Big donations in 2008

May 4th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has published the list of “big” donations each party received in 2008, big being over $10,000 in value. So which parties got the most big money?

  1. Labour got $431,917 in big donations. Their biggest individual donor was the Vela Family who gave them $100k. The unions gave $117,500 and individuals (mainly from arts/culture sector) gave $134,830. Also a total of $60,000 from corporates and lobby groups, $10,587 from Helen Clark and $9,000 anonymously through the Electoral Commission.
  2. ACT got $315,906 in big donations. John Boscawen gave $101,000, Alan Gibbs $200,000 and $14,906 from Virtual Bucket Ltd!
  3. National got less than half as much as Labour in big donations. They got $207,001. John Key put in $30,000, some other individuals $30,001, $70,000 from corporates and a lobby group, and $77,000 anonymously through the Electoral Commission.
  4. Greens were 4th largest for total big donations on $184,693. These were all individual donations with MPs putting in 70,725 and others $114,238.
  5. NZ First got (assuming this return is accurate – the last three years were not) $111,999. The Velas gave $100,000 to their favourite boy and Sir Patrick Hogan also gave his thanks with $11,999.
  6. The Family Party had $88,044. Destiny Church handed over $10,926, Paul Adams $41,037 and an Elias Kanaris $36,081

National’s level of “big” donations is very small. Part of that will be that some gave in 2007 (2011 will be interesting) but part is that the vast majority of National’s revenue comes from smaller donations. The members alone contribute between $1.5 and $2.0 million a year in small donations I would estimate.

Also somewhat amusingly, NZ First broke the law – again! They received a $2,190 donation from a foreigner on 22 October 2008. As it exceeds $1,000 it has to be paid to the Electoral Commission within 20 working days. They only paid it over on 12 December 2008.

Labour also received an overseas donations in excess of $1,000. They got $10,000 which they had to give up.

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9 Responses to “Big donations in 2008”

  1. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    That’s a great summary – much better than the Herald article on Saturday (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10569970).

    All of this deserves greater analysis, as so much of the political finance debate over the last few years revolves around the issue of donations. So we need to look at the actual details of what is donated (or at least, what is declared by the parties).

    I hope to delve a bit deeper into the figures when I get a chance. But as I point out in my own quick analysis (http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2009/05/labour-continues-to-be-the-party-of-big-money.html), it seems therefore that despite the common myth of the Labour Party being financially poor and the National Party being the party of big wealth, Labour is still just as much a big money party as National. And if you add up all the declared donations made to the Electoral Commission since it was made mandatory in 2006, you’ll find that Labour and National have received virtually the same amounts. My rough and quick calculations (which I’ll revise and update at some stage) show that over the 1996 to 2008 period, Labour has declared donations of about $5,321,000 and National has declared about 5,484,000.

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Who exactly are the Vela family?

    Millionaires who give money to socialists and crooks need to be watched very carefully.

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  3. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    I guess that with the benefit of hindsight, it shows how fatuous Labour’s “Buying elections with big money” arguments were during the whole EFA debacle. They got the most dosh, but they still got a whipping from the electorate. Oh dear; how sad; never mind :-)

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  4. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    NZ First have declared donations – I don’t remember a court order that made them do that.

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  5. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Labour is still just as much a big money party as National. ”

    Wrong.

    They’re much more the party of “big money” than National.

    As you say, that Labour are for the worker and National for big business is a myth. Left wing propaganda. It has never been true and never will be true.

    National (for better or worse, but mostly worse IMHO) is the party of the people.

    Labour is the party of left wing academics, public servants who know where their self interest lies, misguided unionists, crooks and cronyists and shady business types.

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  6. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    Redbaiter>Millionaires who give money to socialists and crooks need to be watched very carefully.

    The tax cut legislation should specifically exempt the Velas, who would continue to pay Cullen rates. They can hardly complain.

    Although at least they’re not Owen Glenn, who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Labour so that they could continue to tax us, while himself living in a tax haven.

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  7. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    davidp

    Yes it’s curious isn’t it – live in a tax haven and donate to a party that has high taxation as a central policy plank.

    Owen Glenn got his own back though – he told the truth and we all know how much of a disaster the truth is for socialists.

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  8. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Glenn was pretty keen on the free trade work Clark had done, one can imagine why.

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  9. PhilBest (5,125 comments) says:

    We all, and our media, needs to wake up to the fact that all over the world, “the big money supports the right wing of politics” is just a very past-its-use-by-date myth.

    There are a range of reasons for this. A lot of the big money comes from young descendants of the people who made it in the first place, who are “agin” their forbears and who want to ingratiate themselves with the liberal social set. A lot comes from wealthy liberal media and performing arts types. A lot comes from the biggest business people who realise that anti-business government policies actually help them by making it harder for new competitors to get a start. A lot comes from business people who hope to avoid getting targeted, by feeding the tiger and appeasing it. Some hope that the politicians concerned might soften in office.

    But the people who might support right wing parties, have the most to fear from mean-spirited retaliation by the left wing politicians when they get into power.

    All told, it is the right wing that is now very much the poor man of politics.

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