Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A win for transparency

Labour leader David Cunliffe has given up on trying to launder his donations and revealed who his backers were:

He said the three donors willing to be named were Selwyn Pellett, Perry Keenan and Tony Gibbs, who gave a combined total of $9,500. Mr Pellett, a businessman, is a longstanding Labour supporter who has donated to the party and Mr Cunliffe in the past.

Mr Gibbs is a businessman and former right hand man to Sir Ron Brierley. Perry Keenan is a New Zealander who is now senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago. Mr Cunliffe worked for the Boston Consulting Group prior to entering Parliament.

He said other donors had given a total of $8,300 but were not willing to be named.

"That is their legal right. I respect their decision and can't control it. In their case, the trust will be returning their donations to them." He said he did not know who those donors were, or whether they were individuals or corporates.

That's good news. But then there's this bit:
"I don't think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership. Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency."
Which is just sociopathic "sorry I got caught" bullshit. The thing about values is that you live them, and they're instinctive. Cunliffe's aren't. When faced with a choice between transparency and corruption-enabling secrecy, he chose the latter, and then tried to cling to that choice when it was questioned. These are not the actions of an ethical man who believes in open politics - they are the actions of someone trying to get away with something they know is wrong. And actions like this are yet another example of why the New Zealand public thinks all politicians are liars, cheats and scoundrels.

Still, its a useful precedent: the next time some politician (I'm looking at you, Len Brown) tries to hide their political debts behind a trust, we can beat them with the stick Cunliffe has handily provided us with. Which BTW we should now be turning on his deputy-leader Tertiary Education and Maori Affairs spokesperson.