21 Oct 2009

Minister charging to speak on portfolio a rort - Labour

7:19 pm on 21 October 2009

The Labour Party says it is a rort for a minister to be charging stakeholders to hear him speak.

The Christchurch branch of the ACT Party sent out invitations to a breakfast meeting to be hosted by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide, who is also the leader of ACT.

The invitation, costing $45 per head, listed Mr Hide as a minister and was sent to ACT Party members and members of local government, including Environment Canterbury.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says it is an outrage.

"People have a right to access their minister. I've never heard of any minister charging to have him or her speak on the area that they're given responsibility for.

"That should be a right of any stakeholder in New Zealand to have access to the minister to ask questions."

Prime Minister John Key agrees that people should not be charged to hear a minister speak about their portfolio.

Mr Hide says he understands why the invite may clash with Cabinet rules and the matter is being investigated so it does not happen again.

Listen to Rodney Hide on Checkpoint