There’s a claim today that Justice Minister Simon Power’s rresignation to joint Westpac would be illegal across the Tasman.
Power has quit politics to run Westpac’s “private bank” operation in New Zealand. Westpac is the New Zealand Government’s preferred banker.
Independent election candidate Penny Bright alleges Power would not be allowed to take the job if he were an Australian politician:
PRESS RELEASE: Penny Bright Independent ‘Public Watchdog’ Candidate for Epsom.
12 October 2011
“Is National’s Minister of Commerce Simon Power appointment as head of Westpac private bank a form of corrupt practice?”
“As the new head of Westpac Private Bank – is National Government Minister of Commerce and Justice, Simon Power, going to be involved in lobbying, advocating or having business meetings with members of the future government, parliament, public service or the defence force on any matters on which he has had official dealings as Minister in his last eighteen months in office?”, asks Penny Bright, Independent ‘Public Watchdog’ Candidate for Epsom.
“If so, and if National Government Minister of Commerce and Justice, Simon Power was an Australian Federal Government Minister – this would be seen as a form of ‘corrupt practice’ and a breach of their Standards of Ministerial Ethics, as a breach of ‘Post-Ministerial Employment’ requirements”:
2.19. Ministers are required to undertake that, for an eighteen month period after ceasing to be a Minister, they will not lobby, advocate or have business meetings with members of the government, parliament, public service or defence force on any matters on which they have had official dealings as Minister in their last eighteen months in office.
Ministers are also required to undertake that, on leaving office, they will not take personal advantage of information to which they have had access as a Minister, where that information is not generally available to the public.”
“Who in NZ has even HEARD of ‘post-separation employment’?” asks Ms Bright, who first learned about this form of corruption at the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference (APSAAC) which she attended at Brisbane in 2009.
“In my considered opinion, the ‘revolving door’ between public office and the private sector is on permanent rotation at both central and local government level in NZ.”
“There appears to be a permanent stream of New Zealand examples of those leaving public office at central and local government and taking up employment in the private sector, where former elected representatives and senior officials can arguably make use of contacts made and information received, in their previous ‘lives’, to serve their own personal interests, for their own private pecuniary gain.”
“How can this be happening in New Zealand, which is ‘perceived’ to be ‘the least corrupt country in the world’ (along with Denmark and Singapore – according to the 2010 Transparency International ‘Corruption Perception Index’?
“What did Simon Power do to help ensure, as Minister of Justice, that our domestic legislative framework was sufficiently in place to enable New Zealand to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption, because to date – we have not?”
“Or would such an anti-corruption domestic legislative framework effectively be a ‘conflict of interest’ for those vested interests who work in the commerce, finance and banking fields?
As Simon Power is going to be – once he takes up his appointment as the Head of Westpac Private Bank?” MS Bright concluded.