Tuesday, June 08, 2021

How much is the Greens' reputation worth?

$54,000, apparently:

The Green Party says it won’t return two five-figure donations from a woman convicted of animal neglect which required several horses to be put down.

Three weeks before being sentenced in the District Court for animal neglect described by the SPCA as amongst the worst it had ever seen, Lindsay Fraser donated $29,000 to the Green Party’s 2020 election campaign. She had also donated $24,970 a year earlier, making her one of the party’s biggest donors.

The Green Party has campaigned strongly on animal welfare in recent years. During the 2020 election it described itself as “the leading voice in Parliament” on animal welfare and promised to strengthen Aotearoa’s animal welfare standards.

Green Party co-convenor Penny Leach said: “Unfortunately, we cannot predict that donors may be sentenced for animal welfare charges after they have donated. The awful news was made known to our team when we were contacted by a journalist.”

Fraser had name suppression, which meant the Greens didn't know about her crimes at the time. But the case was fairly high-profile when suppression was relaxed, and I'm surprised that no-one in the party noticed. Now its been publicly pointed out to them, they have absolutely no excuse. While I don't think they can be blamed for accepting the donation, choosing to retain it now that the facts are known is absolutely on them. While they're right to say they can't just donate it to the SPCA - they're an incorporated society, and incorporated societies can only spend money for the purpose for which they are established - they can certainly return it. And if they refuse to do so, knowing the crimes the donor committed, their supporters are perfectly entitled to conclude that they support those crimes, or are at least willing to turn a blind eye to them for money. And I doubt many of them would find that acceptable.