Monday, March 02, 2015

This stinks

The Herald's datamining operation has uncovered more very stinky stuff in candidate donation returns:

Talley's Group, a family-owned fishing and meat processing company based in Nelson, poured $42,500 into no fewer than nine separate races, mostly favouring National candidates fighting for regional seats.

Three members of the primary production select committee - Chester Borrows, Stuart Smith and Damien O'Connor - each received $5000.

The Primary Production Committee is responsible for any bill or inquiry relating to fisheries. It can make amendments (which are almost always accepted), or even recommend that a bill not be passed. In other words, a powerful influence on policy. Which makes Talleys' "donations" pretty obviously an overt bribe.

As for how to fix this, Dim-Post has a good suggestion:
The solutions are simple: (a) transparency, which means shutting down National’s latest donation laundering scam, and (b) strict policing of conflict of interest. If corporations believe in certain MPs so much they just have to shower them with money then that’s great, but those donations should preclude those MPs from sitting on Select Committees or holding portfolios that impact on their donors.
Or from proposing amendments or casting a vote on matters of interest to their donors. As Dim-Post says, "let’s see how devoted these companies remain if their political clients can’t deliver law changes for them." And I expect that those bribes "donations" would substantially dry up the moment MPs are forbidden from repaying them.