Tuesday, November 29, 2022

We need greater transparency on party funding

Yesterday Max Rashbrooke and Lisa Marriott released their report on political party funding. The gist of it can be gathered from the title: Money for Something. Big donors are donating big money for big influence over policy, and the current regime seems designed to facilitate rather than prevent this undermining our democracy. But they have some solutions as well:

Donors giving more than $1,500 to political parties should be identified, no individuals should be able to give more than $15,000 in a year and only eligible New Zealand voters should be able to donate to political parties, a new report recommends.
If this seems familiar, its because its what people have been recommending, and parties resisting, for years. And the reason it never happens is because our political parties and the politicians who belong to them are corrupt, addicted to a stream of dirty money. Currently the government is trying to make some moves on donation reform, but its basicly half-measures, undermined by that addiction and corruption (so corrupt in fact that the Labour party thinks that its submisison to the Ministry of Justice on the issue, which is likely to highly influential given that the Ministry serves the Minister, can be kept secret).

The report also recommends state funding of political parties, linked to tax credits or "democracy vouchers". The cost of this - $6 to $8 million a year - is a pittance, especially compared to the known cost of corruption (just look at how much Winston forked over to the racing industry, or how Ministers funded by the fishing industry just cost NZ $200 million). And its a tiny price to pay to break the influence of the rich over our political system, and kick them out of their perpetual government.