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Common sense from the Herald – stop the press!

Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, July 30th, 2008 - 59 comments
Categories: articles, election funding - Tags: , , , ,

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?

59 comments on “Common sense from the Herald – stop the press! ”

  1. Of course National voted against this.

    They don’t want state-funding because it would take away their funding advantage that they previously enjoyed through trust-laundered donations.

    So, they sabotaged the EFA’s state-funding clause so that we are left with only its most ruthless (yet necessary) provisions which will likely result in hamstrung campaigns where the conversation is based more on personality than policy.

    Which is better than an even contest of ideas, for them. It was never about democracy, just like with a 2nd MMP referendum, it is about protecting Tory priviledge.

  2. vto 2

    state funding for political parties. ha ha ha. get real.

    Why does the left ALWAYS look to the taxpayer first to pay for whatever their latest hare-brained scheme is. Pay for it yourself.

    Any good idea should be able to stand on its own two feet. If people are not prepared to support those ideas then;

    1. they are clearly worthless ideas; and,

    2. it indicates the esteem that the political system is held in, and if that follows with a consequent weakening and morphing then so be it.

  3. lprent 3

    As an Aucklander, I’d have to say that Rudman is one of the very few reasons to read the Herald. The normal Herald fare really avoids local issues in favour of local headlines (there is a bit of difference in depth).

    Rudman’s regular column on the state of local (ie Auckland) politics is about the only source of any real comment about what is happening around the structural parts of the city. I hope he extends further into the political column area. You can see why when you read this column.

    For a start, he references back to the last study on political reform done in NZ – the 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System. It is interesting to note that the recommendations from that commission are slowly being dragged into the political system. Some came in in 1993, and some in the EFA of 2007. Every change is opposed all of the way by the Nat’s because each leads to more democracy and transparency. Neither are concepts liked by the Nat’s.

    Just as a matter of interest, I’ve never met the guy, but hopefully he’d be a hell of a speaker for drinking liberally regardless of his political persuasion (I’ve never actually figured it out).

  4. lprent 4

    vto: Go and read the royal commissions report. The type of issues you’ve been whining about with NZF (and avoiding discussion with the Waitemata Trust) were predicted 22 years ago in detail.

    Tell me, what do you prefer? Corruption in the political parties or state funding?

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    vto

    I’m interested in what you mean by 2. if you’d care to expand?

    I have plenty of reservations about public funding, but I think that there are ways of keeping it fairly clean.

    Say for example:

    -Make reregistering for the vote compulsory at every election cycle

    -When reregistering voters have a seperate form with a list of all the parties on it, and they ‘vote’ their share of the public funding to whom they choose.

  6. vto 6

    Iprent, my problem with NZF is the sheer gigantuan hypocrisy of Winston Bjeikle-Peterson, not the structure of funding etc. He has been railing against ‘big money’ and ‘secret trusts’ for donkeys and it transpires he has been at it himself all this time. As for getting substantial cheques from the Vela family and being Minister of Racing, well nothing more needs to be said. Peters is a joke. My issue is with him, not the structure.

    Re the actual structure – personally, I will resist public funding completely. The pulling of money from the people needs to stop. You know, STOP.

    If you want to clean it up then simply make every donation and fund raising thingy completely transparent and open to the public. (of course labour avoided that for well-debated reasons, which expose its own double standards. ha.).

    If it was completely open then the people could see who was funding who and any potential conflicts and corruptions. The people could then make up their own minds.

    What is the problem with that?

  7. Stephen 7

    Any good idea should be able to stand on its own two feet. If people are not prepared to support those ideas then;

    1. they are clearly worthless ideas; and,

    That an Obama reference? It’s worked allright over there…hasn’t it..?

  8. vto. If a system allows corruption there will always be people who will be corrupt. You can’t make it so people have no propensity to be corrupt, you can make it so a system is not (as) open to corruption. you can’t change human nature, you can change human institutions to get the best out of our nature.

    (not that I’m saying Peters is corrupt, there’s simply no evidence to make a conclusion and while I would like to see him open up the Spencer Trust, I think National muct also do the same.)

  9. vto 9

    Pascal’s bookie, what I meant by “2. it indicates the esteem that the political system is held in, and if that follows with a consequent weakening and morphing then so be it.” was exactly that.

    If people are not willing to donate or become members of a particular party then they clearly consider that party is of little relevance to them. If it transpires that that party has ideas that would further their interests then it is of relevance and if the party needed support I am sure the people would support it.

    If it transpires that little such funding comes forth, right across all parties, then my point was that the people would obviously consider the current political structure to be of little relevance to them. That would be a good thing because it would, hopefully, weaken the ridiculous amount of power that resides in the govt. Give the power back to the people.

    Funding by the people is democratic. Funding by the state is considerably less democratic and is a further transfer of power from the people to the state. = bad.

  10. Good comment by Rudman and good on the Herald for printing this. To compound things Fran O’Sullivan wrote what I believe is the first column of hers that I have ever agreed with. She talked about National “flip flops”, how National will have to borrow to fund tax cuts and how Key ought to come clean and announce policy, particularly economic policy, soon. Rudman is normally sensible but Fran’s comments are a revelation.

    My sense of reality is upset. Are the opposition now conceding that a Labour/Green coalition is the best for our country and that civilised democratic policies such as state funding of political parties should be supported?

  11. vto 11

    SP, Peters simply needs to say that the $25,000 paid by Jones was used for NZF purposes.

    No trusts need to be opened up. No great complicated things need to happen. He simply needs to say what the money was used for. The fact that is impossible for him to answer is all the answer needed for me.

    (I agree completely re human nature’s operation within institutions)

  12. mickysavage. I think Fran is saying that winning isn’t worth any sacrifice. Unlike a lot of the righties here and around the ‘net who tell themeselves they are perfectly content not to know what Key stands for, what policies would be in place, other than those they’re taking from Labour, what the plan to lift wages is… because all that matters for them is winning, getting the Left out of power.

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    I think just about everyone here agrees that making donations over certain low threshold transparent is a must, vto. But do you actually think that National would be okay with that?

    Gigantuan – Did you mean gigantean, gigantic or gargantuan?

  14. lprent 14

    vto:

    If people are not willing to donate or become members of a particular party then they clearly consider that party is of little relevance to them.

    In which case the funding should also be fully transparent. Any donations including indirectly through fund raisers over a certain size should be listed to a person, family or company. Otherwise there is a significant probability that undue influence can be had within a party using an anonymous donation to conceal the corruption.

    Obviously under your criteria, if they’re willing to donate, then they should be willing to stand by their donation in public.

    Do you agree with that?

  15. vto 15

    ha ha QtR, no I meant gigantuan. Just a made up word I thought sounded good. Seems common in these days of text and laptop lingo to make up words.

    Re whether National would be ok with that I have no idea. It is just my opinion. I suspect any large backers that figure that they may currently get some influence thru their donations, would simply shrug their shoulders and adjust to the new rules.

    Surely the easiest way thru this mess is simple complete transparency.

  16. vto 16

    I imagine the problem with complete transparency, which Iprent touched on, is whether donors would be happy to be known publicly. Anon has a role in the political process, due to the emotions and risks associated with politics. Some people simply do not discuss politics. What’s that saying about the two subjects to avoid at a party being religion and politics? And look at the heavy violence associated with politics in other parts of the world.

    So, there would be some problems arise with complete transparency – namely reluctance of people to be involved, in this case through donation.

    However I suspect that larger donors would donate anyway, and probably donate relatively equally across the spectrum. As it seems they do now. Perhaps it should be a case of ‘suck and see’. i.e. put in place complete transparency and see how NZ society reacts. The limits on the amount that can be spent should be relatively low anyway, so should be easily achieved.

  17. MikeE 17

    So instead of allowing people to voluntarily support political parties that they support, they should be FORCED to support those who they disagree with.

    Not only this, but any system of public funding favors the incumbents over challengers.

    Please explain why this is a good idea?

  18. ChocolateMustBeLiquid 18

    Personally, I don’t really buy the idea that big money can buy an election. I don’t know, maybe influence it, but this idea seems to assume that all voters are inherently gullible and will automatically be swayed by a flash campaign. I also don’t agree that the taxpayer should fund election campaigns, I am somewhat suspicious that this is a result of parties not been able to raise the sort of funds they would like to have at their disposal. The Electoral Finance Act seems to me a flawed an overly complicated piece of legislation, from my understanding it came about because of the Exclusive Bretheren campaign against Labour and the Greens at the last election. But then never did quite understand what was supposed to be so bad about the Exclusive Bretheren campaigning, irregardless of whether you agree with them or not, they still should have the right to have a voice.

    [you don’t have even a basic understanding of the issues at play. The Exclusive Brethern did have a right to have a voice, but it was wrong of them attempt to swing the election with $1 million in spending using secret names, not declaring who they were, and secretly coordinating with National – effectively allowing National to breach it’s spending cap. Money buys advertising, if advertising didn’t influence voters’ decisions, parties wouldn’t bother spending their money on it and going through all the effort of raising that money. I re-named you because, being close to people whose families were liquidated, I find your pseudonym sickening. SP]

    [lprent: That is the Liquidated guy – I heartily agree. I’ll rename everything that he has put on the blog. I find the name highly offensive. The comments look like they were written by someone who really doesn’t understand much about politics either – but they can probably be learn about that (eventually) if they hang aroubd here.. ]

  19. Rex Widerstrom 19

    On principle I don’t like the idea of people being forced to fund a political system in which they have little confidence. When does a party qualify as a credible political force? And more to the point in light of recent events, when do they stop having the credibility necessary to qualify?

    But on a practical level, we’re a small country so if it were left to the percentage of us interested enough in politics to donate, there probably wouldn’t be enough money to run an effective democracy.

    So how about this? Only donations below a ridiculously small amount (I think $200 has been suggested by some posters here, I think that’s a reasonable level) be anonymous.

    But that public funding be by way of “matching funds” based on the amount raised by each party. Whether that was 1 for 1 or 2 for 1 or some other formula is moot. The effect would be to tie the amount of public funds as directly as possible to support for a party over the immediately previous term of Parliament, as opposed to formulae that refer to previous vote, number of seats etc.

    A similar system applies in the US (though can be opted out of, alas).

  20. Quoth the Raven 20

    Surely the easiest way thru this mess is simple complete transparency.
    Perhaps it should be a case of ‘suck and see’. i.e. put in place complete transparency and see how NZ society reacts.

    I absolutely agree.

  21. lprent 21

    I’d be happy with that. I suspect that it will drop the funding levels WAY down.

    There would also have to be restrictions on anon in other fund raising efforts. For instance charity auctions, plate dinners, etc. I’ve brought various items at vastly inflated prices at various times to support my favourite party.

    I’d expect to have some very interesting discussions if (yeah right) this ever gets on to the political agenda.

    In te end it still doesn’t affect what happened back in 2005. Bearing in mind that the Nat’s are still sitting on that funding warchest they got from the Waitemata trust, I’d like to know who contributed to it.

  22. vto 22

    Iprent this will make the political agenda if the public gets even the slightest whiff that state funding could become even remotely possible. imo state funding would go down like the proverbial cup of cold sick.

  23. vto 23

    Another obstacle to all this – how on earth could we let the politicians make the rules about themselves? That is why the EFA went to crap imo.

  24. lprent 24

    Who are you going to let decide it?

    Talkback radio listeners – that lets out almost all of the taxpayers.
    Online polls – I have a little program…
    Polls – yep thats a really random sample – yeah right.
    Referendum – The last time they had a idiot level proposition and voted without understanding the costs (1993). I’ll agree if each voter passes this test first so they understand the 50 page proposition known as the electoral act.

    etc….

    Ultimately there are only two ways you can really do it.

    Something like a royal commission (last one said public funding) or representatives of some kind.

  25. lprent 25

    BTW: I’d also add that if the politicians had followed the recommendations of the 1986 commission rather than just cherry picking the bits out of it that they liked, then we’d have a much more rational electoral system.

  26. Phil 26

    “While some may be philanthropists like Glenn, … others … used their influence to buy and strip our national assets”

    That’s Gold! Wealthy donors to Labour are “philanthropists” while wealthy donors to National are assets strippers.

    We’re you another Crosby-Textor intern who ended up posting on The Standard?

  27. Draco TB 27

    Any good idea should be able to stand on its own two feet. If people are not prepared to support those ideas then;

    1. they are clearly worthless ideas; and,

    Or, much more likely, people have never heard of the party nvm the parties ideas because they just don’t have enough funds to advertise.

    2. it indicates the esteem that the political system is held in, and if that follows with a consequent weakening and morphing then so be it.

    Or it indicates that people just don’t have enough time to engage with the political system (which would be the death of democracy in the country).

    If it was completely open then the people could see who was funding who and any potential conflicts and corruptions. The people could then make up their own minds.

    What is the problem with that?

    Far too complicated and costly. How many people now look at the funding lists published by the parties? How many are adequately reported by the media?

    Funding by the people is democratic. Funding by the state is considerably less democratic and is a further transfer of power from the people to the state. = bad.

    Last time I looked we lived in a democracy and not a dictatorship. Don’t know why but people always make the government out to be something ‘other’ and disassociated from them.

    If we want a democracy that works for everyone then all parties need to be equally publicly funded so that they can all be heard equally. Voluntary donations will never achieve this. Public funding on a 1 for 1 (etc) basis will be significantly biased in favour of the party that can raise the most voluntary donations. Such funding is a basic requirement of democracy and if we don’t have it then we drift further toward a dictatorship/oligarchy.

    I’d also add that if the politicians had followed the recommendations of the 1986 commission rather than just cherry picking the bits out of it that they liked, then we’d have a much more rational electoral system.

    QFT

  28. lprent 28

    Phil:

    That’s Gold! Wealthy donors to Labour are “philanthropists’ while wealthy donors to National are assets strippers.

    This is GOLD – prove me wrong on this statement:-

    The very large anonymous loans to National (by value) are mostly from asset strippers intent on corrupting the next National government. THey do this by telling selected national party members what they want and how much they are willing to donate. Then they donate that amount. Hell doing it that way was probably legal under the legislation that they wrote for themselves in 1993.

    You can’t prove that that didn’t happen (and still isn’t) because you don’t know who they were and how much they gave.

    Most donations by value to the NZLP are public – like Owen Glenn.

  29. vto 29

    Sheesh Iprent, that’s a classic..

    “prove me wrong on this ” followed after this by

    “You can’t prove that that didn’t happen”

    Draco, I think I might have it! Make it so only the individual real person can donate. And anything over anything quite small or zero is public. Easy. One person one vote after all.

  30. Felix 30

    phil your mock-outrage would have a faintly more truthful ring to it if Owen Glen was not a philanthropist and Fay & Richwhite were not asset strippers…

  31. Pascal's bookie 31

    So I’m guessing that there is some really obvious draw back that I’m not seeing in just allocating every registered voter, say, twenty bucks of public funding that they can direct, anonymously or not, to a party of their choice.

    Advantages:

    1) Politicians don’t get to decide how the dosh is divvied up, the people do. Directly.

    2) Much less incumbency bias. Citizens can give their twenty bucks to any party, in or out of parliament. Registered party = eligible for citizen directed public funding. I’d expect a lot of people would be giving the money to parties they want to hear more from, rather than just partisan ‘giving it the team I usually vote for’. This I think would direct money away from incumbents and majors, keeping them on their toes.

    3) Smaller parties don’t get shafted (at this stage) by the effect of many of their potential voters voting for a party more likely to get over the 5% barrier. If a minnow fringe outfit gets 1000 folks blessings, that’s 20k to try and get more organised.

    4) It’s another actual decision for voters to make, which can only help them get more engaged. Who knows you might even see party membership increase.

    4) Parties would need citizens to get engaged in order to maximise their funding. If they feck about too much the funds dry up as well as the votes. Put the feckers over our barrel for a change.

    That’s off the top of my head. I’m sure there are logistical problems, but I don’t think it could be that hard.

    2c etc.

  32. burt 32

    John A

    So Winston appears to be have been caught doing exactly the same sort of thing that supporters of the corrupt Labour-led govt insisted Brash should resign over. And what do supporters corrupt Labour-led govt do?

    Defend him… Ha ha ha – It’s OK when Labour or one of their poodles do it – not acceptable when it’s the opposition.

    What a basket case this govt and it’s supporters have become.

  33. Pascal's bookie 33

    So Winston’s leadership of the NZFarce party was bought and paid for by the Business Round Table in a “No Winnie, No Pennies” deal?

    Crikey.

    Cite?

  34. randal 34

    hahaha burt yes indeedy..big bad winnie took it all on the chin and walked away wiping the grease off. why are you making ludicrous allegations the only substance of your arguments. why are you letting yuur turn to participate in this democracy descend into piffle. why why why…

  35. lprent 35

    vto:

    Sheesh Iprent, that’s a classic..

    Yeah it got interrupted in the middle by non-blogging… Made it mildly incoherent. You get my point though?

  36. Rex Widerstrom 36

    Pascal’s bookie: The “$20 to each voter to give to the party of their choice” is bloody brilliant. I hereby withdraw my “matching funds idea” and wholeheartedly support yours.

    Of course it’d have to be a nominal amount, not cash, or no one would ever part with the damn thing!

    (Now wait till some lefty objects to it on the basis it’s a ‘voucher system’ 😉 LOL)

  37. Felix 37

    Burt stop using up all the html on silly things or there won’t be any left when we want to use it for something relevant.

  38. burt 38

    Rex Wilderstorm

    Giving people a voucher to spend would give them the chance to vote with the voucher. Then vote with their vote. It would quite possibly have a double whammy effect when a swing in popularity has occurred. Can’t see this govt passing it under urgency like they did the EFA, which still allows for large anonymous donations and use of trusts. Go Winston, go the Labour-led govt – cleaning up political funding debacles by validating and/or denying them.

  39. burt 39

    Felix

    Winston Peters and Labour banged on about National and how it used trusts while telling us why we needed the EFA. The Labour-led govt want us to believe that they have put an end to all of this. But on the face of it it looks like the EFA makes little if any difference to the legality of what Winston appears to have been doing.

    If the best you can do to take a position against that is critique my use of HTML then that’s fine. However perhaps you could answer me this one question.

    Do you agree that when John A says;

    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.

    That he glosses over the issues that it’s not about ‘others did it too – so Winston is blameless’ and it’s probably still entirely legal under the glorious EFA recently passed under urgency?

  40. Swampy 40

    Ahh, right… this blog is supporting Winston Peters now? Yeah right! When are we going to see critique of Winston’s party policies like we do of National? Is this blog anything else other than solely focused on attacking the National party?

    Sir Robert has several NZ First employees to support his side of the argument.

  41. Swampy 41

    “The Exclusive Brethern did have a right to have a voice, but it was wrong of them attempt to swing the election with $1 million in spending using secret names, not declaring who they were, and secretly coordinating with National – effectively allowing National to breach it’s spending cap. ”

    Based on so called “evidence” that would not stand up in a court of law. If anyone believes that to be true, let them take it to court and see if it has any greater standing than hearsay – which I doubt.

    What was established as fact was that in that election campaign, as the Auditor General reported, a number of parties misappropriated public moneys – including NZ First, which has not repaid nearly $160,000, and Labour, which did eventually repay over $800,000. However, there was no court case so I suppose you could argue that the evidence here was not of legal veracity, either, but all the parties except Winston’s repaid the sums identified.

  42. Swampy 42

    “Most donations by value to the NZLP are public – like Owen Glenn.”

    How much is donated by the unions, and do they ask Labour for policies?

  43. burt 43

    We must also not forget that when the $1,000,000+ combined overspend came to light the response from the Labour-led govt was that it made no difference to the outcome of the election – and validated it.

    So, somebody please explain how big money can buy an election when $1,000,000+ makes no difference?

    $158,000 made no difference to Winston? $800,000 made no difference to Labour?

  44. burt 44

    We must also not forget that when the $1m plus combined overspend came to light the response from the Labour-led govt was that it made no difference to the outcome of the election – and validated it.

    So, somebody please explain how big money can buy an election when $1m plus makes no difference?

    An unknown amount of money made no difference to Winston? $800,000 made no difference to Labour?

    How is Winston’s repayment of the $158,000 to parliamentary services coming along?

  45. Anita 45

    Swampy,

    How much is donated by the unions

    Everything you ever wanted to know is here 🙂

  46. Blar 46

    “New Zealand Labour Party Toll NZ Consolidated Ltd, Cnr Northcote Rd & Taharoto Drive, Takapuna, Auckland $25,000.00”

    Toll gives tens of thousands of dollars to the Labour Party. Labour does a sweetheart deal with Toll, providing its Australian shareholders with a $200 million windfall overnight and a sweetheart deal on top of that. That’s what I call crooked.

    Now how much did Toll put through the Labour party’s trusts?

  47. burt 47

    Blar

    That’s baseless allegations, don’t come in here on a fishing trip.

    The Voice of Winston ©

  48. Anita 48

    Blar,

    Toll gave National exactly the same amount.

  49. burt 49

    Anita

    I guess Toll were backing both horses in the two horse race we call NZ politics. Winston was clearly the overseeing Minister of racing ready to collect the baubles from either.

    The issue is not that National also received money from Toll, it is would National have paid hundreds of millions over the book value for an asset they claim is rundown?

  50. RedLogix 50

    So, somebody please explain how big money can buy an election when $1m plus makes no difference?

    OK so let me see if I have this right. Spending up large on election campaigns apparently makes no difference to the result.

    Therefore National, who spends up big on election campaigns, is wasting its money on worthless advertising.

    And you also want me to believe that if National gets to sit on the Treasury benches they will be so much better than any other party at NOT wasting taxpayers money on worthless things.

  51. lprent 51

    Blar:
    Beats me – but I can give you some maximums since say 1993, and it will be less than 20% of what they could have given National.

    Besides, from what I’ve seen of most of the corporates, their published donations are usually across the whole spectrum, and usually the same to national as they give to labour.

    Fundamentally anonymous donations are potentially corrosive to NZ democracy. That is what the ‘right’ have been saying here for the last week or so about Winston.

    I agree – now lets open ALL of the donations up, not just selected ones. Lets start with the biggest – National should publish the donors to the Waitemata Trust in 2005. What was it $2 million? The rabid right have been worrying about $25 thousand with the Spencer trust!

    Give me a break – look at the biggest problem first

  52. RedLogix 52

    The issue is not that National also received money from toll, it is would National have paid hundreds of millions over the book value for an asset they claim is rundown?

    Book value is not the same thing as market value. And as you know perfectly well, a market in which there is only ONE seller and ONE buyer for a ONE time purchase of ONE asset only, is not likely to be especially efficient.

    Or to put this more directly, the Govt willingly paid a price that Toll was willing to sell at. That is called a market price. Do you have a problem with that?

    On the other hand if you have ANY real evidence whatsoever that Toll executives were involved in ANY corrupt practise around this sale, it is absolutely incumbent on you to produce hard data now, or retract.

    PS Your idle speculations and assertions are not accepted as evidence.

  53. burt 53

    RedLogix

    That’s interesting, I also think National will not be free of waste, but I don’t see how that explains how big money effects electoral outcomes.

  54. Blar 54

    “Toll gave National exactly the same amount.”

    And?

  55. Felix 55

    burt. When did I “take a position against”… what??

    I’m just sick of seeing you waste html. There won’t be any left for our children and their children.

  56. burt 56

    RedLogix

    On the other hand if you have ANY real evidence whatsoever that Toll executives were involved in ANY corrupt practise around this sale, it is absolutely incumbent on you to produce hard data now, or retract.

    I think you are getting my comments mixed up with other commenter’s insinuations. Perhaps you could retract that request for a retraction or be more specific about what allegations I’m making?

  57. RedLogix 57

    Burt,

    Sorry you are right, I read into your lines, more than you intended.

    Blar

    Toll gives tens of thousands of dollars to the Labour Party. Labour does a sweetheart deal with Toll, providing its Australian shareholders with a $200 million windfall overnight and a sweetheart deal on top of that. That’s what I call crooked.

    Why?

    Any evidence? Other than your completely uninformed assertion?

    And if it was all such a crooked ‘sweetheart deal’ as you assert, then why did both parties spend the best part of 18 months or more locked in difficult, exhausting negotiations?

    And if perchance the Govt had turned around and asserted it’s legislative power to nationalise the rail asset back off Toll for less than it’s book value (thereby saving the taxpayer some monies), no doubt you would be here preaching the absolute sanctity of private property rights and making accusations of theft from Toll shareholder’s.

  58. vto 58

    I still think my idea of banning all but actual people from donating to parties has something serious going for it. Not companies, not unions, not associations, not brethrens, not sisterhoods, not this, nt that, just actual people.

    After all, companies dont have a vote, unions dont have a vote. Only individual people have a vote.

  59. Draco TB 59

    So I’m guessing that there is some really obvious draw back that I’m not seeing in just allocating every registered voter, say, twenty bucks of public funding that they can direct, anonymously or not, to a party of their choice.

    Still has the problem that the parties need to advertise their presence and policies before people can make an informed decision on who to direct the money to.
    What percentage of the public know that there are 20 registered parties? Hell, how many people reading this blog knew that?

    One of the biggest problems with our democracy ATM is that people aren’t making informed decisions because they’re not fully informed. As far as political parties go the only way to correct that is through full public funding of the parties.

    After all, companies dont have a vote, unions dont have a vote. Only individual people have a vote.

    Yeah, I though of that as well but it still doesn’t address the problem of people knowing that the parties exist or what they stand for and is still open to corruption.

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