Stuff details the story broken by The Nation, in which Clayton Cosgrove accepted donations from a company that stood to benefit from a private members bill drafted by Cosgrove:
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.
Here’s the problem: While Clayton Cosgrove knows his own soul and is confident he did nothing wrong, there’s no way for the public to discern between an honest MP who drafts a bill in good faith and just happens to receive a very large donation from a company which benefits from it, and a corrupt MP who takes a payment from a company for drafting a bill. Which is why MPs usually go out of their way to avoid this kind of confusion, and declare conflicts of interests when intersections of money, friendship and legislation pop up.
Labour (rightly) demanded that Nick Smith stop down over the ACC affair, and that John Banks step down over the Sky City donations: I don’t see how they can keep Cosgrove on the front bench.