Labour on donation disclosure

October 28th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Insurance companies which stood to gain from the privatisation of ACC could have made donations to National’s election campaign and no one would ever know, MP said in Parliament today.

Mr Parker did not say the insurance companies had donated, his point was that because most donations don’t have to be disclosed it wasn’t possible to know one way or the other.

Except he is wrong. Donations over $10,000 do have to be declared. This represents around 0.2% of total election spending by a party.

He was speaking during the first reading debate on the Electoral (Administration) Bill, which puts the agencies responsible for running elections under a single authority.

I hope he spent some time talking about the actual bill, rather than on matters not covered in the bill.

Mr Parker said Labour and National both spent $2.2 million on their campaigns during last year’s election.

Labour disclosed the source of donations worth a total $422,000 and National $130,000.

The level at which donations have to be disclosed is $10,000. Any donations below that remain anonymous.

No they are not anonymous – they are not disclosed. There is a significant difference.

Mr Parker argued the threshold should be $1000.

“Before the election, Merrill Lynch said if ACC was privatised…there would be $2 billion of ACC levies up for grabs and $200 million of additional profit could be earned by Australian insurers,” he said.

Hmmn so in this fantasy world, the insurers will gain $200 million of profits for a less than $10,000 donation. Sure.

If Mr Parker thinks donations buy policies, may be he could explain the $100,000 Labour got from the Vela family a few days before the election.

“We all know that the private insurers stand to gain from the privatisation of ACC. There’s no doubt about that. But what we don’t know is whether those same private insurers were contributing to the National Party.

Yes you do. You know they did not donate more than $10,000.

“I can never prove that they were, but it is wrong for our democracy to be tainted by that accusation.

This is so funny. He invents the smear, and then says it is wrong for the smear to exist.

Mr Parker said the lack of transparency around donations was “a glaring problem” in the electoral system.

In case anyone has forgotten, the laws around donations are exactly those passed by Labour just two years ago.

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15 Responses to “Labour on donation disclosure”

  1. Jcw (98 comments) says:

    Labour is living in imagination land thats for sure. Hopefully the general public will see right through this idiocity.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    In case anyone has forgotten, the laws around donations are exactly those passed by Labour just two years ago.

    No they’re not.

    Under the EFA the Party Sec/Financial Agent had to make a statutory declaration declaring that the donation return they were filing was correct.

    Under the Electoral Act rules that replaced these, this is not required.

    The penalty for making a false statutory declaration is up to 3 years’ imprisonment. The penalty under the Electoral Act is up to 2 years’ imprisonment.

    [DPF: heh, I amend to almost identical]

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  3. Aaron Bhatnagar (43 comments) says:

    What barefaced cheek of Labour!

    They accept a half million dollars from Owen Glenn, apparently because they hinted at giving him an honorary consulship in Monaco, yet they now what to imply without ANY evidence that insurance companies are donating for policy?

    I am sure every National Party strategist would welcome Labour talking about election law and donation related issues. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to remind people of how dodgy Labour were in trying to change the rules to suit themselved, and then behaving badly under said rules.

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  4. Murray (8,842 comments) says:

    Ask him how he feels about making donations using a false name since Labour seem to have a flexible policy on false names it would be good to know where they set the boundries.

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  5. Jack5 (4,900 comments) says:

    And groups representing those agitating against ACC changes should come under suspicion of having made donations to Labour.

    I’m talking about those outside mainstream medical professions, i.e. counsellors and “psychotherapists” who are not psychiatrists or professional qualified psychologists, both of which are regulated professions that require for admission years of intense study and examinations. Did we see prominent Labour folk in the protests led by counsellors and “psychotherapists” who stood to lose heaps from ACC sex abuse payout reforms?

    Labour is stirring anti-business feeling and promoting a belief that support to political parties, financial or otherwise, should be allowed if and only if the givers are teachers, other unionists, or members of groups that benefit from fees from ACC and state welfarism.

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  6. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    Wow!,I could have made a donation to labour, called myself a “psychotherapist”and ACC would have given me money. Who wouldda thunk.

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  7. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    dpf said..”..Hmmn so in this fantasy world, the insurers will gain $200 million of profits for a less than $10,000 donation. Sure..”

    yeah..it has always amazed me how cheaply this influence can be bought..

    (even in america..)

    and the facts are..

    john key..told a meeting of insurance company executives in sydney..before the election..

    that were he/national elected..

    that he would ‘open up’ acc for them..

    now..armed with this fact/information..

    ..would they not have been somewhat stupid not to give him money to help him get elected..?

    given the $200 million in annual profits ‘to hand’..eh..?

    and should not we have the right for some transperancy here..?

    i feel it is in our interests..to know/ask how much money did national/key receive from aussie insurance companies..?

    and..do they pay that money not to get that ‘influence’/result..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

    [DPF: If they gave over $10,000 it would be disclosed]

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  8. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Phil, so you’re saying that John Key told some people what that National Party’s policies were. Those people decided, based on whether they thought those policies were a good idea, whether or not to donate. Well, that sounds like a conspiracy.

    Any chance that Helen Clark told the unions that she was going to increase “rights” for workers, and that based on that promise, the unions might have decided that donating money to Labour was a good idea?

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  9. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    According to whale there could be a few labour types shitting themselves over a dodgy immigration deal with the Chinese guy. Fuck these labour people are thick, they should have learnt by now to choose their mud slinging topics more carefully.

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  10. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    Academically there are NO New Zealand Insurers left who would/could underwrite the unbundling (again) changes currently envisaged in ACC.

    They are all overseas owned in some way or another.

    Parker remains an idiot.

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  11. davidp (3,557 comments) says:

    >“Before the election, Merrill Lynch said if ACC was privatised…there would be $2 billion of ACC levies up for grabs and $200 million of additional profit could be earned by Australian insurers,” he said.

    Why specifically “Australian” insurers? Presumably insurers from any country would be able to try and sell insurance to NZ customers, and there isn’t anything to stop NZ businesses setting up insurance subsidiaries and selling insurance to us.

    I’m sick of the anti-Australian racism that seems to be endemic on the left of NZ politics. Racism should have no place in modern New Zealand.

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  12. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    One thing I agree with Parker on (ignoring, for the moment, that he sat mutely by and did nothing to pressure the Clark government to lead by example) is the threshold of $1,000.

    At a national level a donation of $10,000 might not be that significant, but go around giving it to individual candidates and you can potentially buy a lot of influence.

    When I was campaigning I was trying to do it along with a full time job, and barely making an impression. Then a single donor gave me an amount – considerably more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 – which allowed me to take leave without pay for a couple of months. It made an enormous difference, and I remain grateful to this day.

    Having said that, I knew the donor prior to the election and I am confident they wouldn’t have tried to use their generosity for leverage. But the fact remains that a relatively small amount, spent in the right place, can make a significant difference in politics. Multiply that effect across several candidates and the chances of purchasing influence are such that a much lower threshold is, I think, appropriate.

    And why not? If I sign a petition, make a submission on a Bill, or stand for Parliament my actions are open to public scrutiny and I shouldn’t worry because presumably I’m doing these things because I genuinely believe in whatever cause. Why should I become coy when money is involved?

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  13. Mr A (17 comments) says:

    “In case anyone has forgotten, the laws around donations are exactly those passed by Labour just two years ago.” Yes, and in case anyone has forgotten, this and other parts of the Electoral Finance Act were agressively argued to be an attack on democracy and freedom of speech. Surely this should have been fixed under urgency by National unless either they approve of this attack on freedom of speech and democracy, or their opposition to it was purely just to get elected.

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  14. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    I’m sick of the anti-Australian racism that seems to be endemic on the left of NZ politics. Racism should have no place in modern New Zealand.

    ‘Australian’ ain’t a race. Issues of nationalism and xenophobia more to the fore.

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  15. NeillR (350 comments) says:

    What barefaced cheek of Labour!

    Especially given that they only remained in power because they had the backing of NZ First and Winston Peters , who would probably be in prison if NZ actually had decent laws around corruption.

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