Thursday, February 27, 2020

NZ First's contradiction

NZ First portrays itself as an anti-establishment party, standing up for "the little guy" (always a guy) against Big Auckland Money and its tool-parties. But it turns out that its secret slush fund is funded by the very people it claims to oppose:

Stuff can reveal a longer list of donors to the NZ First Foundation up to April 2019 – which appears to operate as a political slush fund – based on Foundation documents seen by Stuff. It includes New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, and the billion-dollar Spencer family.

Business magnates, property developers, a chicken farmer, and thoroughbred horse breeders are among the wealthy known to have contributed heavily to the foundation, which tallied more than $500,000 in donations.

How can they be anti-establishment when they're literally funded by billionaires? Only Winston knows. Meanwhile, there's a lot in here potentially of interest to the SFO: donations by multiple members of the same family on the same day, or by an individual and multiple companies they control, suggesting efforts to evade disclosure thresholds (not that the money laundry was paying attention to those anyway). Given the current National Party trial, those donors should be nervous.

Meanwhile, Shane Jones is worried that this may discourage people from donating to NZ First. But if you're the sort of donor who will only given tens of thousands of dollars if you can do so secretly and illegally, and while exercising a secret and undeclared influence over policy for a corrupt purpose, then I hope that that is exactly what happens. Our democracy does not need or want this sort of money. And if politicians disagree, then we do not need or want them either.