election funding

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Political donations and conflicts of interest

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, March 2nd, 2015 - 53 comments

Whether it’s about election donations or portfolios, some people do seem to think MPs should always get the benefit of the doubt.

Brassneck

Written By: - Date published: 12:21 pm, March 2nd, 2015 - 64 comments

The release of the candidate donation returns has shown us that the National Party are still rorting the system. However, there are issues for the NZ Labour Party as well. Four MP’s have taken money from sources that do not have the interests of the Labour party or, indeed, the majority of Kiwis at heart. Brassneck or bought and sold?

“Mr Slater’s made it quite clear”: Key standup transcript pt1

Written By: - Date published: 1:10 pm, August 19th, 2014 - 25 comments

How slippery is John Key? Part one of transcript of Key’s press standup last Thursday. On accessing Labour’s website private details, OIAs to the SIS, Dirty Politics, Nicky Hager and Mr Slater. [Updated]

Positive Labour policy for meat industry

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 pm, July 27th, 2014 - 4 comments

In the late 1980’s I worked on the establishment of the Meat Industry Tradesmens Agreement, bringing eight  awards into one. My lasting memory is how the meat companies hated each other more than they hated the unions, and they were no union-lovers. 25 years later, the companies still can’t get their act together, and it is the country as well as the farmers who are hurting. It may surprise some, but it’s the Labour party who is putting forward policy to bring in the necessary change to the $8billion industry. Good work from Damien O’Connor and the Labour leadership.

NZ First conference – the kingmakers?

Written By: - Date published: 4:48 pm, July 15th, 2014 - 50 comments

It looks like I’ll be able to head to the NZ First conference at Alexandra Park racecourse on the weekend as media. This election the position of NZ First party members is probably going to be crucial for any coalition that forms. In this rather long post I explain my (and other peoples) thinking on possible coalition results for National after the election. They aren’t good because they really depend on a political group that National has been denigrating for quite a while.

Polity: A clear choice on education

Written By: - Date published: 12:33 pm, July 7th, 2014 - 144 comments

One of the most prominent battlegrounds in this election campaign will be education. Both large parties know our kids deserve better than the two-tier education system we currently have. Both have clear, costed plans they think can help. And now the public can choose. Actions, of course, speak louder than words. Both John Key and Bill English have chosen to send their own kids to private schools. Asked why John Key said  “Their schools have smaller class sizes and are better resourced than most state schools.”.

No Right Turn: Electoral donations, corruption, and transparency

Written By: - Date published: 4:11 pm, June 11th, 2014 - 36 comments

Writing in the Herald, Fran O’Sullivan tells us what we all knew: that political donors have expectations, and want favours in exchange for their cash. She’s too polite (and Establishment) to call it corruption, but that’s what it is. Its time we forced parties to do so as well. Transparent public funding if required. If the choice is spending public money or permitting corruption, the choice is pretty clear.

Through the looking glass

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, June 8th, 2014 - 93 comments

Banks look very likely to be gone by Monday. But, some journalists are going to bat for John Banks, claiming he hasn’t really done anything wrong with respect to the verdict of guilty for filing a false election funding return.  They are ignoring the facts of the case, and trying to rewrite history. [Update: Banks to resign]

Polity: Dotcom’s $3 million donation

Written By: - Date published: 12:25 pm, June 1st, 2014 - 132 comments

Kim Dotcom has shaken up the election with a claim his new Internet Party will have a $3 million war chest. The big questions are: is this kind of donation good for democracy, and are left-leaning campaigners hypocrites for accepting it? The answers are respectively yes and no. A politician’s job is to campaign within the rules as they currently stand. They owe no duty to provide their opponents with advantage by pre-emptively limiting their own campaigns.

Labour’s Mana Internet Party dilemma

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 pm, May 30th, 2014 - 232 comments

So what does Labour do? Gift Te Tai Tokerau and be open to allegations of manipulating the system (even though National has made an art form of this particular type of activity) or campaign hard and risk the loss of 3 – 4 % points of party vote if Hone loses his seat?

Here’s an idea: electoral funding

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 pm, January 11th, 2014 - 25 comments

“Want to get some transparency back into politics funding in New Zealand? Tired of electoral funding skullduggery?” Standardista freedom suggests “NZ creates the Electoral Donation Register of New Zealand.”

What’s in a glance?

Written By: - Date published: 3:37 pm, October 26th, 2013 - 50 comments

David Jones QC argues Banks could not have signed a false declaration of election donations because he did not read it. But  Banks’ campaign manager’s evidence was that Banks  “glanced at it before signing it.” The Oxford dictionary defines “glance” as “take a quick or hurried look;” “read quickly or cursorily.” So Banks did read the donations return. It would have been hard to miss the $15,690 recorded as both a radio expense and an anonymous donation which he had personally solicited.

The fish rots from the head

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 pm, October 16th, 2013 - 91 comments

Today’s decision that John Banks will stand trial for signing a false donations return signals the beginning of the end of the Key government. Increasingly it resembles the last days of the Shipley government only worse, as corruption replaces shambles. The decision also puts the famous tea party conversation between Key and Banks, where they stitched up the deal to provide the present Government’s majority, into new perspective.

Dotcom on what Banks knew

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, October 15th, 2013 - 27 comments

The District Court is hearing evidence today as to whether John Banks should stand trial for signing a donations return that he knew to be false. Kim Dotcom has given evidence – the Herald reports that when he agreed to give Banks a donation of $50,000, Banks asked for it to be split and to be made anonymous., so that if Banks helped DotCom in the future it would not be known that he had donated to him.

Epsom by election?

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, May 3rd, 2013 - 73 comments

John Banks is in court to answer allegations over his Dotcom donations and electoral returns. If convicted he loses his seat. How would an Epsom by election play out?

Known unknowns

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 pm, September 12th, 2012 - 8 comments

My OIA request for the Police  file of their investigation into Banks’ anonymous donations arrived today. John Key had said the law would be changed if “they could find the time.” Today David Carter found the time to say the law will be tightened before the 2013 elections.It will be very important that all the lessons from this sorry affair can be properly considered  at select committee.

Know when to run

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 pm, September 3rd, 2012 - 21 comments

Key has gone for a gamble again; but not the gamble some of the pundits were expecting. On the asset sales, he’s chosen flight over fight. But the real problem the asset sales face now isn’t Maori action, it’s the state of the economy.

Banks case to Police lawyers

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 pm, July 5th, 2012 - 36 comments

The Police have concluded their investigation into John Banks’  donations to his 2010 mayoral campaign.  The Police legal section will now decide whether or not to prosecute. There are two tests; the evidential test and the public interest test. There is no question that if the evidence is sufficient, prosecution is in the public interest. It comes down to credibility – best decided in court.

The name’s on the cheque!

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 pm, April 30th, 2012 - 55 comments

Campbell Live showed us pictures of the Cheques by which Kim Dotcom’s company Megastuff made donations to Team Banksie 2010. How can John Banks argue that the two donations of $25,000 from Kim Dotcom’s company Megastuff Limited are anonymous when the company name is on the cheque? You could look up their address on the website. Game over, John and John.

Firewalls up in smoke

Written By: - Date published: 6:35 pm, April 30th, 2012 - 34 comments

David Cameron’s defence of embattled Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been called a “firewall” that’s failing to hold.

Cameron needs Hunt to stay or else Cameron is the next to go. It is the same for John Key.

As the stench of corruption around John Banks grows, he desperately needs him to stay or else all he loses legitimacy for asset sales and potentially his majority on the issue as well.

Policy for Money?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 pm, April 29th, 2012 - 13 comments

Party donations for the 2011 general election  will be published on Tuesday . One new provision in the Act provides for the declaration of the number of donations in two bands; $1500 to $5,000, and up to $15,000. It will be very interesting to see the number of upper level donations in National and ACT particularly. They could hide Banks-type split donations from asset-sale backers.

What the BSA said – Key on RadioLive

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, October 14th, 2011 - 112 comments

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has decided that Key’s hour-long promotional programme on RadioLive was not an election programme.

It will now be very interesting to see what the Electoral Commission decides in relation to advertising complaints.

What the Commission said – Key on RadioLive

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, October 11th, 2011 - 62 comments

Key’s staff spun to media that his Radio Live show was ok if he didn’t discuss politics, saying the station had received advice from the Electoral Commission that “political content’ could breach rules. That didn’t sound right to me, so I asked the Commission what they actually said.

Interesting elections #3 – recall in Wisconsin

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 pm, August 22nd, 2011 - 2 comments

The recall elections in Wisconsin over Governor Walker’s attempt to remove collective bargaining for public servants had it all – Republicans running fake Democrats in primaries, massive spending by faceless outside bodies, and two Republican senators losing their seats in the subsequent ballot. Democrats did not succeed in overturning the Wisconsin Senate majority for  Walker’s Republicans, but it is down to one and there is one Republican who voted against the anti-union law.

Electioneering on the public dime?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, June 29th, 2011 - 47 comments

According to Audrey Young: “National and Act, the parties that kicked up a stink in Opposition about Labour’s taxpayer-funded election advertising, are engaging in their own taxpayer-funded binge this month”…

Broadcasting allocations

Written By: - Date published: 3:20 pm, June 1st, 2011 - 21 comments

No Right Turn asks an interesting set of questions about the state allocation of  broadcast media time.

“..if we think TV and radio broadcasting is so influential that it must be restricted to produce a level playing field between parties – which I agree with – why do we allocate it so it produces the opposite?”

Democracy Under Attack!!!

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, December 21st, 2010 - 18 comments

I couldn’t let the last of the year slip away without a fond farewell to the good old Electoral Finance Act.  Last week the government passed its replacement legislation.  It tweaks some thresholds, but retains the principles and much of the substance of Labour’s EFA.  But this time there is no “Democracy Under Attack” campaign.  I wonder why…

Spending Brown

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, December 13th, 2010 - 46 comments

ACT, through Rodney (who’s so careful with the taxpayer’s money) and Jami-Lee Ross, are trying to make an issue with Len Brown’s spending.  I’m shocked…

Where in the world is Wong?

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, November 24th, 2010 - 60 comments

Two Friday’s ago, corrupt Nat Pansy Wong resigns as minister. Key tells her not to talk to media. As if she can’t remember her own overseas trips. Gives her a week’s leave. Wong disappears. Week’s up – no Wong. Where is she? Mallard’s heard she’s overseas. Fundraising for the Nats. Is she using her travel perk?

Meet the new EFA same as the old EFA

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, November 23rd, 2010 - 64 comments

In developing their replacement for the EFA the Nats have decided to limit what lobby groups can spend on election campaigning — despite strongly objecting to limits in 2008.  Interesting how the responsibilities of government mean that the Nats have to repudiate so much of their irresponsible opposition rhetoric!  But some of their spinsters are still stuck in the past…

Electoral finance reform in NSW Parliament

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, November 18th, 2010 - 8 comments

The NSW Parliament has just passed passed the Election Funding and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2010. It includes donations capped at $5,000 for parties and $2,000 for candidates and third parties, all donations over $1,000 declared, caps on expenditure for parties, candidates and third parties, reimbursement of election spending up to a reasonable limit, and provision of funding for policy development.

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