NSW MP sought developer 'dividend'

Luke Costin
Veteran NSW Liberal MP Daryl Maguire (C) has admitted to seeking a dividend from Chinese developers

A veteran NSW government MP has been caught discussing the potential "dividend" he and a local councillor could reap from the sale of a Sydney property to a giant Chinese developer.

Liberal member Daryl Maguire was secretly recorded in May 2016 speaking with then Canterbury City councillor Michael Hawatt, who is at the centre of an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation.

The telephone conversation was played at a hearing in Sydney on Friday.

Mr Maguire, who has been the member for Wagga Wagga since 1999, was heard telling Mr Hawatt he had a client with "mega money" who would be interested in the site in Canterbury, which had been approved for 300 units.

He asked the councillor what "margin" he would get from the "quick sale" - worth up to $51 million.

"1.5 per cent isn't enough divided by two if you know what I'm talking about?" Mr Maguire said.

"Yeah, I understand. Yeah I do understand," Mr Hawatt said.

The MP replied: "So three per cent is much better."

Mr Maguire told the inquiry he wasn't sure why he'd discussed the margin but he suspected he and Mr Hawatt were the two parties interested in a share.

He said it was the pair's intent to introduce property developers to each other and share commissions from sales.

But he said no commissions ever eventuated.

Mr Maguire said he wasn't an agent for Chinese developer Country Garden but conceded he had "certainly sought to assist" them in purchasing sites in Australia and had become "great friends" with Country Garden's Australian chief executive.

In another recording, the parliamentary secretary was heard discussing with Mr Hawatt that if the Chinese developer needed a strategic policy engagement director, he was "it".

"They can pay my company," he said.

He suggested the arrangement could be that Country Garden pay a retainer and then "a couple of grand a day" if he went into the office.

Mr Maguire is heard in another recording saying he had asked the local government minister's office to put forward Mr Hawatt on the new Canterbury-Bankstown advisory council.

The corruption watchdog is investigating claims of improper conduct at the now defunct Canterbury City Council - in particular, the actions of two councillors, Mr Hawatt and Pierre Azzi.

On the back of Mr Maguire's appearance before the inquiry, NSW Labor called for the parliamentary secretary to be sacked.

Acting opposition leader Michael Daley said the premier must act "immediately".

"This is extraordinary ... Mr Maguire has been caught out by his own words and should be removed now," he said in a statement.