Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Getting what they paid for

A political party makes strong promises to regulate a destructive industry and prevent it from engaging in widespread criminal behaviour. They are elected to government. But their coalition partner includes an MP who was paid $10,000 by that industry. That MP argues from within government against regulation, and successfully prevents the government from enacting meaningful reform.

If this happened in Africa, or the Pacific Islands, we'd call it what it is: corruption. But it has happened here. The industry is the fishing industry. And the MP is Shane Jones, who took $10,000 from Talleys in 2017 in addition to large donations in the past, and has claimed responsibility for preventing any independent review of the fisheries industry. The government has recently shitcanned plans to use video cameras on fishing boats, and announced plans to lower criminal penalties when fishers break the law - and there is a suspicion that Jones is behind both of these moves too. So it looks like Talleys is very definitely getting what they paid for.

So how do we stop this? Fundamentally, we need to remove the ability of corporations to buy favourable treatment with large political donations. And that means moving to publicly funded political parties. Its either that, or allowing corruption to continue unchecked.