Written By: Steve Pierson - Date published: 9:50 am, May 1st, 2008 - 52 comments
Categories: election 2008, election funding, same old national - Tags: donations, Electoral Commission, Electoral Finance Act, electoral law, Judy Kirk, labour, Mike Williams, national
The Electoral Commission has published the parties’ donation returns for 2007. It is worth noting from the outset that under the electoral law then in force only donations over $10,000 had to be declared and anonymous donations, including the use of anonymising trusts, were legal.
Labour has the largest return, at $1,030,446.39. But $700,000 was payments from MPs to the Party as part of the â€˜big whip around’ to cover the $800,000 that the Auditor-General found Labour had overspent at the 2005 election. Removing that sum, Labour brought in $200,000 in declared donations.
National brought in $704,100.00. Of that, $553,100 was given by anonymous donors or came through trusts designed to hide the identities of the donors. It is not good enough that in a democracy a major party can take nearly all of it’s donations from secret sources, especially after the beat up they made over the Owen Glenn donations. National (and Labour) should come forward and reveal their secret donors. They know who they are.
Of course, National won’t do that. Fortunately, we now have a law that prevents people secretly spending huge sums in an effort to influence elections. Under the Electoral Finance Act, all parties are forced to reveal the sources of their big donations. And New Zealand’s democracy is stronger for it.
PS. Radio NZ said this morning they had asked Mike Williams to come on to discuss the donations. He is wisely keeping out of the media for now but how come no-one ever interviews National’s President, Judy Kirk? Surely, she’s the one hiding the real secrets.