More lobbyists enjoy Parliament access

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 16:24 16/05/2014

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An exclusive Wellington club has seven new members.

Speaker David Carter has published an annual list of members of the public who are given access cards to Parliament.

In the past year, BNZ government relations manager Kenny Clark and WeblingMedia's Brent Webling have been given access.

Clark was previously an adviser to Cabinet minister Steven Joyce, and Webling was press secretary for former justice minister Simon Power.

Wellington City councillor Jo Coughlan, sister-in-law of Finance Minister Bill English, is also free to walk the corridors of power, and Beltway insider Chris Major joins Tony O'Brien as a Sky Television lobbyist.

Also new to the list are Patsy Reddy, of the New Zealand Film Commission, and Stella Teariki, representing the Public Service Association.

Former MPs' spouses are also entitled to access. Ramon Maniapoto, partner of Labour Party general secretary and former Christchurch Central MP Tim Barnett, is new to the lineup of almost 70.

Some of the country's most powerful lobbyists, including former diplomat Charles Finny and capital movers and shakers Barrie Saunders and Mark Unsworth, enjoy access.

They are joined by trade unionists Helen Kelly and Peter Conway, as well as party bosses Peter Goodfellow and Moira Coatsworth.

The swipe card gives holders the right to enter Parliament without passing through the usual security screening.

The list first became public in 2012 and has swelled from 15.

The Greens pressed for disclosure as MP Holly Walker pushed legislation designed to give greater transparency over lobbyists.

Parliament's government administration select committee recommended that her bill not be passed, instead recommending guidelines for MPs. These have yet to be implemented.

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