web analytics

What can you buy with 5x$10,000?

Written By: - Date published: 11:15 am, October 1st, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

National has released its proposals for election law. Labour has criticised the $10,000 level above which donations must be disclosed as too high. National Party campaigner David Farrar gets very defensive on Kiwiblog every time people argue for a lower level in the interests of transparency.

Farrar estimates that you need to give at least $50,000 to buy influence. He’s an National Party insider so he probably knows – that may be their going rate.

To those who point out that the National Party only disclosed donations of $130,000 in election year 2008 compared with their spend of $2,200,000, Farrar says that the donations were captured in 2007.

He’s right about that to some extent – Ruth Laugesen wrote in the SST in late 2007 that

The National Party pulled in 11th-hour funding from its secret trusts and anonymous donors in a bid to escape new election campaign finance rules, the Sunday Star-Times has been told.

A former major anonymous donor to the National Party told the Star-Times that party president Judith Kirk approached previous anonymous donors late last year seeking donations before the law took effect on December 20.

Setting aside the fact that Judy Kirk knew the names of “the previous anonymous donors” so they weren’t anonymous after all, this shows that the National Party arranged its affairs to bring in $704,100 in 2007, of which $424,100 came undisclosed from the Waitemata Trust.That Trust did not declare any donation to National in 2008.

But in 2004 and 2005 the Waitemata Trust gave National  a combined total of $1,435,922. There’s a million dollars difference we know nothing about – that buys a lot of influence by Farrar’s standard.

What the $10,000 limit makes it easy to do is to arrange affairs so that many lots of $10,000 can be given by the same person through separate legal entities – they could be companies or trusts set up for the purpose. It would all be perfectly legal. Multiple donors of $50,000 – five lots of $10,000 – could be known to the National Party. We have absolutely no idea how much influence could have been bought this way in 2008.

Bill English has shown that National people do arrange their affairs to gain benefits while claiming that they are legal. What Bill did may or may not be legal but it wasn’t right.

Simon Power has said he is willing to consider changes to make donations more transparent. That would be the right thing to do.

25 comments on “What can you buy with 5x$10,000? ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    John A: “Bill English has shown that National people do arrange their affairs to gain benefits while claiming that they are legal.”
    And there lies the key (ha) to future strategies. Every time questions of transparency comes up the Opposition can point to the lack of Bill transparency.

  2. If the Trust had given $1.4 million of its own money it would be influential. But as it was just a conduit for multiple donations from multiple sources the trust as an entity has no influence. I fully support the law change to stop donations going through a trust without revealing the original source.

    You make a good point about multiple donations from companies owned by the same person, avoiding disclosure. This is what Winston did with his donors.

    It is arguable that the current law now prohibits this as you have to require disclosing who a donation is on behalf of, if you are a conduit. But I agree that a stronger law is needed – something that groups companies and trusts with similar shareholding or control together. I think that concept already exists in other laws. So I am going to advocate for that change, and encourage others to do the same. The more who submit, the more likely of a good result.

    There are some practical difficulties. The onus is on political parties to disclose, and a political party may not know two companies are owned by the same person. Now if we take the Winston example, they obviously knew all the donations were from the Velas as their name was in all the company names. But if the companies were called ABC Ltd and DEF Ltd, a party may be unaware.

    However it is rare a party does not have some idea of who the actual donor is, so I think the law change is worth pursuing and again encourage people to submit in favour of a change so that all donations from closely related persons and companies be grouped together for disclosure purposes.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      But as it was just a conduit for multiple donations from multiple sources the trust as an entity has no influence.

      You’re right, the trust doesn’t have any influence but I’m sure all the people who put in to the trust do. The whole reason why they put in to the trust is so that influence would be hidden.

  3. roger nome 3

    “If the Trust had given $1.4 million of its own money it would be influential. But as it was just a conduit for multiple donations from multiple sources the trust as an entity has no influence.

    Mr Farrar – all you’ve done is argue a technical point that isn’t germane to the argument – i.e. a distraction. So typical.

    You claim to be for transparency, yet you argue against a disclosure threshold that’s lower than $10,000 – hmmm. Disingenuous much?

  4. This is the real reason that National so vociferously opposed the EFA. It had nothing to do with freedom of speech but everything to do with hiding contributors identities.

    I think the law should be amended so that donations over the threshold made at any time should be disclosed.

    I hope that Simon Power considers this as an option.

    Should I hold my breath?

  5. Herodotus 5

    I like simple rules that are all enclusive. Why not make the same threashold for individuals AND other bodies, then it does not matter what entity you donate it all gets declared. There should be a min amount to easy disclosure and I think for what it is worth $1000 per election cycle.

  6. felix 6

    However it is rare a party does not have some idea of who the actual donor is…

    Indeed, David. Indeed.

    If anything a gross understatement. National knows exactly who donated that mill-and-a-half – who, when, and in what amounts.

    • Mark M 6.1

      and Labour knows who donated what to their coffers and Winstons , even though they denied it.
      Labour also knows what promises they made to people in return for money i.e consulships in Monaco , Governor General etc.

      Dont write drivel about one party being the only one using rules for their benefit.
      They all do it.
      Some are just more devious about it than others

      • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1

        No Brash, No cash.

      • felix 6.1.2

        Labour also knows what promises they made to people in return for money i.e consulships in Monaco , Governor General etc.

        [citation needed]

        Who got a “consulship” in Monaco? Who paid to become Governor General? What the feck are you talking about?

  7. burt 7

    So when we were told that Labour spending $800,000 more on electioneering than it was legally allowed to made no difference to the outcome of the election then either we were being told expedient lies or DPF is correct that even $50,000 isn’t going to make a lot of difference.

    • Armchair Critic 7.1

      No difference compared to the GST that the ex-governor of the RB “forgot”, and the million or so that the EB spent on National’s behalf?
      I thought you RWNJs were all for giving the full story, burt – is it just forgetfulness on your part that you consistently omit things, or is it deliberate?

    • felix 7.2

      Come on burt, you can do better than that.

      This is about a person or persons buying policy influence by giving large amounts of money to a political party.

      How a party spends that money to attract votes is an important but very different issue.

      • burt 7.2.1

        I take you are talking about situations like undeclared Vella family donations to NZ1 which we never knew about till years after the tax cuts for the racing industry ?

        • felix

          Absolutely. Any and all.

          But again, that has nothing to do with parties spending on electioneering.

          It’s about donations to parties in exchange for influence.

          Like the payments which saw ACT morph from “The Liberal Party” into the “The Death-Penalty / Anti-Science Party”.

    • burt 7.3

      Armchair Critic

      Yes the $100,000 of “ahem” forgoten GST is indeed valid in this context. Cheers for bringing it up.

      I picked the $800,000 because it was the biggest amount and because it stood out as being similar to the reported amount spent by the EB’s that was a dramatic assult on democracy.

      • outofbed 7.3.1

        Burt is like a stuck record
        Can you moderate him ?
        It’s so tiresome

      • burt 7.3.2

        Armchair Critic is right, I’m making it really hard to re-writing history when I keep reminding people of the context associated with the decisions of the time.

      • Daveosaurus 7.3.3

        I hear that $800,000 isn’t going to be the biggest amount for long… there was a report in the paper a few days ago about the Government planning to retrospectively validate away close to a million dollars’ worth of DOC liabilities. I’m surprised you aren’t spitting tacks about that.

        • burt


          I’m also hoping much much more than $800,000 will be retrospectively validated in the next budget for aid to Samoa.

  8. John A 8

    @ David Farrar. Ruth Laugesen dealt with the question of the influence of the Waitemata Trust in the article cited. “The biggest of National’s fronts for campaign fundings is the Waitemata Trust, which last election pumped $1.4m of donations into the party’s coffers. The trust’s only identifiable face is accountant Robert Browne, whose firm, MH&K, administers the trust’s books.

    Browne is a long-standing business associate of National campaign strategist Murray McCully and is a former National appointee as chairman of Transit New Zealand.”

    That’s probably the source of McCully’s vaunted influence as well.

    There are indeed practical problems with any related parties approaches.

    @Herodotus. I agree; and that’s the way to fix the practical problems.

  9. Herbert 9

    Why have a threshold for disclosure at all? Why not just disclose?

    • Herodotus 9.1

      Practicability, otherwise imagine the paperwork.
      The cake stalls that NZ1 will initiate. What do they record, the person who baked the cake for free or the giver of the donation in return for the cake?
      Have some pity on the respective treasurers of al political parties !!

      • Herbert 9.1.1

        I wonder if the cakestall analogy is a distraction? I would not suggest disclosing either the baker or the buyer but only the profit from the cakestall. No doubt the treasurers are already recording cakestall profits and I don’t see the problem with having the books open to public view. Unusually profitable cakestalls would show up readily enough, I suspect. On the otherhand, the ability to hide behind trusts and $1-less-than-the-threshold donations would disappear.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional Resurgence Support Payments to support business
    Businesses affected by higher Alert Levels will be able to apply for further Resurgence Support Payments (RSP). “The Government’s RSP was initially intended as a one-off payment to help businesses with their fixed costs, such as rent. Ministers have agreed to provide additional payments to recognise the effects of an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More Dawn Raids scholarships announced
    Details of the ‘Manaaki New Zealand Short Term Training Scholarships’, a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s, were released today by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. “These scholarships that are targeted to the Pacific will support the kaupapa of the Dawn Raids’ ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starting in October
      One-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu starts in October New requirement for RSE workers to have received their first vaccination pre-departure, undertake Day 0 and Day 5 tests, and complete a self-isolation period of seven days, pending a negative Day 5 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt boosts Pacific suicide prevention support
    Applications have opened for the Pacific Suicide Prevention Community Fund as the Government acts to boost support amid the COVID delta outbreak. “We know strong and connected families and communities are the most important protective factor against suicide and this $900,000 fund will help to support this work,” Health Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt parks the expiry of licenses, WoFs and regos
    As a result of the Delta outbreak, driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will be valid until 30 November 2021, Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced today. “While this extension won’t officially ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 community fund to provide support for vulnerable women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced a $2 million community fund that will provide support for women and girls adversely affected by COVID-19. “We know that women, particularly those who are already vulnerable, are disproportionally affected by the kind of economic disruption caused by COVID-19,” Jan Tinetti said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Next phase of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response announced
    A further NZ$12 million of support for Fiji’s COVID-19 response has been announced by Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today. The package builds on previous tranches of assistance Aotearoa New Zealand has provided to Fiji, totalling over NZ$50 million. “Fiji remains in a very challenging position in their response to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Robotic asparagus harvester aimed at addressing industry challenges
    The Government is backing a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to the project. Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional Pfizer vaccines to arrive tomorrow
    More than a quarter of a million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine are on their way from Spain to New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The additional doses will arrive in Auckland on Friday morning to help meet the current surge in demand for vaccination. “It’s been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Young people to have their voices heard in Youth Parliament 2022
    The dates and details for Youth Parliament 2022 have been announced today by Minister for Youth Priyanca Radhakrishnan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Youth Parliament is an opportunity for 141 young people from across Aotearoa New Zealand to experience the political process and learn how government works. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boosting support for tertiary students affected by COVID-19
    Students facing a hard time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions will continue to be supported,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government is putting a further $20 million into the Hardship Fund for Learners, which will help around 15,000 students to stay connected to their studies and learning. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Immediate relief available for Māori and iwi organisations
    The Government has reprioritised up to $5 million to provide immediate relief to vulnerable whānau Māori and communities during the current COVID-19 outbreak Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. The COVID-19 2021 Whānau Recovery Fund will support community-driven, local responses to gaps in access and provision of critical ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New beef genetics programme to deliver cows with smaller environmental hoof-print
    The Government is backing a genetics programme to lower the beef sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by delivering cows with a smaller environmental hoof-print, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. Informing New Zealand Beef is a seven-year partnership with Beef + Lamb New Zealand that is expected to result in more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Appointments to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced new appointments to the board of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Former Associate Minister of Education, Hon Tracey Martin, has been appointed as the new Chair for NZQA, replacing the outgoing Acting and Deputy Chair Professor Neil Quigley after an 11-year tenure on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt supports residential house building by allowing manufacture of building supplies
    The Government has agreed to allow some building product manufacturing to take place in Auckland during Covid lockdown to support continued residential construction activity across New Zealand. “There are supply chain issues that arise from Alert Level 4 as building products that are manufactured domestically are mostly manufactured in Auckland. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government invests in scientific research to boost economy, address climate change and enhance wellb...
    Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has today announced the recipients of this year’s Endeavour Fund to help tackle the big issues that New Zealanders care about, like boosting economic performance, climate change, transport infrastructure and wellbeing. In total, 69 new scientific research projects were awarded over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transport to drive economic recovery
    The Government is investing a record amount in transport services and infrastructure to get New Zealand moving, reduce emissions and support the economic recovery, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. The 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) was released today which outlines the planned investments Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government congratulates NZ Paralympic team
    The Government has congratulated New Zealand’s Paralympic Team following an outstanding showing at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. “Our New Zealand Paralympian athletes have once again shown incredible talent, tenacity and determination at the Tokyo Paralympic Games winning 12 medals, with every athlete who represented New Zealand making us so proud,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago