Friday, August 13, 2021

Stuart Nash: Funded by racism

Troy Bowker is a racist. And as Newsroom shows this morning, he's been funding one of our most conservative and foot-dragging cabinet ministers:

Stuart Nash, Minister of Regional and Economic Development, received at least $51,000 in direct and indirect donations from Troy Bowker, the controversial investment banker who recently accused animation entrepreneur Sir Ian Taylor of “sucking up to the left Māori-loving agenda”.

In a response to a LinkedIn comment by Taylor celebrating New Zealand’s Pacific heritage, Bowker said: “Another example of European NZers not being proud of their own ancestors … FFS. Wake up NZ.”


Bowker and Nash have a longstanding political relationship. According to donation records filed with the Electoral Commission, Nash received a total of $51,000 from Bowker over the 2014, 2017 and 2020 elections – either directly or through Bowker’s investment company Caniwi Capital. Bowker also helped fund a 2014 report examining the possibility of establishing a new centrist party, led by Nash, to compete with National and Labour. Nash has repeatedly described Bowker as a “mate”.

At this stage the political class pooh-poohs any suggestion of undue influence with the claim that $50,000 isn't a lot of money. And everyone else in New Zealand laughs bitterly at them, because to us, its a fuck-ton of money. Not Auckland-house-deposit money, but enough to make a normal person a hell of a lot more comfortable. And you don't give someone that amount of money unless you either have deep ideological similarities, or you want something in return. Nash needs to explain which of those categories he falls into. And if he wants to eliminate the lingering taint, he needs to return it to sender as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, thanks to Aotearoa's secretive election funding laws, we have no idea how much money Bowker has given to political parties (as opposed to candidates). He could have given any of them up to $15,000 a year, and we'd be none the wiser. We need to fix that, by lowering the disclosure threshold immediately.