Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Speaker names 15 lobbyists who hold the cards

Speaker Lockwood Smith. Photo / AP.
Speaker Lockwood Smith. Photo / AP.

Speaker Lockwood Smith has buckled to pressure and named the lobbyists and other frequent visitors at Parliament who have security access cards.

The list of 15 "approved visitors" includes lobbyists from Saunders Unsworth, the Council of Trade Unions, Sky TV, Business NZ and Vector. There are also lawyers, two spouses of former MPs and a pastor who leads a prayer group at Parliament.

The Speaker has also set a new condition that those who get the cards must agree to have their names made public.

The Green Party had strongly objected to lobbyists having access cards and called for the list to be made public, saying it gave some lobbyists privileges to visit MPs under the cloak of secrecy.

The release of names was timed to pre-empt the first reading of Green MP Holly Walker's Lobbying Disclosure Bill last night which will require lobbyists to register and disclose who they meet.

Ms Walker said she was delighted the Speaker had finally released the names.

But she did not believe the cards were justified, with the possible exception of those for former spouses of MPs who tended to visit for personal reasons.

"I don't see why there is a category of people with a higher level of access than other New Zealanders."

Dr Smith said the access cards gave the visitors entry only to the public areas of Parliament and did not let them through to MPs' offices. A spokeswoman for him said all card holders were told the cards would not be renewed if they did not agree to be named publicly. She did not know if any had decided to give up the card rather than be named.

Some of those who hold the cards have previously publicly said they had them, including CTU's Helen Kelly, well-known Wellington lobbyists Barrie Saunders and Mark Unsworth, and Sky TV's Tony O'Brien.

ACCESS

Nicholas Albrecht (Vector)

Tim Clarke (Russell McVeagh)

Peter Conway (Council of Trade Unions)

Daniel Fielding (Minter Ellison Rudd Watts)

Charles Finny (Saunders Unsworth)

Helen Kelly (Council of Trade Unions)

Tony O'Brien (Sky TV)

Phil O'Reilly (Business NZ)

Leigh Pearson (L.A. Pearson)

Barrie Saunders (Saunders Unsworth)

Mark Unsworth (Saunders Unsworth)

Jordan Williams (Franks & Ogilvie)

Pastor Rasik Ranchord (Parliamentary Breakfast Group)

Philippa Falloon (Former MP's spouse)

Lady Jane Kidd (Former MP's spouse)

- NZ Herald

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