on a copyright issue, then I could face a large fine if I didn’t notify the Auditor-General of that tweet!
I think there would be benefits in having a register of lobbyists and clients. This can of course be done without legislation, either voluntarily or through Standing Orders.
Kedgley’s bill is so over-reaching that for it to proceed, it would need such drastic surgery as to effectively be a new bill.