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

  • $950k funding boost for World Conference on Women and Sport
    An additional $950,000 investment has been made to support New Zealand’s hosting of the 8th World Conference of the International Working Group on Women in Sport (IWG) in Auckland in 2022. The funding comes from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package and is for Women in Sport Aotearoa, Ngā Wāhine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Celebrating Children’s Day / Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki
    Today marks Children’s Day / Te Rā o Ngā Tamariki and the Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis is asking all New Zealanders to think about their responsibility to support the lives of the tamariki in their communities and to make this a special day for celebrating them. Children’s Day / ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission report shows progress
    Health Minister Andrew Little welcomes the Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission’s assessment that transformation of New Zealand’s approach to mental health and addiction is underway. “This is an important step in the Government’s work to provide better and equitable mental health and wellbeing outcomes for all people in New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Over $300m returned to COVID-hit travellers
    The Government’s Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme has helped return over $352 million of refunds and credits to New Zealanders who had overseas travel cancelled due to COVID-19, Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says. “Working with the travel sector, we are helping New Zealanders retrieve the money owed to them by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Hundreds more schools join free lunches programme
    An additional 88,000 students in 322 schools and kura across the country have started the school year with a regular lunch on the menu, thanks to the Government’s Ka Ora, Ka Ako Healthy School Lunches programme. They join 42,000 students already receiving weekday lunches under the scheme, which launched last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s balanced economic approach reflected in Crown accounts
    New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected. The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU). The operating balance before gains ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Over half of border workforce receive first vaccinations
    More than half of New Zealand’s estimated 12,000 border workforce have now received their first vaccinations, as a third batch of vaccines arrive in the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 9,431 people had received their first doses. More than 70 percent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost in funding to deliver jobs while restoring Central Otago’s lakes and waterways
    The Government is significantly increasing its investment in restoring Central Otago’s waterways while at the same time delivering jobs to the region hard-hit by the economic impact of Covid-19, says Land Information Minister, Damien O’Connor.   Mr O’Connor says two new community projects under the Jobs for Nature funding programme will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Next stage of COVID-19 support for business and workers
    The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend. Following two new community cases of COVID-19, Auckland moved to Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt committed to hosting Rugby World Cup
    The Government remains committed to hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2022 should a decision be made by World Rugby this weekend to postpone this year’s tournament. World Rugby is recommending the event be postponed until next year due to COVID-19, with a final decision to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support Available for Communities affected by COVID-19
    Community and social service support providers have again swung into action to help people and families affected by the current COVID-19 alert levels. “The Government recognises that in many instances social service, community, iwi and Whānau Ora organisations are best placed to provide vital support to the communities impacted by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt announces review into PHARMAC
    The Government is following through on an election promise to conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The Review will focus on two areas: How well PHARMAC performs against its current objectives and whether and how its performance against these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Impressive response to DOC scholarship programme
    Some of the country’s most forward-thinking early-career conservationists are among recipients of a new scholarship aimed at supporting a new generation of biodiversity champions, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has awarded one-year postgraduate research scholarships of $15,000 to ten Masters students in the natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to ANZLF Virtual Indigenous Business Trade and Connections Event
    I acknowledge our whānau overseas, joining us from Te Whenua Moemoeā, and I wish to pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you all today. I am very pleased to be part of the conversation on Indigenous business, and part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Main benefits to increase in line with wages
    Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today that main benefits will increase by 3.1 percent on 1 April, in line with the rise in the average wage. The Government announced changes to the annual adjustment of main benefits in Budget 2019, indexing main benefit increases to the average ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deed of Settlement signed with Ngāti Maru (Taranaki)
    A Deed of Settlement has been signed between Ngāti Maru and the Crown settling the iwi’s historical Treaty of Waitangi claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little announced today. The Ngāti Maru rohe is centred on the inland Waitara River valley, east to the Whanganui River and its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Support in place for people connected to Auckland COVID-19 cases
    With a suite of Government income support packages available, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni is encouraging people, and businesses, connected to the recent Auckland COVID-19 cases to check the Work and Income website if they’ve been impacted by the need to self-isolate. “If you are required to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on passing of former PNG PM Sir Michael Somare
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her condolences at the passing of long-serving former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. “Our thoughts are with Lady Veronica Somare and family, Prime Minister James Marape and the people of Papua New Guinea during this time of great ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the National Māori Housing Conference 2021
    E te tī, e te tā  Tēnei te mihi maioha ki a koutou  Ki te whenua e takoto nei  Ki te rangi e tū iho nei  Ki a tātou e tau nei  Tēnā tātou.  It’s great to be with you today, along with some of the ministerial housing team; Hon Peeni Henare, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Drone project to aid protection of Māui dolphin
    The Government is backing a new project to use drone technology to transform our understanding and protection of the Māui dolphin, Aotearoa’s most endangered dolphin.    “The project is just one part of the Government’s plan to save the Māui dolphin. We are committed to protecting this treasure,” Oceans and Fisheries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New water regulator board announced as major Government reform moves forward
    Major water reform has taken a step closer with the appointment of the inaugural board of the Taumata Arowai water services regulator, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says. Former Director General of Health and respected public health specialist Dame Karen Poutasi will chair the inaugural board of Crown agency Taumata Arowai. “Dame ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • North Auckland gets public transport upgrade
    The newly completed Hibiscus Coast Bus Station will help people make better transport choices to help ease congestion and benefit the environment, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said today. Michael Wood and Phil Goff officially opened the Hibiscus Coast Bus Station which sits just off the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting work to protect Northland reserve
    New funding announced by Conservation Minister Kiri Allan today will provide work and help protect the unique values of Northland’s Te Ārai Nature Reserve for future generations. Te Ārai is culturally important to Te Aupōuri as the last resting place of the spirits before they depart to Te Rerenga Wairua. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Critical step to new housing deal for Pacific communities
      Today the Government has taken a key step to support Pacific people to becoming Community Housing providers, says the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio. “This will be great news for Pacific communities with the decision to provide Pacific Financial Capability Grant funding and a tender process to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Consultation opens on proposed Bay of Islands marine mammal sanctuary
    Conservation Minister Kiri Allan is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on a proposed marine mammal sanctuary to address the rapid decline of bottlenose dolphins in Te Pēwhairangi, the Bay of Islands. The proposal, developed jointly with Ngā Hapū o te Pēwhairangi, would protect all marine mammals of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Three District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.    Two of the appointees will take up their roles on 1 April, replacing sitting Judges who have reached retirement age.     Kirsten Lummis, lawyer of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government announces list of life-shortening conditions guaranteeing early KiwiSaver access
    Government announces list of life-shortening conditions guaranteeing early KiwiSaver access The Government changed the KiwiSaver rules in 2019 so people with life-shortening congenital conditions can withdraw their savings early The four conditions guaranteed early access are – down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder An alternative ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank to take account of housing in decision making
    The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into account government policy relating to more sustainable house prices, while working ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment to reduce cochlear implant waitlist
    The Labour Government will invest $6 million for 70 additional adult cochlear implants this year to significantly reduce the historical waitlist, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Cochlear implants are life changing for kiwis who suffer from severe hearing loss. As well as improving an individual’s hearing, they open doors to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori wards Bill passes third reading
    The Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill passed its third reading today and will become law, Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta says. “This is a significant step forward for Māori representation in local government. We know how important it is to have diversity around ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers 1,000 more transitional housing places
    The Government has added 1,000 more transitional housing places as promised under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan (HAP), launched one year ago. Minister of Housing Megan Woods says the milestone supports the Government’s priority to ensure every New Zealander has warm, dry, secure housing. “Transitional housing provides people ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech doses arrives safely – as the first vaccinations take place in the...
    A second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived safely yesterday at Auckland International Airport, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “This shipment contained about 76,000 doses, and follows our first shipment of 60,000 doses that arrived last week. We expect further shipments of vaccine over the coming weeks,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • $18 million for creative spaces to make arts more accessible
    The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni has today announced $18 million to support creative spaces. Creative spaces are places in the community where people with mental health needs, disabled people, and those looking for social connection, are welcomed and supported to practice and participate in the arts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Moriori Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading
    Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little today welcomed Moriori to Parliament to witness the first reading of the Moriori Claims Settlement Bill. “This bill is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work from all the parties involved. “I am delighted to reach this significant milestone today,” Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government action reduces child poverty
    22,400 fewer children experiencing material hardship 45,400 fewer children in low income households on after-housing costs measure After-housing costs target achieved a year ahead of schedule Government action has seen child poverty reduce against all nine official measures compared to the baseline year, Prime Minister and Minister for Child Poverty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Entries open for the 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards
    It’s time to recognise the outstanding work early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura do to support children and young people to succeed, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins says. The 2021 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are now open through until April 16. “The past year has reminded us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Jobs for Nature benefits three projects
    Three new Jobs for Nature projects will help nature thrive in the Bay of Plenty and keep local people in work says Conservation Minister Kiri Allan. “Up to 30 people will be employed in the projects, which are aimed at boosting local conservation efforts, enhancing some of the region’s most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Improvements to the Holidays Act on the way
    The Government has accepted all of the Holidays Act Taskforce’s recommended changes, which will provide certainty to employers and help employees receive their leave entitlements, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said the Government established the Holidays Act Taskforce to help address challenges with the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ’s credit rating lifted as economy recovers
    The Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and faster than expected economic recovery has been acknowledged in today’s credit rating upgrade. Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) today raised New Zealand’s local currency credit rating to AAA with a stable outlook. This follows Fitch reaffirming its AA+ rating last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to National Remembrance Service on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
    Tena koutou e nga Maata Waka Ngai Tuahuriri, Ngai Tahu whanui, Tena koutou. Nau mai whakatau mai ki tenei ra maumahara i te Ru Whenua Apiti hono tatai hono, Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate Apiti hono tatai hono, Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora Tena koutou, Tena ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago