Wednesday, April 28, 2021

White privilege in action

Three weeks ago the Māori Party was rightly referred to the police for prosecution for failing to declare over $320,000 in donations just before the last election. The Electoral Commission commented at the time that they were also looking at an undeclared donation to the National Party (from a real estate speculator, no less), but hadn't made a decision yet. But today they finally have, and surprise, surprise, the National Party won't be referred for prosecution:

The Electorate Commission has issued National with a warning over its failure to declare a donation from real estate mogul Garth Barfoot.

It has opted not to refer the matter to the police – as it did for several larger late declarations from the Māori Party.

National declared the cumulative $35,000 in donations over 2020 from Barfoot on March 31, months after it should have been declared.

Electoral law dictates that any donation over $30,000 – including a series of donations within one year – must be declared within 10 working days.

So, just to make that crystal clear: the Māori party gets prosecuted, the white party doesn't. Its a perfect example of our racist justice system in action, what happens every day on the street as public policy. The Electoral Commission will of course have its reasons - the current one seems to be that its unfair to prosecute National for not reading their email despite a statutory duty to monitor donations - but so do the police who give a pass to white people while sticking the cuffs on brown ones every day. With police, who gets excuses and who gets handcuffs form a pattern which is only explainable by pervasive racism. Sadly, it looks like the Electoral Commission's decisions also fall into that pattern.

I'm not saying this to excuse the Māori Party: I think they need to be prosecuted. But so do National. Donations fraud is a serious crime against our democracy, which undermines faith in our political system - and that's true regardless of the predominant skin colour in the party committing it.