Yesterday Standardista freedom posted a suggestion for electoral funding on open mike.
Here is freedom‘s suggestion/blue print (in black print) – in freedom‘s own words:
Want to get some transparency back into politics funding in New Zealand?
Tired of electoral funding skullduggery?
I suggest NZ creates the Electoral Donation Register of New Zealand.
The EDRNZ is an escrow body which collects and distributes donations for all local and central government election candidates and or political parties.
Any party or individual standing in local or central government elections registers with the EFRNZ and is paid donated monies minus an administrative tax.
A small fee of perhaps 0.01% is taxed on all donations for administration of the EDRNZ.
KiwiBank is an obvious choice to administrate the fund.
All donations are deposited and logged with the EDRNZ then distributed to the relevant party or individual. With modern banking on-line processes this would be an efficient near instantaneous transaction from donation to EDRNZ to candidate. (especially quick if the candidate banked with KiwiBank)
Any individual donation over $1000 is not anonymous and is declared on a public register.
Donations below $1,000 can be anonymous but are still declared on a public register.
Any donations from a business or a trust for example, of any amount, would not be anonymous and must be declared on the register. (Trusts are and will continue to be a major thorn in the paw of NZ politics, until they are extracted) Occasional audits of the anonymous deposits should show up attempts to circumvent this.
Any donation of any amount not made in the name of a NZ citizen or resident of NZ would not be anonymous and must be declared on the public register.
All cash donations, electoral office collections and ‘raffle’ sales etc are processed/declared as per origin of funds. -this is an obvious grey area for cases where this total exceeds $1000 but it is hardly an insurmountable obstacle. The circumstances of its collection would show the totals were legitimate. E.g. the deposit slip from bucket collections. Large single donations (over the $1000 limit) are very rare from a bucket day, I am confident dodo eggs would be more common, but a donor’s details could easily be logged by the collector or alternatively the donation can be made using any number of modern technical services such as Square, for one example.
THE PUBLIC REGISTER
Your vote is your vote and that should always be private information between you and the relevant electoral body. When it comes to political donations however, I strongly feel if you don’t want people to know you donated to a particular party then why are you donating to that party?
I am sure there are plenty of clever folk out there who could shape a register with the suitable oversights which also provides the necessary social protections.
Despite the disasters in information sharing from recent years, I am confident NZ could produce a public register detailing the donated amount with an associated donor identity that does so without signing away excessive amounts of private data. The Addresses or locality of the donor for example need not be specific or even public, you might live in Tawa but that does not mean you don’t want to support a candidate in Taupo.
The transfer of data to the EDRNZ Public Register would not need to be instantaneous and a weekly update would most likely suffice.
In conclusion, there are numerous opportunities to massively overcomplicate the environment of a body like EDRNZ, and despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from some heavily invested interest groups, the actual mechanics of its operation are incredibly straightforward and there is no reason for it not to operate efficiently and most importantly transparently.
just an idea ….