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Hide's Fund-Raising Breakfast Doesn't Break Rules, English Says

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Rodney Hide
Rodney Hide

Wellington, Oct 22 NZPA - Local Government Minister Rodney Hide isn't breaking cabinet rules by holding a fund-raising event for his ACT Party, Parliament was told today.

Mr Hide has invited regional councillors and the public to a breakfast in Christchurch on November 4 to hear him speak on the future of the local government sector -- at $45 a head.

Labour leader Phil Goff has described the breakfast as "a real rort" and says it is "utterly unacceptable" for any minister to charge people to hear about an area of ministerial responsibility.

Labour MPs asked questions about Mr Hide in Parliament, wanting to know whether he was breaching the rules set out in the cabinet manual.

"My understanding is that the cabinet office doesn't have concerns about the situation," Mr English said.

"Whether MPs are ministers or not, they take part in fund-raising activities."

Labour MP Carol Beaumont said Consumer Affairs Minister Heather Roy, also an ACT MP, was planning a similar fund-raising break and was going to talk about a review of consumer legislation.

"The cheques will go into the same account -- the ACT Party's," she said.

Mr English gave the same reply: "As I said before, all ministers are expected to comply with the cabinet manual and there's been no suggestion that they haven't".

Prime Minister John Key told reporters the advice he had received was that Mr Hide was within the rules.

However, he said if there was confusion about it Mr Hide should waive the fee.

Mr Hide said people weren't being charged to hear him speak, they were being charged for having breakfast.

He said the function had been organised by local ACT members. He had been invited to speak, and they issued the invitations.

"In future I'm going to be very careful," he said.

"I'm going to make it quite plain that I'm speaking as the leader of the ACT Party. Obviously, everybody knows now that I'm minister of local government and that doesn't need to be added."

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