One of the problems with our election laws is that who is funding a campaign is only disclosed after the fact, when it is obviously relevant information which could change voters' perceptions. But in the Palmerston North local body elections, it looks like several candidates are proactively disclosing both how much they're spending, and who is funding them:
[PN Green candidate Brent] Barrett said he was pleased to shed light on what had historically been "a shadowed corner of local politics in Palmerston North".
More than 200 local supporters had contributed to his campaign, with Barrett himself the largest single contributor of $4459, and underwriting the full cost.
The local Green Party branch contributed $2500 from its funds and through fundraising and donations.
There was $6420 from campaign fundraising events, $2271 from online campaign donations, $1350 from other local campaign donations.
The Labour Party's four candidates, Zulfiqar Butt, David Chisholm, Sheryll Hoera and Lorna Johnson worked together to pay for a campaign, likely to work out around $5250 apiece.
Johnson said they supported transparency and were happy to provide as much detail as they could. Each candidate has contributed $2000. The rest is from local fundraising ($2000 each) and donations from supporters, most under $100 ($1250 a candidate).
It would be good if there was an actual list of donors accompanying the story (rather than having it filtered by the candidates and the media), but any movement in this area is a welcome sight. And hopefully, we can make it a legal requirement in future.