Weeks after Labour was criticised for holding fundraisers featuring ministers, Labour's Stuart Nash will hold a lunch fundraiser at the swanky Northern Club where about 20 people will pay $1000 each to hear him talk.
Nash, who is minister of Police, Revenue, Fisheries and Small Business, said the fundraiser in Auckland today was to raise money for his Napier campaign in 2020.
Those invited were friends and acquaintances "who have done well in life" and he was speaking as Napier MP rather than in his capacity as a minister.
It comes a fortnight after Labour was accused of hypocrisy for a fundraiser at the Wellington Club where attendees paid $600 a head to listen to Finance Minister Grant Robertson speak about the Budget.
Labour defended that, saying Robertson was not there as a minister although the invitation had described him as Finance Minister.
It was accused of hypocrisy because in the past it had accused National of "cash for access" fundraisers at which members and supporters paid to attend events where they could meet National Party ministers and hear them speak.
Nash said he had considered changing the venue and the event after the publicity around the Labour fundraiser but decided against it because it was clear he was not speaking in his capacity as minister.
Although he was speaking as Napier MP, it was held in Auckland because that was where the friends who attended lived. "It's been going long before I was in Cabinet. This is the third year."
It was dubbed the AGM of the Princes St Napier Branch – a riff on Labour's famous Princes St branch in Auckland.
"I talk about what's happening in Napier. I'm very clear about this, this is for the MP of Napier. It goes into my election funds."
Nash said once the costs of the lunch were taken out he hoped to raise about $15,000.
The donors do not have to be disclosed because candidates only have to disclose donations of more than $1500.
He said he had not criticised National for its fundraisers and believed it was critical for parties and candidates.
"I make no bones about the fact that the way I won Napier in 2014 was by raising money and working hard. I firmly believe you can not win or run a campaign without money."
Nash disclosed $27,500 in donations for the last election.