Earlier in the month, we learned that Solid Energy was subverting democracy again by using public money to pay for a report aimed at undermining the government's climate change policy. In a defence unworthy of a four-year old, Solid Energy claimed that they were not the only government entity to do so, and that the report was funded by "a range of companies and organisations, including government departments". So, who were these other government departments?
Unfortunately, I don't know yet. But thanks to some SOE's respecting the statutory timeframes of the OIA, I can tell you who its not. Neither Timberlands, Mighty River Power, or Transpower helped pay for the NZIER's report on "The impact of the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme on New Zealand’s economy", and none had paid for any related research (Mighty River had however used NZIER to do an economic assessment of a windfarm project). LandCorp also denied having funded the report in question, but had contributed $1,875 (incl GST) for an earlier summary of ETS impacts on the pastoral sector (which sadly does not seem to be online). OIA requests with Genesis, Meridian, MfE, MED, Treasury, and various other government departments are still outstanding.
Disturbingly, none of the companies who have responded so far had any guidelines on this sort of lobbying, and one - LandCorp - denied that it handled public money (hint: they're on the government's balance sheet, and their profits go to the crown to pay for public services. That makes it public money). That's something which I think needs to be followed up on. While SOEs are meant to operate as businesses, they also need to remember that they are publicly owned and operate to generate revenue for the people of New Zealand. This requires a better standard of behaviour than applies in the rest of the corporate sector, and any SOE manger who cannot accept that should look for work elsewhere.