web analytics

Policy for Money?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 pm, April 29th, 2012 - 13 comments
Categories: accountability, act, election funding, john banks, john key, national, privatisation, Privatisation - Tags:

One interesting sidelight in the John Banks donations affair is his alleged request to split Kim Dotcom’s $50,000 donation into two lots of $25,000  “so it could be declared anonymously.” Banks apparently was not aware that the limit above which donations  in  local body elections must be declared is $1,000, the same as it is for electorate candidates in general elections. He may have been confused with the limit above which  declaration of party donations from known persons in general elections is required, which is now set at $15,000. This provision does not apply in the Local Electoral Act.

Party donations for the 2011 general election must be declared to the Electoral Commission by the end of April, and will be published on Tuesday . One new provision in the Act provides for the declaration of the number of donations in two bands, from $1500 to $5,000, and $5,00 to $15,000. It will be very interesting to see the number of upper level donations in National and ACT particularly.

These parties proposed as policy the partial sale of electricity assets. One of the reasons given for this by the Capital Markets Task Force was the need to deepen our thin capital market by providing more high-dividend stock. Whatever may be the outcome for mums and dads, there is no doubt that sharebrokers, the NZX, and asset sales advisors were advocates for and will be principal beneficiaries of this policy, to the tune of $100million according to Tony Ryall.

They are also the most likely to be able to manage donations so that they come from a variety of companies, just as Banks asked Kim Dotcom to do according to the German. Of course we will not know the specifics as the only information we will have will be the number of donations at each level.

The concern about this is that it raises more questions about the provision of policy for money. This is a live issue in Britain, with revelations from a Conservative fundraiser Peter Cruddas offering this explicitly, as well as the ongoing saga of the Murdoch media and the BSkyB takeover. Closer to home we have the issue of access given to SkyCity by John Key resulting in the Casino of National Significance.

All of this says that we have a considerable way to go before we can say that our political system is transparent and that there is no question of unknown money buying influence. In my opinion, we need complete transparency about all political donations, and public funding of political parties to make up the shortfall and guarantee complete independence from the influence of money in politics. At a few million a year, it would certainly be a much better spend than $100million to the overseas finance companies.




13 comments on “Policy for Money?”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Two things need to be done about political donations:-
    1.) No business, trust or association can make political donations.
    2.) Every donation must be recorded against a name and IRD number.

    Time to get rid of the corruption that is showing up in our political system.

    • Tigger 1.1

      +1. Simple. Transparent. Politicians should be proud to introduce this system. Donors who aren’t happy with such transparency shouldn’t be giving.

    • QoT 1.2

      I like it. But I’m enamoured with the wonderful simplicity of One citizen one dollar one vote which r0b highlighted back in October.

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.2.1


        Whatever the solution, it will be completely pointless unless the police enforce it – cf: election broadcasts.

      • Chaz 1.2.2

        How about one citizen, one tax dollar, one vote per dollar?
        Oops, that would be the end of the left as a political force though. Can’t actually have the people paying for everything having a say in what happens to their money, can we.

        • QoT

          Oh, you’re so cute. Raising the bogeyman of “the rich pay more!!!” in a thread about how the rich get to buy policy through donations. One day, the irony of this will occur to you, and your head will go POP.

    • McFlock 1.3

      I’ve been at political meetings where they had a “pass the hat” to pay for the hall. Fair enough that such piddling expenses are collected anonymously.
      But when the aggregate becomes substantial (say above $1000) then I agree – always an identified donor.
      The other issue I have was some fundraising raffle the [i think the nats] held with a donated prize (a gold nugget I think). If someone bought 500 tickets at a hundred dollars a pop for a chance of winning a $1,000 nugget, is that counted as a donation? I have no idea, but would think so. And if the donated nugget were given a list value of $1,000, but someone bought it off the party for $50,000, would that count as a donation? Or just a healthy capital return?

    • Chaz 1.4

      And what about the unions Draco? Exempt from the rules the rest of us are expected to abide by, as usual?

  2. Shaz 2

    I agree with you Mike. I wonder also how many donors are represented by key-holding lobbyists?

    Since its a secret the names and portfolios of the 20 lobbyists who have swipe cards to the Beehive have to be guessed at. Let’s have a go.

    I think we can safely assume that the lobbyists are unlikely to be from the trades unions, Citizen’s Advice Bureaux, Rethinking Crime and Punishment or the NZ Nurses organisation.

    I speculate that there are lobbyists with freedom to move around parliament and influence at will from the following industries and companies: Roading and construction; the mining lobby; the arms industry; representatives of chambers of commerce and employers; breweries, farming; retail; private prisons; the insurance industry; private schools and private health care; the film industry, telecommunications; electricity generation and gambling; banking and share-broking.

    We could speculate that there is a cost for a keycard or for a PQ or for preferential legislation beyond the 2 examples that are public (and give the government no cause for concern) but that would be just downright naughty wouldn’t it? My point is that while there is no transparency about funding the speculation about cash for influence is damaging to all parties.

  3. Jenny 3

    To a large extent the monied have corrupted the democratic process. Why else do they fight so hard to keep the true extent of monied influence secret. From electoral donations, to the constant professional lobbying of parliamentarians secrecy shrouds all these transations. To overcome all this undue influence from the wealthy the best disinfectant is sunlight. But like the blood sucking vampires of fiction those with this power to influence our democratic process will spare no effort to make sure that all these undemocratic practices are kept as much as possible in the dark.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    “…One interesting sidelight in the John Banks donations affair is his alleged request to split Kim Dotcom’s $50,000 donation into two lots of $25,000 “so it could be declared anonymously.” Banks apparently was not aware that the limit above which donations in local body elections must be declared is $1,000…”

    There were five anonymous donations of $25,000 to Banks in his declaration. My guess is Banks already knew he had three anonymous donations of 25k so asked Kim Dotcom to split his so he had five anonymous donations – that way he could claim he didn’t know WHICH particular donation of 25k came from who.

    My theory certainly fits the sort of sharp practice and cynical guffawing entitlement that is the MO of the crony elite in Auckland.

  5. Clashman 5

    Im looking forward to seeing how far we have slid down the ladder in the next lot of international corruption rankings.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    12 hours ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    5 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    5 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    6 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    6 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    6 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    7 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    7 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    7 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago