17 Apr 2024

Draft code of conduct for lobbyists 'watered down, meaningless'

From Nine To Noon, 9:10 am on 17 April 2024
Figures from the minister of immigration's office show MPs are increasingly involved in lobbying for ministerial intervention in immigration cases. Insight reports.

Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

Transparency International says a draft code of conduct for lobbyists has been so watered down from the initial version, it is meaningless. The Ministry of Justice has just closed submissions on the draft code - which would be voluntary.

The previous Labour government began a review of the lobbying sector last year, and revoked most lobbyists' swipe card access to parliament. It also instigated the development of a non-binding code of conduct for the industry.

Transparency International says any meaningful code should include a proper definition of lobbying, an easily accessible register of lobbyists as well as standards based on the OECD model. 

But deputy chair Debbie Gee says the draft code shows the industry has sought the lowest possible bar, and the Justice Ministry has effectively been "spun" by the lobbying sector.