21 Mar 2023

Spotlight on PM's chief of staff's work before Parliament

From Morning Report, 7:18 am on 21 March 2023

A lobbying firm who's NZ arm was previously headed up by the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Andrew Kirton, worked for alcohol companies in their fight for major changes to a container return scheme that has now been ditched by the government.

Kirton lobbied for Asahi and Lion with his firm Anacta, resigning just one day before he was announced as chief of staff for Prime Minister Chris Hipkins on 1 February. 

The alcohol companies wanted big changes to the container return scheme, which they feared could reduce their sales by up to 20 percent. 

The government dropped the scheme last week, saying it would have added to the cost of living. 

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said Kirton completed a conflict of interest process when he took up the job and played no role in the decision to defer the scheme.

RNZ investigative journalist Guyon Espiner broke the story. 

He spoke to Corin Dann.