Last week, documents released to the Labour Party revealed that Government Ministers Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges had met with oil giant Shell to thrash out a back-room deal to criminalise protesting at sea.

There’s nothing new here – it’s called crony capitalism and it’s something that the John Key Government does well. It’s his bread and butter. You take a company – in this case New Zealand Inc – and you use it to line the pockets of your mates.

Yet, it seems that in a desperate attempt to show that the Government is wagging its own tail, Simon Bridges has been caught out misleading Parliament. Originally telling Parliament that he had had no contact with oil companies about the controversial law changes, it has emerged that he had met with Shell just weeks before making his draconian decision.

No details of that secret meeting have so far been released, but at a previous meeting with Government, Shell expressed their concern about offshore protests. Simon Bridges then presented to Cabinet that:  ‘the upstream oil and gas industry has sought a more robust government response to threats of, and actual, direct protest action’. A month later it was passed in to law.

It is typical of how the Government is making laws in New Zealand. We’ve seen it with Sky City and the pokies; Warner Brothers conspired with John Key to rinse the tax payer of tens of millions of dollars and now big oil are getting in on the act.
The hand of big business now holds the pen of our democracy and our Ministers are supplying the ink.

That’s why we’ve demanded that Simon Bridges release all the details of this meeting. The public deserves to know how much influence overseas oil companies have over our law makers.

It is also the only way the public can be sure that he has not lied to them and is acting in the interests of all New Zealanders, not some of the country’s biggest polluters.

The timeline of meeting and events run like this:

  • September 4th 2012: Minister Steven Joyce met with Shell’s New Zealand chair Rob Jager and business advisor Chris Kilby as well as David Robinson from PEPANZ
  • 14th February 2013: Simon Bridges meets with Shell, just two weeks before he takes a Cabinet Paper on the protest changes to Cabinet.
  • March 31st 2013: Announces crack down on protesting at sea
  • April 19th 2013: Denies having any contact with oil companies over the new law changes
  • May 31st 2013: Labour accuses Simon Bridges of misleading Parliament

Now please watch this amazing video from John Wathen’s tour of New Zealand: “An eyewitness account of the Gulf of Mexico Oil disaster.”