Thursday, April 11, 2019

How the SIS can protect NZ elections

The SIS has been appearing before the Justice Select Committee to discuss concerns about foreign interference in New Zealand elections. In the process, they suggested that something dubious has been going on around donations:

"We do see foreign interference activity from a range of actors, and that is through a range of vectors, including some concerns we have had about political donations being made by state actors where the origin of those donations has been unclear."

Kitteridge said the best way to combat this was with a donation system that was as transparent as possible.

while they have a strong point about transparency, it is worth pointing out that concealing the identity of a donor is a crime. Laundering a foreign donation to hide its origin is also a crime. The SIS has both the power, and arguably the obligation, to turn intelligence regarding such crimes over to police. And if they have seen anything like this, that is exactly what they should be doing.