Thursday, November 21, 2019

As bad as we expected

Stuff has begun interviewing NZ First's secret donors, and it turns out that its as bad as we expected. They start with racing industry figure Garry Chittick, who is predictably grumpy about NZ First's coalition choices. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the list of pork NZ First has effectively given its secret donors - tax breaks, grants, more gambling money - and thinking that this is an influence that needed to be declared. Because it looks like a bunch of people in the racing industry invested in a politician to get government kickbacks, and that stinks. And then there's this bit:

But there were other large donations, many of which are from companies and individuals who work in industries that have benefited from the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund. Stuff is not suggesting any wrongdoing on the part of the donors, and it may be that those industries would have benefited regardless.

Sure, they might have. But the fact their donations were kept secret gives it a certain odour of corruption.

Meanwhile, the government has ruled out any real change to election finance laws [audio, 55s in], and are quite happy with the status quo. But as Andrew Geddis pointed out the other day, if the status quo permits this, we have a real problem. And if the government is refusing to fix it, then that invites the conclusion that the problem extends further than NZ First, and that we need to fix them too.