Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Key 'not opposed' to lobby law

Prime Minister John Key. File photo / NZ Herald
Prime Minister John Key. File photo / NZ Herald

Prime Minister John Key says a members' bill to force disclosure of lobbyists' attempts to influence policymaking is worth considering.

But he has poured yet more cold water on Labour MP Sue Moroney's bill which would extend paid parental leave from 14 weeks to six months.

Following two weeks' holiday in Europe Mr Key returned to official duties yesterday, leading an official visit and a business delegation to Indonesia.

Speaking to reporters at a function at the New Zealand ambassador's residence in Jakarta last night, Mr Key faced questions on the two members' bills which have driven political debate during his break.

Asked about Green MP Holly Walker's bill which would require lobbyists to register and subscribe to a "code of conduct'' to be set by the Auditor General, Mr Key said he was proud of his Government's record on promoting parliamentary transparency.

He was "fundamentally not opposed'' to considering the bill and letting it go through at least to the select committee stage but it was a matter for his caucus to think about.

New Zealand was something of an outlier among countries around the world by not having such legislation "so essentially I think it's worth looking at''.

However, he said Mr English effectively torpedoed Ms Moroney's bill by saying National would veto it at the final stage after consulting him by phone while he was overseas.

Paid parental leave was important for mothers and families "but it's not going to be on the table until we get back into surplus''.

When the Government's books were back in surplus the policy would be considered, along with others such as resuming payments into the New Zealand Superannuation Fund.

Mr Key also responded to a recent report suggesting his Cabinet had decided to allow more than 49 per cent of shares in state owned assets earmarked for partial privatisation under the mixed ownership model as long as the Government maintained a majority of shares that had voting rights.

Last night he pledged "absolutely'' that the Government would retain at least 51 per cent of all shares each company.

"We're not going to do anything tricky there.''

- NZ Herald

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