The real question is not whether the $1800 bucks for the Labour business conference is a rort or not. Even if it isn't, would you honestly want to pay that to listen to Jacinda Ardern whither on?
To be clear, this current flurry of claim and counter-claim over the fundraiser is not new. They all do it, they’ve all done it. I think just about everyone accepts it's well within the rules. It's dubious, it looks cheap and crass, but it's not illegal. And it shows, to be honest, the power of government.
The last time this was a “thing” was when you were forking out to listen to Sir John Key and Steven Joyce. But many would argue they actually had something to say and knew what they were talking about.
$1800 for the inner workings of Nanaia Mahuta doesn’t appear to have quite the same ring to it. But the Ministers are Ministers, and like them or not, they run our lives, and access for some people is a very important thing.
So queue the jealousy from other parties who, to be honest, would probably do the same thing if they could. But they know ,right here and right now, as much as Golriz Ghahraman might moan about it, ain't no one paying anything to hear her speak.
Here's the reality, one of the more interesting parts of my job is I get to deal with these people on a fairly regular basis In the same way I might be at the Labour business conference. Looking to ask a few questions or bend the ear of a Cabinet Minister. In this job, many of them lob up here.
I told Ardern, who sat not more than a metre to my left, not to merge RNZ and TVNZ. I said I had been around for 40 years had worked for them all and it was a disaster waiting to happen.
Do you think she said, "hmm, that's interesting Mike, I'll take that on board"? Of course she didn’t. She's right, I'm a pillock, and that’s how they work. I told Kris Faafoi the same thing. I told Meghan Woods to investigate the benefits of wave power. She looked at me like I was speaking Spanish. I won't tell you all the advice I've given to Stuart Nash.
Pay your $1800, they don’t care what you think, they want your money. Yes, it's a bad look. Yes, it's an easy money grab.
But this is New Zealand, not Italy, New York, or El Salvador. No one is buying influence, and no one is changing policy.
For my money, it's time you'll never get back. So don’t waste it, or your dough.