Brian Rudman’s piece in today’s Herald is so far the most sensible comment on the Spencer Trust affair.
He points out that funding of elections in New Zealand has for far too long been vulnerable to the cheque-books of the rich. While some may be philanthropists like Glenn, or occasional players like Jones, others such as Fay, Richwhite and Hawkins have used their influence to buy and strip our national assets.
In this election we have Merrill Lynch advising Australian sharebuyers that there may be windfall gains for Australian Insurance companies in the event of a National win and the privatisation of parts of ACC, as National are briefing behind the scenes.
Rudman makes the point that most other countries guard against this vulnerability by public funding of political parties.
Quite why the rest of our media have swallowed Sir Bob Jones’ story that a cheque made out to the Spencer Trust was meant only to be used by New Zealand First is a mystery. If Sir Bob meant it for New Zealand First why didn’t he make it out to New Zealand First? Then we’d all know he was telling the truth, and Winston would have a case to answer.
Instead it appears the curmudgeonly old raver had too much to drink and signed a blank cheque, which was then made out to the Spencer Trust by one of his staff apparently with his agreement! So whose fault is that?