The Herald covers some of the donations to parties and candidates before the election.
One of the big donors was the Road Transport Forum, the trucking lobby, who were behind the famous ‘truck strike’.
They’re getting value for money eh? National’s Transport Minister Steven Joyce has taken half a billion out of public transport and hundreds of millions more out of road safety and put it into the state highways. Nice wee subsidy that. On top of that, Joyce has said he will stop the New Zealand Transport Agency from offering freight companies incentives to take their freight off the road and onto rail, even though it makes economic sense in terms of road maintenance alone. Another little bonus for the truckers.
The really interesting part of the article is this:
A mystery entity called Toorak Chambers also gave $3000 each to National MPs Simon Bridges, David Bennett, Todd McLay, and Lindsay Tisch.
When questioned, one of the recipients said it was linked to the National Party and referred the Herald to the party’s headquarters.
However, phone calls to general manager Mike Oldershaw and president Judy Kirk were not returned.
For the last decade, National secretly channeled money from a few rich donors to its campaigns via the Waitemata Trust. The Electoral Finance Act made that illegal (which is why National and its mates opposed the Act). It’s not surprising that National has found some other way to get money to its candidates while hiding the donors’ identity. They should come clean on Toorak Chambers quickly to avoid the stink of corruption.
The Herald also notes:
Under the new disclosure rules introduced under the Electoral Finance Act, candidates have to disclose all donations of money, goods or services worth more than $1000 and cannot accept anonymous donations of more than $1000.
Without those rules, we wouldn’t know about Toorak Chambers and who is providing the money behind our politicians. Let’s hope National keeps those transparency requirements in its new electoral law. If it doesn’t that really will be an attack on democracy.