Cosgrove denies accepting payments

Last updated 13:14 07/07/2012
Clayton Cosgrove
LABOUR: Clayton Cosgrove

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Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove has denied accusations of accepting payments in exchange for drafting legislation to overturn land decisions.

In 2009 the former Waimakariri MP drafted a bill to ease restrictions on residential developments in the Christchurch International Airport and Cranford Basin areas.

Last year Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee alerted housing boundaries meaning some land owners would not be able to develop on their sites.

Property developers and landowners - including Clearwater and supermarket giant Progressive - have joined a High Court bid by fishing company and landowner Independent Fisheries to overturn the minister's fast-track land rezoning.

In turn, Christchurch Airport, the Christchurch, Waimakariri and Selwyn councils, Environment Canterbury and major subdivision owners, including Ngai Tahu and supermarket chain Foodstuffs, have lined up behind the minister.

The challengers seek to overturn Brownlee's urgent redrawing of housing boundaries after the earthquakes, and want the court to direct his future decisions on the airport land.

The hearing finished this week but a decision has yet to be made.

The developers own land near Christchurch International Airport and in the Cranford basin that they want to subdivide for housing.

They accuse Brownlee of erring in law, acting for improper purposes, acting unreasonably, and not following the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) consultation guidelines.

Cosgrove's relationship with Independent Fisheries at the time he drafted the bill was questioned on ifThe Nationnf this morning.

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Cosgrove said he accepted campaign donations from the company but denied taking payments for proposing legislation so that Independent Fisheries would stand to gain financially.

He was asked if he thought there was a conflict of interests by accepting money from a company who stood to benefit from the bill.

''There would have been a conflict of interest from any person and I have people donate money to me in support of all political persuasions,'' he said.

''There would be a conflict of interest if it came with preconditions...there would be a very bad look and a lack of judgement if those donations were hidden and not declared.''

He said there was no conflict of interest because the donation came with no preconditions.

In total Cosgrove received $17,500 in donations from Independent Fisheries, all of which were declared, he said.

Independent Fisheries chief executive Mike Dormer told The Nation the company did not make payments to Cosgrove in connection with the bill.

- The Press

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