The Green Party has launched a campaign and Member's Bill to establish a publicly accessible register of lobbyists.
"It's all part of our campaign for more open, transparent, and honest politics," Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said today.
Sue Kedgley's Lobbying Disclosure Bill, released today, will set up a register of lobbyists and a code of conduct for lobbyists. It is modelled on a successful Canadian public disclosure regime.
"Lobbying is entrenched in our political system, but lobbyists are able to operate in secret and under the radar, in the shadows of the democratic process," Green Party MP Sue Kedgley said.
"The public has no way of knowing who is lobbying their politicians or what they are being lobbied about. There is also no information available on which lobbyists have special access to Parliament granted to them by the Speaker.
"We believe the public has a right to know who is engaged in lobbying activities that seek to influence public policy. We want to get lobbying out of the shadows and ensure it takes place in as open a way as possible.
Many countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the US already have registers of lobbyists and the OECD has recommended that they be set up."
Ms Kedgley said the secrecy surrounding lobbying activities fuel the perception that Government decisions unfairly influence and undermine the public's trust in the integrity of our democracy.
The ongoing growth of lobbyists' influence had subtly shifted the political landscape in favour of corporate interests, added Ms Kedgley.
Dr Norman said, "Real democracy should be a battle of ideas not a battle of who has the best and most expensive lobbyists. The time has come for lobbyists to step into the light.
I hope Parliament will have the courage to set up a register, and put public interest ahead of vested interests who may oppose this Bill."
For more information:
Questions and Answers
Lobbying Disclosure Bill
Increasing Transparency through legislation - OECD 2010 http://www.oecd.org/document/12/0,3746,en_2649_34135_43979724_1_1_1_1,00.html