Friday, July 22, 2022

So its worse then

When news about the New Zealand First Foundation broke, electoral law expert Andrew Geddis put it succinctly:

[T]he alternative conclusion is, if anything, even more worrying. If it turns out that the foundation and the party somehow are operating lawfully, as we should note Winston Peters maintains, then that demonstrates our electoral law simply is not fit for purpose.


If this is legal, then there’s no way that it should be. You can’t have a country’s political system run in this way and be considered the second least corrupt nation on the planet. Or, at least, you can’t do it for long.

Today the high court found that it was indeed legal (and granted those involved permanent name suppression, because being rich means never having to face the reputational consequences of your actions). Which means that it is worse. A political party can literally sell policy, taking donations in secret, then using its influence within government to benefit the donors, without even the usual paltry warning signs from our pathetic disclosure laws. It is a sign of the total corruption of our political system.

The question we should all be asking of our politicians is "what are you going to do about it?" Because I don't think this is acceptable to the vast majority of kiwis. Conveniently, the government just introduced its Electoral Amendment Bill, which deals with donations. I expect significant pressure at the select committee stage to patch this gaping hole in the law. And if the political class refuses to, we should regard it as both a statement of intent and an admission of guilt.