Monday, February 17, 2020


When Winston Peters was caught money laundering donations and stalking journalists, the Greens were conspicuous by their silence. It was another example of how getting along with their government partners was eroding their values and their own reputation. It was obviously unsustainable, and so now James Shaw has finally spoken up about it:

The Greens have broken their silence and expressed alarm at the published photos of Gray with the journalists who have been reporting on donations to the party.

But party co-leader James Shaw, who has until now been reluctant to weigh in on the saga surrounding the NZ First Foundation, stopped short of asking questions of governing partner New Zealand First.


Shaw also took a step further in relation to questions about the NZF Foundation and whether it has properly declared donations to the NZF party.

"The allegations are concerning and due process must be followed while they are investigated," Shaw said.

"We know New Zealanders will be looking at this issue and worrying about what it means for their democracy, which is why we are focused on making the system more transparent and fair."

And on the latter front, he has a proposal for a citizen's assembly to set electoral donation rules. Its a good idea: its our democracy, and the politicians who we have trusted to set the rules so far are obviously compromised by their own self-interest and incapable of doing a good job of it. The problem of course is that those same compromised politicians would have to enact whatever reforms the assembly came up with. And judging by their past behaviour over electoral reform, they would simply refuse to do so, then when dragged kicking and screaming to it, do their best to undermine it to protect the corrupt status quo. As with so many of our problems (climate change, housing, poverty), fixing it requires the destruction or significant weakening of the current political establishment.

(And meanwhile, Jacinda Ardern is still trying to say that its nothing to do with her. Bullshit. She's the Prime Minister, and wholly responsible for the ethical standards of her Cabinet. Pretending otherwise is simply a coward's way of saying that she's perfectly fine with corruption and dirty politics when its done by her allies, or at least willing to look the other way. But while this denial of responsibility gives her formal deniability, the problem is that this stench is not going to go away, and some of it is going to stick to her. And if it costs her a second term, she will have only herself to blame).