Saturday, June 01, 2013

Shorter Simon Lusk

"New Zealand politics needs to be more corrupt"

That's the message of a leaked strategy paper [PDF] from National Party advisor Simon Lusk. The core of his strategy is to triple the amount of money National spends each electoral cycle, in an effort to nakedly buy elections. In order to get that money he suggests National "provid[e] or obtai[n] board appointments to a small number of individuals" - essentially selling public office and/or using corrupt influence networks for financial gain. Finally, he suggests that National "not offer former Ministers jobs" and "Blackball Current MPs" to stop them from "trading on their time as MPs to build a lucrative business career" in order to ensure compliance with donors (in other words, to offer such a post-political career as a direct inducement for actions taken as an MP - something which skirts very close to outright bribery).

This is an explicitly American model of politics, designed to entrench the power of a plutocracy. And it is inherently corrupt. Fortunately, it does not sit well with New Zealand ideals of how our political system is supposed to work - and now it has been exposed, National's actions are going to face a lot more scrutiny.

(Meanwhile, Lusk also proposes "Taking Over the Public Service" by "Work[ing] with public servants to create a pool of fiscal conservative bureaucrats who will work with politicians to implement policy". Jokes about Treasury aside, this would overturn a century of public service neutrality and professionalism. But given his expressed contempt for democracy and integrity, is it any surprise Lusk has contempt for that as well?)