- Date published:
7:02 am, June 20th, 2017 - 101 comments
Categories: election funding, Ethics, political alternatives, political parties - Tags: democracy, donations, influence, Max Rashbrooke, state funding
Over half of major political cash comes from donations of over $15,000
Over half of major political donations come from wealthy individuals able to splash out $15,000 or more, new research shows.
Fully 52 percent of the money from donations over $1500 in 2011-2016 came in chunks of $15,000 or more. …
The breakdown by party is interesting:
National is overwhelmingly the largest recipient of donations, raising $11.7m over the six years between 2011 and 2016, almost three times Labour’s $3.9m. But just 22 percent of their funds come from donations of over $15,000.
(In the Stuff original you can mouse-over the bars to get underlying figures.)
The funding bins are determined by the way the Electoral Commission collects its figures. This process misses donations under $1,500 so its an incomplete picture. Labour and The Greens get much of their funding from numerous small donations.
Obviously National have a huge fundraising advantage, and although that alone is not sufficient, other things being equal it translates into an advertising / strategic advantage.
Large donations are not necessary for success and certainly do not guarantee it.
The Internet Party and the Conservatives both raised more than the Greens and Labour over the period, but neither have MPs in Parliament. And New Zealand First – who raised the least by far over the period, just $319,000 – are polling on level with the Greens and are widely seen as “kingmakers” in the next Parliament.
Edwards noted that parliamentary funding “dwarves” donated funding. New Zealand First will receive $11.6m in Parliamentary funding during the next fiscal year.
Rashbrooke is concerned that donations buy influence. It’s pretty hard to argue that this can never be the case, and the ability of the rich to have more control over the political process is profoundly undemocratic. Rashbrook doesn’t say it but I will, private donations over $100 should be banned, and political parties should be state funded. It’s worth the cost for a transparent process where our politicians are not beholden to to donors.