If you must take in a show at Westpac’s expense, surely you can do better than Bon Jovi

This should have been the focus of the Greens' song and dance about hospitality.

Alf is more than miffed with the wretched Greens today.

The buggers have been kicking up a fuss about the way Westpac has been treating some of our Ministers.

Westpac – like any bank – does not score highly for being generous and should be encouraged to be hospitable to all sorts of people.

Kicking up a hullabaloo about its treatment of politicians is apt to have them back out of being hospitable and to revert to being the mean-minded bunch of bastards with which most of us are familiar.

The grouchy Greens are likely to have prompted Westpac to revisit its hospitality policy.

More certainly, they have prompted The Boss to lay down the law to his ministers over accepting too many corporate box invitations during the Rugby World Cup.

His warning to be careful about the sort of hospitality ministers accept during the six-week tournament comes after the Greens questioned ministers and their staff accepting generous hospitality from Westpac Bank while the Government’s master banking contract is under review. Westpac holds the contract.

Westpac said yesterday that it provided hospitality to politicians from all sides of the political spectrum “without prejudice or expectation”.

This bit of the story is perplexing. It suggests Westpac is prepared to include Greens and socialists on the list of people to whom it will be hospitable, which brings its judgement into serious question and is a good reason for banking elsewhere.

The Boss has seen fit to remind his Ministers of what’s what when it comes to being treated.

He said he did not have a problem with ministers or staff accepting corporate box invitations so long as they met the requirements for disclosure in the register of pecuniary interests.

The rules require ministers and MPs to disclose gifts or hospitality, but only over a $500 value.

Mr Key also rejected the suggestion that corporate box invitations might influence the bank contract. It would probably be the Treasury, rather than ministers, who made that decision.

But he admitted that he had raised the issue of hospitality during the Rugby World Cup with his ministers.

Asked if he expected ministers to buy their own tickets to games, he said he had been “looking at that issue”.

“It would be my expectation that ministers would go to some RWC events and I think other members of Parliament, including the Opposition spokesman for sport and I’m sure the leader of the Opposition, will as well.

“What I have said to my ministers is I have an expectation that they’ll be careful in the hospitality they accept. I think it’s not unreasonable probably to go to the odd game but I wouldn’t want to see them at every game.”

Greens co-leader Russel Norman obviously has a bee in his bonnet, however, and is calling on ministers to reconsider accepting Westpac’s hospitality.

He knows full well that Westpac has held the contract to do the government’s banking for about 20 years.

But Finance Minister Bill English late last year confirmed the Government was reviewing the arrangement.

Big bucks are up for grabs and Westpac, understandably, will be keen to butter up – and liquor up – the Ministers who might be in on the final decision.

Hence the hospitality.

Answers to questions by the Greens about Westpac’s corporate hosting show nine ministers accepted hospitality from the bank in the past year.

Stuff has listed the nature of the largesse and who got what from Westpac:

John Key, Gerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce, Tim Groser, Jonathan Coleman, Peter Dunne, Rodney Hide, Kate Wilkinson, David Carter and Tony Ryall said their staff had sometimes accepted invitations to events hosted by Westpac in a corporate box.

Bill English, Anne Tolley and Simon Power said they attended the Wellington sevens tournament as guests of the bank.

Wayne Mapp attended a Super rugby game at Eden Park.

Judith Collins said she had attended one event as a guest in a Westpac corporate box, but did not disclose what it was.

Maurice Williamson had attended events in the Westpac corporate box but “not in any particular portfolio capacity”.

Gerry Brownlee and Paula Bennett attended the Jon Bon Jovi concert last December.

Ms Bennett also had lunch with a Westpac representative in Wellington’s Backbencher pub and Mr Power attended a dinner with the Westpac board at the White House restaurant.

This Norman tosser is saying the gifts have bought unfair access to decision-makers that most New Zealanders could not afford.

He should be asking how come Power got dinner at the White House restaurant but Bennett was given only a lunch at the Backbencher.

A much greater scandal for Alf is the news that Bennett and Brownlee would want tickets to a Bon Jovi concert.

His high regard for his colleagues has been seriously bruised by this disclosure.

He will need more than a few stiff drinks tonight to recover.

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