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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