Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Government for sale

So, National has a "Cabinet club" offering personal access to Cabinet Ministers in exchange for big donations. Sadly, I'm not surprised. The combination of politicians and money inevitably results in corruption, and National is well along that path. We've already seen some of it: $22,000 gets a Minister to try and get you off a domestic violence charge, $30,000 gets your milk into China while your competitors are banned, and $72,000 over several years gets you a knighthood. The question is what these donors got for their money. Sadly, as the donations are below the disclosure threshold (which National and Labour colluded in raising in 2009), we can't correlate the contents to find out.

Needless to say, I think it is wrong for politicians to prostitute themselves like this. Government should work for the people, not be for sale to the highest bidder. And its another sign that we need a cleanout - both of this rotten, corrupt government, and of the laws which allow them to behave this way. Ministers can only sell access if it is secret, so the solution is greater transparency: make the fuckers disclose every meeting and every dollar, and make it a crime punishable by jail time to keep it secret. They'll still try, of course - the ICAC hearings across the Tasman are showing the lengths politicians will go to to try and evade the laws meant to bind them - but then we'll be able to evict them from Parliament and send them straight to jail. Which might change their mind about "tough on crime" policies as well.

(Public funding, to break the nexus between money and politics, would also help tremendously. Strangely, National isn't keen on that either. Guess they don't want to stop the gravy train...)

And to anticipate the "defence" that DPF and friends will no doubt be running: if other parties have similar arrangements, then they're guilty as well, and we need to get rid of them too. There is no place in our democracy for politicians who corruptly sell access. It is that simple.