From U2 tickets to cigars from Cuba: The weird and wonderful gifts given to MPs

Among Jacinda Ardern's gifts were free tickets to U2's concert last year.
Among Jacinda Ardern's gifts were free tickets to U2's concert last year. Photo credit: Getty Images

New records show Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Opposition leader Simon Bridges have been gifted free U2 concert tickets, while Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was gifted cigars by the Cuban Ambassador.

The 2020 Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests was released on Wednesday, containing a summary of the assets, debts and gifts New Zealand MPs have received as at January 31, 2020.  

The list shows how the Prime Minister has been showered with gifts, including a porcelain dish displayed at Premier House gifted by French President Emmanuel Macron, and a hand-carved frieze in frame gifted by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Ardern was also given a lifetime subscription to TIME magazine, as well as Elton John tickets, U2 tickets from lead singer Bono, and tickets to an All Blacks vs Australia game donated by New Zealand Rugby.

The Prime Minister was also given a framed and signed photograph of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

Both Ardern and Peters were given gifts from the Ambassador of Cuba to New Zealand. Ardern was given a gift basket while Peters was shouted a box of Cohiba Behike cigars.

Peters was also gifted an ornamental small combarbalite box from the Government of Chile.

The Auckland Racing Club donated season passes to the Ellerslie races, which the records note have not yet been used by Peters. In addition, the New Zealand First leader got a Qantas Chairman Lounge membership.

Like Ardern, National leader Simon Bridges was gifted U2 concert tickets, but the records do not say if they were donated by Bono. The National leader also received two free Bledisloe Cup tickets thanks to New Zealand Rugby.

House Speaker Trevor Mallard also got a fair share of gifts, including Halberg Awards tickets donated by Sky TV, match tickets and hospitality from Wellington Rugby, and FIFA Women’s World Cup tickets from New Zealand Football.

Mallard also got free Warriors rugby tickets, All Blacks and Black Ferns tickets and hospitality, tickets to witness the launch of Emirates Team New Zealand, Silver Fern test tickets and ASB Rugby Awards tickets with hospitality.

Grant Robertson, who is both the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Sport and Recreation, was the recipient of a number of sport-related gifts. Among what he received was four tickets to Rugby World Cup games from World Rugby and hospitality at the Cricket World Cup 2019 final.

He was also given a model of the golden gate at Hanoi's Temple of Literature, which was gifted from Hanoi People's Committee chairman Nguyen Duc Chung.

Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare - who it is noted was one of three MPs to submit their register of interests past the required deadline - received two tickets to a Warriors v Sharks game from National Rugby League Limited. He was also gifted a pounamu sculpture from Wai-Atamai and a manaia pounamu necklace from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

National MP Judith Collins received tickets to ASB tennis games, Warriors matches and an All Blacks vs Australia rugby game. She also received two jackets from Trelise Cooper.

A number of MPs received helicopter flights. Some rides were for conservation visits, and others were over mining operations or for high country station visits.

The full register consists of 14 categories of declarable interests, including property, superannuation schemes, overseas travel and payments received for activities.

Alongside recording members' interests, the register also aims to provide transparency and strengthen public trust and confidence in parliamentary processes and decision-making.