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Hypocrites

Written By: - Date published: 7:37 am, November 22nd, 2019 - 57 comments
Categories: election funding, elections, electoral systems, national, nz first, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized - Tags: ,

So to recap.

There is a major party accused of running a Foundation that means it can hide the identity of donors and present a misleading picture to the public.  And during the last election it funnelled most of its payments for electorate campaigns through this foundation.

And it’s leader received a donation from an individual but for whatever reason filed a return that hid the identity of the donor.

And so suspicious is this party’s activity in relation to the receipt of donations it is being investigated by a Government agency.

Ladies and gentlemen I am not talking about New Zealand First, I am talking about the National Party.

Here is the website for its foundation.

Its attempts to hide the source of donations has gone on for a while.

I noted previously how during the 2014 election campaign the total amount of donations declared by National candidates was $1.262 million and over 80% of this was funded from National Head Office.

In 2017 things were similar.

Of course the Foundation is not there to hide the identity of all donors.  When the situation demands National is prepared to change the way donations are treated so that the existence of the donation and the identity of the donor are hidden, at least for a while.

And I wondered how the Foundation handled the receipt of seven identical $14,000 donations with a $2,000 donation on top that magically added up to $100,000 the apparent going price for a list MP’s position.

So National’s faux outrage concerning NZ First’s foundation is pretty hypocritical.

Its own practice means that the vast majority of donations to electorate campaigns are from their pet foundation and suddenly the threshold for disclosing the donor’s identity becomes $15,000 not $1,500

By all means let us have a discussion about the current disclosure regime and what should be done to change it. The discussion could start with National admitting that it has been bending the rules. To the breaking point.

57 comments on “Hypocrites ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    NZ First's hubris will do them down on this. Who on God's good earth thought it would be a good idea to give that self-important wind bag Nick Smith a chance to play the vulnerable martyr and breath new life into the story for the media hyenas who clearly have it in for NZ First?

    • greywarshark 1.1

      Nick mith was howling at the moon on Radionz this morning apparently in all sincerity of outrage and disturbed about loss of probity in politics etc etc. He is so sycophantic to National and his supporters, such a broken reed and such a con artist to the electorate for his connections.

      • Dukeofurl 1.1.1

        Nick Smith:

        Convicted of witness tampering in a District court case

        Convicted of contempt for publicising a family court dispute

        Mr Credibility .

        Yet when Bridges and Bennett threaten the media with defamation law , ( it was her DPB history and his handling of donations) it flies under the radar

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      Do you blame the media for having it in for NZ First?

      Winston (and to a lesser degree Shane) treats the media with utter contempt. So when he gets caught out (as he inevitably does every time he is in government), the media is going to hammer him, as they should.

      Threatening your political opponents and the media with legal action if they don't shut up really shows the pettiness of these people.

      How about he just answers the media's questions with straight answers.

      With Winston gone we will be left with a Labour Green government that will finally bring about the transformational changes that the current government is failing so badly to deliver.

      The sooner Winston is gone forever the better New Zealand politics will be forever.

      It is my hope that this will finally sink him and his cronies.

      • Dukeofurl 1.2.1

        There wont be a Labour- Green government….thats called opposition.

        reality means if NZF is back in parliament , Labour will include them as part of having as many coalition partners as possible. Thats how MMP works successfully as Clark and Key showed.

        • Enough is Enough 1.2.1.1

          That's a bold prediction.

          By my calculations (based on most recent polls) Labour and Greens combined beats National Act

          • Dukeofurl 1.2.1.1.1

            Calculations, based on polls, showed Australian Labour as the election winner too.

            If NZF is back in parliament – and Labour makes government they still will include NZF. Politics means they will want to play the partners off against each other. Perhaps you are thinking of less high stakes situations.

            National has strategic plans to knock Greens out too.

            On the other hand , since about 2010 media generated scandals dont really affect core voters. Trump shows that.

            NZ First dont care about the 94% of voters who dont tick them.

            But I dont know the results 1 yr away.

        • Sacha 1.2.1.2

          if NZF is back in parliament

          Indeed

  2. Dirk Dirkin 2

    Will the media report this?

    More chance of me winning lotto

    • Dukeofurl 2.1

      Theres the suggestion that the source of the leaks from NZF was a former top official who left under a cloud .

      Will Melanie Reid be running stories on this leakers 'office relationships' like she did when Jami-Lee Ross was telling the media about Nationals closests secrets.

      More chance of winning Lotto

  3. tc 3

    Gives Ardern an opportunity to put them both to the sword in the interests of transparency. Good timing IMO the way Blojo, the donald and others have been shown to serve their backers by a better media elsewhere.

    I reckon she's got nothing to lose as it was National who fiddled the EFA for their own ends after bleating on about it needing to be repealed as part of the nanny state meme they went with to get Clark out.

    The sheeple being reminding who really benefitted from those changes and the duplicitous nature of national over the next 12 months would be nice.

    • Dukeofurl 3.1

      You do mean ' put to the sword in interests of transparency' like the National party did with Barclay

  4. AB 4

    Right wing hypocrisy? Quelle horreur! And such a surprise that those lovely people in National don't play an honest game! And shock of shocks, their grinning dim-witted enablers throughout the media are chiming in to help! I need a lie down or else I might stop being so nice.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      Please conserve yourself AB and reserve sufficient energies to keep looking at the farce even though the story is repetitive out of Grim Fairy Tales (Political Version).

      What about the secrecy behind John Key's blind trust – if the National Party appear to be transparent, ever, one needs to look to the side and see what attention is being distracted from.

  5. Anne 5

    And guess what? The skulduggery goes aaaallll the way back to good ole Kiwi Keith, Keith Holyoake.

    In fact National masterminded the art of dishonest fiscal practices (for personal gain) and established the standard for others to follow.

    Sometime in the 1960s, a large parcel of land was quietly set aside by the Holyoake govt, for a new University in Albany, Auckland. It was coincidence of course 🙄 but Holyoake decided to buy a chunk of land for himself close to where the proposed university was going to be built. After the public announcement of the new university an enterprising investigative journalist did some investigating and discovered the Holyoake purchase.

    I recall my father going ballistic with rage about it and drumming it into me… that is why you should never vote National. They can't be trusted!

    • Sacha 5.1

      Holyoake had other dodgy dealings: http://werewolf.co.nz/2012/04/public-office-private-gain/

      And Colonel Trotter outlines NZ’s historic political corruption as context for Winston’s current woes: http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-second-and-final-crucifixion-of.html

      Throughout New Zealand’s brief history, conservative parties and crony capitalism have marched together in lock-step. In such a tiny society how could they not? Only the state has ever had access to the huge capital resources required to facilitate economic development. For capitalists, large and small, that meant securing their desired economic outcomes by cultivating mutually beneficial political relationships. Naturally, the individuals, businesses, and political parties involved in this activity were not at all keen to have their behaviour trumpeted from the roof-tops. If deals needed to be done, it was overwhelmingly in the interests of all parties that they be done in secret.

      • Dukeofurl 5.1.1

        Yes. We can see now that NZME has approached the government about getting their merger with Stuff done by government fiat and ignore the competition laws… would they have been told ..join the queue.

        The Banks want the RBNZ regulator off their back too and Im sure the insurance industry who the RBNZ has said will be next for a closer look will be lobbying furiously

  6. Sabine 6

    So Labour / Greens / (NZF) are gonna go out there and put forward a law that promotes public finance only?

    I mean they should have done that a long time a go….but now surely they will do something?

    • greywarshark 6.1

      +100

      Can Labour be dragged off their bums if they are threatened with The Comfy Chair? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAxkcPoLYcQ

      I think that the Labour Coalition are afraid that if they make any practical moves that change things for the better they will, gulp, be devilled by the Spanish Inquisition as in the 16th? century. Whereas actually, The Comfy Chair is just being hit with soft cushions and a short period of isolation to reflect on their shortcomings with a cup of coffee at 11 a.m.

      Nothing to fear here Labour pollies, but you do have to move from one chair to another. Please can you steel yourself to take this giant step for NZ-kind!

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        This sounds interesting from UK Labour about their manifesto. Would that be of interest here?

        General election 2019: Labour launches 'radical' manifesto

        What is in the Labour manifesto?

        • £75bn to build 150,000 new council and social homes a year, within five years
        • An immediate 5% pay rise for public sector workers, with year-on-year above-inflation pay rises to follow
        • Introducing a "real living wage" of at least £10 an hour
        • Reviewing the retirement age for people in hard manual jobs
        • Introducing a second homes tax
        • Reversing inheritance tax cuts and imposing VAT on private school fees
        • Giving EU nationals living in UK the automatic right to stay
        • Reinstating 3,000 bus routes that have been cut
        • Free broadband for all, delivered by part-nationalising BT
        • A £3bn plan to offer adults in England free access to retraining
        • A pledge to reduce all primary school classes to fewer than 30 children
        • Free personal at-home care in England for over-65s most in need of it
        • A pledge to renew the Trident nuclear deterrent and spend at least 2% of GDP on defence
        • Reducing the voting age to 16
        • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50497288
    • Anne 6.2

      Sabine, up until now it was political suicide to even hint at public funding of election campaigns. Labour did try to 'educate' the voters in the past, but they wouldn't have a bar of it.

      It can take voters decades to catch up with reality.

      • Sabine 6.2.1

        no guts no glory.

        seriously at what stage do we demand that these guys 'be better' ?

        Cause with that attitude nothing is happening. And nothing will be happening.

        Cause everyone does it. Its just that some do it better then other.

        And yes, Labour / Green could simply go out there and say " The other option is public finance and we are personally for it" . But that would take guts and it seems that our complete political landscape is populated by people who have no guts, no spine, no courage, no conviction no nothing other then a pressing need to get 're-elected to do the stuff we so far have steadfast refused to do.

        At least to have this discussed and National / NZFirst etc be public about opposing it.

        NO guts, No Glory, No re-election! – see the Democratic Party in the US, Laobur in England, SPD in Germany and so on and so forth.

      • Dukeofurl 6.2.2

        Not so. Funding of political parties in parliament is $120 mill per year, yes its 'parliamentary purposes' but thats meaningless now as they campaign all year , every year.

        There is plenty of election funding as well, millions for the 'broadcasting' side , which is now allowed to be spent on social media as well.

        • solkta 6.2.2.1

          but thats meaningless now as they campaign all year

          Obviously you have never played an active role in a political party and had to get your head around the difference between what is parliamentary and what is party.

          • Dukeofurl 6.2.2.1.1

            Do people still play charades any more ? From those that work for National they dont seem to bother.

            They used a truck to drive this loophole-

            "There are no rules against support staff doing party or political work in their own time." They would say that when the PS is breathing down their neck . This is another way the Nats bend the rules, a weak cover story is accepted by the main media, no more questions asked.

            Some current MPs used to work in another Mps electorate office while they campaigned for a nearby seat ( but only ahead of the formal election period) , this is one of the reason the Nats gave notice of election date long in advance.

            • solkta 6.2.2.1.1.1

              I can assure you that MP support staff work extremely hard trying to get all their legit work done within payed hours. People take these jobs because they have an interest in politics – it is not a "weak cover story" to suggest that they donate some of their own time for party stuff. Yes sometimes rules do get bent, but this is not significant overall.

              • Dukeofurl

                Im sure you are right ..for the conscientious. And of course there is plenty of real constituents being helped.

                But in electorate offices and those that work in Parliament offices are there too make the Mp is re-elected . Their job might depend on it !

                It was a while back when ACT had a 6 or 7 list Mps . All had electorate funded offices in the same building in Wellington, which also was the Party HQ. As long as an appearance of being inside 'the rules' is done, sleeping dogs are left to lie

                In The US , Congress members cant even use the same taxpayer funded building for fund raising as they knew rules would be bent

  7. mosa 7

    Adern should be taking a tough line here.

    National have already started their camapign to involve her and she could show unlike them she is prepared to act to provide the most transparent government ever.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2019/11/winston-is-pms-problem.html

    • riffer 7.1

      Oh bollocks.

      I'm so over people reporting the right wing rubbish that Jacinda Adern should take a hard line on coalition partners. It's a recipe for coalition disharmony, and completely and utterly unneeded. The matter is being dealt with. It's a party problem for NZF and she is quite rightly staying well out of it.

      If, at any stage it turns out that NZF have an issue proven where they cant possibly be in parliament any more then she should deal with it. But not before then.

      Exactly like should be done with National should the current mess with the SFO amount to anything.

      • Anne 7.1.1

        Excellent. Well said. Thank-you riffer.

      • veutoviper 7.1.2

        Well said riffer.

        There are surprising numbers of people who come here to TS as a political blog who have no idea of how our form of democracy and parliamentary procedure, including MMP, electoral law etc work – and show it in their ignorant comments. I also think Idiot/Savant also needs to do a bit more homework.

        Sure as he says, "Ultimately, Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour" – but only their behaviour in their role as a Minister and not in their role as a Member for, or Leader of, another political party.

        Both as the PM and as the Leader of a Political Party, Jacinda Ardern would be completely outside NZ electoral law and parliamentary procedure to attempt to censor or in any way involve herself in the actions of another Leader or Member of another Political Party. * See EDIT

        Jacinda Ardern made this very clear in her answers to Simon Bridges under Question 2 in Question Time on Wednesday, 20 November.

        I suggest everyone who thinks otherwise watch the following video where she makes these points over and over to Bridges. The 10 minute video starts with some calling of Bridges' bluff to his primary question but from 03.20 onwards she makes it very clear three times to his repeating the same question that she would be totally outside her rights and that the appropriate authority/arbiter of electoral law is the Electoral Commission – and that Peters as Leader of NZF was working with the Commission in this regard.

        https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=210076

        I also include the Hansard record for those who wish to see the actual words in writing.

        https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/document/HansS_20191120_050850000/2-question-no-2-prime-minister

        * EDIT – And that is exactly what Bridges and Co have been attempting to get JA to do.

  8. Dukeofurl 8

    You should have seen the money donated to Bidois for the Northcote by -election , around $135,000 .

    Thats really serious money, unheard of for a by election in a safe seat.

    Every cent including the 4 cents that wasnt a whole dollar came from the NZ National Party , which laundered all the money from individual donors.

  9. Karol121 9

    Accusations, leaks and quantum:

    Personally, from a leaks and accusations standpoint, those emanating from within state sector in relation to the role and conduct of those within the central government system leak should each be reviewed on overall merit and on an individual case by case basis.

    Such, taking in to consideration all relevant factors, including whether or not the disclosure is political or idealist motivated, or even whether such disclosure is identified as relating to some personal grievance issue.

    Under NZ law, there is always the Protected Disclosures Act for internal reporting of matters which might be considered inappropriate or an issue from either a national interest or general public interest perspective. But it is not always considered to be an effective remedy.

    Political actions or actions often land in that which is considered grey area.

    That which is central government domain and responsibility, and that which is solely political government domain and responsibility is often difficult to distinguish.

    The Department of PM and Cabinet (a state agency) has often been considered somewhere in between the two by many people.

    Crown ministers and those politically appointed to senior positions by the government of the day, ditto, in between. The latter (as appointees) often being seen as "gofors" of political government sole, in relation to such positions.

    To the point, and in relation to this discussion thread.

    Is a political party a political government? Is a political party a state agency?

    The answer should be obvious.

    So, in relation to "special disclosure management" treatment pertaining to political funding for any one party, why ever should there be any special consideration whatsoever?

    On whistle blowing individuals hoping to publicly identify party issues which appear to fall well outside of appropriate conduct by political parties and their supporters, who would not forgive or not morally support a whistle blower or two alerting media or others to such valid concerns?

    What is clearly highlighted is that yes, it certainly appears that National have also been well and truly "in to it", (political funding high jinks that is), jodhpur boots and all.

    So perhaps New Zealand First have just been playing second fiddle copy cat in relation to such antics.

    I observe that during an interview recently, Winston Peters indicated scant knowledge of the reported warning letter from Mr Henry to Mr Smith, mentioning a civil proceedings figure of $30,000,000 E&OE (Errors & Omissions Excluded).

    Boy, just imagine.

    If the foundation could prove damages to the party itself, be rewarded in joinder with the foundation with such a princely sum, and then actually collect all of that loot, New Zealand First as a party probably wouldn't have to be bothered with much, if any future campaign funding requests.

    They'd probably be as financially affluent as so many other Aga Khan “would be if they could” be types.

    • Dukeofurl 9.1

      "Winston Peters indicated scant knowledge of the reported warning letter from Mr Henry to Mr Smith, mentioning a civil proceedings"

      I may have known that Brian Henry was sending his a legal letter ( but hes barrister so hardly needs advice) but not the details. After all the NZFP entitys run by David Henry from the wood processing side of the family isnt really Peters concern , and from a political point of view wouldnt want to know.

  10. xanthe 10

    My view is that the media are waaay out of line on this . Winston has suggested that he might "sort them out" over this and i really do hope he does!

    I am disgusted with this sort of dishonesty from those fraudulently representing themselves as news outlets.

    I am hopeful that this will inform the government in their disestablishment of tvnz and rnz and that they actually sort out some public news service.

    the current situation just wont do.

    • Can you explain exactly how the media are way out of line in investigating NZF's attempts to conceal its donors? I ask because it sounds like exactly the kind of thing we want them to do.

      • xanthe 10.1.1

        If the media was "investigating" that would be fine! what part exactly of John Armstrong's "opinion" piece was investigation?

        FACTS A complaint has been made to the Electoral Commission re one of NZF funding arrangements. NZF is working with the EC to establish if that is legal.

        BULLSHIT all the rest and particularly CRAP about how jacinda should become embroiled in it and what a failure of leadership that she (quiet properly) declines to do so.

        • Psycho Milt 10.1.1.1

          So, not "the media," but John Armstrong, an opinion columnist? You do know that reportage and editorial are two different things, right?

          NZF is working with the EC to establish if that is legal.

          It is? I've seen NZF officials and MPs abusing or refusing to talk to media, but nothing to suggest they're cooperating with anybody who isn't a NZF official. Also: it may well be that setting up mechanisms to conceal your political donors is legal (presumably it is, since National is doing it too), but that only means the law needs changing.

  11. Prof Anne-Marie Brady is doing good work on this

  12. xanthe 12

    unbelievable hatchet job by John Armstrong on tvnz news website now.

    They deserve to be disestablished as has been proposed. the sooner the better. How on earth has it come to this where our most accessible "news" service is serving up dishonest deliberate misinformation as "opinion"

    Now is the best chance while we have an honest and intelligent PM to set up a public funded independent news service.

  13. R.P Mcmurphy 13

    love listening to dinosaurs like armstrong pontificate. this is the meat and spuds of politics and gives the infantilised under educated juvenile mediocre press corpse something to do. btw how many journos at Parliament now? what is their average age? anyway Prime TV mentioned the natz and their foundations tonight so that is a start

    • Sacha 13.1

      Armstrong is one of the worst examples of horse-race 'journalism' where he tries to show how jolly well-connected he is. Silly hack.

  14. Fireblade 14

    (Posted on Open Mike, but it's more relevant here).

    The National Party Foundation and Dodgy Donations.

    Newshub Reports:
    Jami-Lee Ross said NZ First's foundation was modelled on the National Party's and operates in largely the same way, and there's little the Electoral Commission can do.

    Ross said political party foundations exist only as a way of obscuring donors' identities and should be abolished.

    Ross also claims National MPs face 'repercussions' if they miss fundraising target. "If you did not fundraise your $30,000 or $20,000, you weren't allowed to go to selection. Every MP was also expected to ensure there were donations going into the National Foundation".

    National Party president and chair of the National Foundation board Peter Goodfellow told Newshub Nation "It is correct that our local party electorate committees are set and supported to achieve KPIs before proceeding to a candidate selection," said Goodfellow. The party acknowledged targets do exist.

    Newshub contacted Simon Bridges' office, which declined to comment.

    Ironically when he was a National MP in Government, the job of securing donations that could slip through the cracks often fell to Ross, as he wasn't a minister and therefore not subject to the Official Information Act. He said he was a "product of the National Party" but has changed his views.

    The Serious Fraud Office is still investigating National Party donations.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/11/jami-lee-ross-claims-national-mps-face-repercussions-if-they-miss-fundraising-targets.html

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