Anonymous and trust donations remain legal

July 24th, 2007 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

At first I thought the Greens were over dramatising when they claimed that the Electoral Financing Bill left anoymous donations and donations through trusts legal.

I thought they must be mistaken.  I mean this was at the centre of what Labour complained about.  This was the one area where even National said they agree that the use of anonymous and trust donations should be reduced.  It was the one thing everyone expected to be in the bill.

But the Greens were not wrong.  The Coalition for Open Government says the same thing, and having reread the bill, I concur with them.  This is just quite frankly bizarre. No Right Turn labels the bill disappointing and a betrayal.

So why did the Government not include in the bill, what everyone was expecting – a clamp down on anonymous and trust donations?  I can only think of two reasons.

  1. They realised the impact it would have on Labour’s own fundraising, and being short of money anyway dropped it.
  2. They couldn’t get agreement for it from other parties.

If (1) is the answer that is the height of hypocrisy.

If (2) is the answer then there is some seriously incompetent political management of this bill.

As Mark Burton is the Minister in charge I will opt for (2).

The irony is that considering National publicly said they would support a clampdown on trust and anonymous donations,  and National asked to be consulted – then Labour could have approached them for support.  If National refused to, then the heat could have gone on them.

This is like the complementary medicines bill.  Labour had a hissy fit at National for never supporting the Peters compromise, but they never even gave National a copy of it nor asked them to negotiate on the basis of it.  They just announced it all through the media.

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22 Responses to “Anonymous and trust donations remain legal”

  1. Insolent Prick () says:

    There is a third option, DPF: that despite the Labour Party’s rhetoric, officials simply couldn’t come up with a solution to ban some bodies corporate, and not others, from making donations to political parties. The drafting of it just got too hard.

    Labour could not simply restrict donations to natural persons, since that would cut off its very lucrative contributions from various incorporated societies: unions, and the various societies that hold Labour assets in trust, and which make very large contributions to the Labour Party.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    IP – no, can’t be that.

    They’ve got provisions preventing third parties doing it (if you are transmitting a donation from someone else you have to say who they are).

    Under the proposal, If I write a check to the Waitemata Trust for $20,500 with $500 to go to the Kyoto Forestry association, and $20,000 to National, then the Trust itself can give the money to National, but it has mention my name and address to the Forestry Association (who have to then disclose it in the election return).

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  3. gd () says:

    So much for transperancey and disclosure. Just reinforces that we have a system that protects those who will buy power and influence over the citizen. The current members of the Parliament lack the ability to govern in an open and honest manner. Instead they would be bought off for 20 pieces of silver from the highest bidder.

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  4. Nicholas O'Kane () says:

    Good post David. The Bill has very numerous flaws, and poses one of the biggest dangers to free speech in our countries history. I go with option 1. It will be interesting to see the response of left wing bloggers who criticised National for anonymous donations from secret trusts but have their own party support unlimited amounts of money through secret trusts.

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  5. fisiani () says:

    Step 1. Give Money to any anti-government party or cause
    Step 2. Have your name registered and recorded as a dissenter
    Step 3. Say goodbye to ever working in a government associated job when Labour is in power.

    The confluence of the Electoral Spending Bill and the attitude of Helen Clark and David Benson-Pope is awesome in its breadth of attack on the fundamentals of freedom that we have held for centuries

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  6. roger nome () says:

    Sorry Labs, can’t defend you on this one. Bloody disgraceful.

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  7. Selma Bouvier () says:

    slap yourself fisiani, before you dissapear down your own windpipe.

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  8. Selma Bouvier () says:

    The very first part of DPFs post ” left anoymous donations and donations through trusts legal.” is clearly wrong anything over $500 has to be disclosed even if its bundled by some one else

    but go ahead let the mob scream and rant, because thats want they want . No ones listening

    [DPF: Wrong. That is the rules for third parties, not for political parties]

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  9. Inventory2 () says:

    Selma said “but go ahead let the mob scream and rant, because thats want they want . No ones listening”

    Selma – that’s exactly why this government, which you cheerlead for, is turning in to one of the most unpopular governments in our history. They don’t listen. They don’t care what the public thinks. They are so bloody arrogant! As a business owner, I am heartily sick and tired of being told what’s best for me, of having added costs and workload (KiwiSaver contributions and compliance for example) foisted on me without adequate notice and without any consultation, and having the future of my business, which my wife and I have sweated blood to build up compromised for the sake of political rhetoric. Quite frankly, I’ve had a gutsful, and the sooner the election comes around, the better!! I only hope that Labour can’t muster the numbers to push through legislation that will allow them to purchase another election.

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  10. Socrates () says:

    I have a couple of questions regarding the exemption for organisations communications with members as I haven’t read the bill yet.

    1: How do they define organisation? Would a church qualify as an organisation?

    2: How do they define communication? Would an ad in a newspaper qualify?

    IE could the Catholic church / Destiny / EB put a full page ad in the Dompost communicating it’s views on an issue to it’s members and be exempt?

    [DPF: Para (g) of Clause 5(2) says “a document published directly by a body corporate or unincorporated to its members”. I doubt newspaper ads will be seen as direct.

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  11. David Baigent () says:

    Selma, You are wrong with this last line.

    “No ones listening”

    A great number of people are listening and talking but only a proportion are believing as yet..

    Note that coincidentally, no one on the 9th floor is listening to anyone but themselves.

    Watch the trend in polls. Watch the penny drop when the “don’t knows” discover that they don’t like it.

    Despite her most robust efforts Helen has almost certainly disqualified herself from leadership. Pity, she had a dream start, a good middle run but the sun is setting. (and will not rise again for her.)

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  12. helmet () says:

    “Sorry Labs, can’t defend you on this one. Bloody disgraceful.”

    I’ll bet they’re really panicking now, whatever will they do?.

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  13. Selma Bouvier () says:

    Inventory you forget the last opinion poll had labour at 42%.

    How good is that.

    labour under Helen has been consistantly one of the most popular governments in history in NZ. And there is a good chance they will be back again thanks to MMP

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  14. CraigM () says:

    “Sorry Labs, can’t defend you on this one. Bloody disgraceful.”

    Thought you might be a bit upset by this thread. I am prepared to resind, by a few percentage points anyway, my earlier comments regarding your intelligence :-)

    As for Selma, one can only conclude dimentia has taken hold. Or drugs.
    It is on days like this that you really do get the impression that she is a right winger just baiting the troops , thereby allowing us to vent. It is the only explanantion. Or maybe drugs.

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  15. Inventory2 () says:

    One poll, Slema, but not the TV3 one which, according to Dear Leader, is the most reputable – also through the last polling period, Key has been overseas, the Hosue has been in recess, and Labour has been spending more of my tax money on self-serving advertising and shameless self-promotion! The next round of polls will consider Benson-Pope’s bullying, Clark’s back-down on the same issue, Cullen’s meddling with the exchange rate, and the introduction of blatantly political election spending legislation, with the attendant restrictions on free speech. Oh yes, as I listen to Parliament, Hodgson is still trying to defend the indefensible on the Hawkes Bay DHB. Yep, it’s all looking rosy for Labour, I’m sure we can agree.

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  16. Inventory2 () says:

    Oh goodness – Parlialment is about to have an urgent debate about Benson-Pope – more GOOD NEWS for Labour, eh Selma

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  17. Catwoman () says:

    Gollum has just sent a flyer around Dunedin which starts with “Dear Elector”. It goes on to mention what Labour has done/is doing. It has both the House of Representatives crest and the Labour logo – so it has been paid for by the taxpayer – us!!

    This is blatant electioneering – a synonym for “elector” is voter and says what Labour has done, not “the Government”.

    How can this total electioneering be paid for from taxpayer funds. Old Maggie has some questions to answer I feel.

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  18. Grant () says:

    Selma said:
    “And there is a good chance they will be back again thanks to MMP”.
    Yep, the only way this sad bunch of misfits could be returned is in association with another sad bunch of misfits. The only truthful thing you’ve posted all day.
    G

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  19. Selma Bouvier () says:

    Theres plenty of time for the currency kid to slip up on his own policies confusion.
    helen has seen off 4 previous national leaders in her time, and they keep sending even more inexperienced ones for the same old dross to hide behind.
    Key is being propped up by the media who need a new face but they will just as quickly pull the rug when the ‘speculator’ begins to lose his lustre.

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  20. Porcupine (242 comments) says:

    The worst prime minister NZ has ever had has built her carreer by destroying people, and now she is going to fall. We will remember when she tries to become GG or UN rep…

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  21. side show bob () says:

    In a way you have to feel sorry for Selma, the pot is now boiling and someone should tell her to jump out but Selma is a true Liarbour toad and will remain till the meat falls off the bone.
    As for our beloved Dear Leader and her merry band of noddies, this country will be nothing but a third world cesspit should we be inflicted with more of their crap after the next election. As a country we seem to take one step forward and four steps backwards.
    I guess it should come as no surpise to hear that they now seek to stymie freedom of speech. This government is on a collision course with ordinary hard working Kiwi voter’s but are to stupid to even care, they will all be in the pot with Selma come next election.

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  22. TIM BARCLAY () says:

    They feel they can tackle this issue by limiting spending but giving themselves free rein on the Government publicity machine. I consider opposition parties should be allowed to spend what the Government spends in a 3 month period leading up to the election. By opposition parities I mean all those who are not in the Ministry.

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