2009 Party Donors

May 4th, 2010 at 1:58 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has published the donation returns for 2009 for political parties. Only donations of greater than $10,000 have the identity of the donors disclosed. So who are the parties attracting the major donations?

The party with the largest number of large donors is the Greens, who had $147,462 of large donations. In order they were:

  1. Stuart Bramhill $19,500
  2. Jeanette Fitzsimons $15,643
  3. Metiria Turei $15,307
  4. Russel Norman $15,250
  5. Keith Locke $14,468
  6. Catherine Delahunty $14,428
  7. Kevin Hague $13,928
  8. Sue Kedgley $13,868
  9. Kennedy Graham $13,302
  10. Sue Bradford $11,768

Mr Bramhill is a regular large donor to the Greens. I would have to check but think his total donations exceed $100,000 over time.

Next largest was ACT with one $20,000 donation from The Virtual Bucket Ltd. That company is owned by Roger Beattie of Christchurch. Mr Beattie is  well known entrepreneur who wants to farm wekas!

Third was Jim Anderton’s Progressives who banked $15,000 from Juken Nissho Ltd. Their declaration is technically incorrect as there is no company of that name. In 2004 they changed their name to Juken New Zealand Ltd.

It is a large company with $224 million turnover in 2009. They made a $165 million loss, but nice they could spare some money for Jim.

Fourth was the Maori Party, with co-leader Pita Sharples donating $11,142 in fortnightly installments.

Fifth was Labour with Phil Goff donating $10,063. I suspect Labour are still tithing their MPs a proportion of their salaries, and only Goff exceeded the threshold of $10,000.

National did not have any donors give over $10,000 in 2009.

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33 Responses to “2009 Party Donors”

  1. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    I’ve also blogged on these figures here: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/05/very-few-party-donations-declared-for-2009.html

    Here’s a snippet: “These extremely low amounts reflect the fact that in New Zealand private donations to political parties make up only a small proportion of the overall funding that parties receive. Indirect state funding via parliamentary budgets make up the vast majority of funding. In fact, even in terms of these ‘private donations’ declared to the Electoral Commission, most of the money declared seems to come from MPs themselves, which is quite significant. Most parliamentary parties require their MPs to commit a small proportion of their extremely generous parliamentary salary to the party organisation – normally termed a ‘tithe’, akin to the money that churches require from their members. Essentially, parties like the Greens which demand a tithe of about 10% are able to convert yet another parliamentary-derived resource into state funding for their party organization. And this is why it’s particularly silly for so-called ‘political finance reformers’ to focus so much on regulating private money in politics.”

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  2. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Stuart Bramhall (sp) is actually a woman, DPF.

    [DPF: Good God. I will try and remember that. Stuart is not normally a name used by both genders]

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  3. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Fifth was Labour with Phil Goff donating $10,063. I suspect Labour are still tithing their MPs a proportion of their salaries, and only Goff exceeded the threshold of $10,000.”

    Tithing??? You mean like the Destiny Church???

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  4. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    Yes, Stuart Bramhall is apparently a New Plymouth Green Party activist. In 2008 she also gave $57,276 to the party.

    The Greens actually have a relatively interesting financial history. The party has some significant financial backers. In fact although the Green Party had rather humble early years, it is increasingly well-funded and has even received some surprisingly large donations – including some in the past from controversial British millionaire and conservative environmentalist Edward Goldsmith. The party’s becoming more professionalised and generally more representative of its wealthier voters. A couple of years ago I tried to put together all the info I find on the Greens’ financial affairs, I blogged about this here: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2008/10/political-fin-1.html

    And since then, the party spent a record $1,706,633 fighting the 2008 election ($10.83 per vote), which was more than Act, making them the 3rd biggest spender. And then in the Mt Albert by-election the party was actually the biggest spender.

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  5. john.bt (170 comments) says:

    And why is Jumbo getting the big bucks from Juken Nissho ?

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  6. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Might have something to do with $10k being the anonymous limit I would imagine.

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  7. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Yep, good question john.bt. Why on earth would a forestry/ wood products company feel the need to give the Progressive Party (aka Jim Anderton) fifteen grand??

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  8. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    Might have something to do with $10k being the anonymous limit I would imagine.

    $1000 is the limit for anonymous donations. $10,000.01 is the disclosure level.

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  9. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Red

    Didn’t Jim promise the world to east coast communities that he would generate prosperity through forestry, so familes went out and hocked themselves to the gills, bought logging trucks and then the asians never paid them and they all went tits up

    You could buy a very cheap logging truck around Ruatoria 2 years ago

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  10. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    does anyone still doubt that national are the party of self-interest/individualism..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  11. Angus (536 comments) says:

    Is Stuart Bramhill, not Stuart Bramh”a”ll, an expat American WOMAN ?

    http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/about-the-author/

    Actually she sounds like a bit of a nut, but being a greenie, no surprises there.

    From her bio –
    “Because my own clinical work involved research into an unconventional AIDS treatment, I also stumbled across an extensive scientific literature revealing that the HIV virus was first created through genetic engineering in a top secret biological warfare lab.”

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  12. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    $10,000 is nonsensical. If I wanted to bribe make a $100,000 donation to a political party and remain under the radar I’d have little trouble finding 9 people willing to hand over $9999 in their name.

    If the disclosure limit was $1000 I’d have much greater trouble finding 100 such accomplices.

    One does have to ask why no party is pushing for a lower limit while these rules are being reviewed. Quite a few ~$9000 donations, perhaps?

    [DPF: It is illegal to have people donate money on your behalf without disclosing the ultimate source, so that is no reason to have a lower limit.

    Also the current bill before Parliament stops associated companies from all making $10,000 donations and not disclosing them (as happened with NZ First).]

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  13. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    One does have to ask why no party is pushing for a lower limit while these rules are being reviewed. Quite a few ~$9000 donations, perhaps?

    I’m pretty sure it’s one of the things on the Green’s list.

    [DPF: My belief is the disclosure limit should be set at a level where there is a reasonable chance one could be purchasing influence. Beneath that level, it is an invasion of privacy for no good reason. A large party spends around $5 million in an election year so $10,000 is 0.2% of that. I don't see how a lower disclosure limit is justified]

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  14. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    “Stuart Bramhall (sp) is actually a woman, DPF” . Don’t take it to hard David we are after all talking about a melon supporter. One could be forgiven for been mistaken, I’ve seen a few of their supporters and I doubt if they know what gender they belong to.

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  15. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Didn’t Jim promise the world to east coast communities that he would generate prosperity through forestry, so familes went out and hocked themselves to the gills, bought logging trucks and then the asians never paid them and they all went tits up”

    Sovereign Yachts all over again? Commies, always so generous with other people’s money.

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  16. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    I wonder what hangi weka tastes like.

    It could have potential.

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  17. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “does anyone still doubt that national are the party of self-interest/individualism..?

    Yes…..sadly.If they WERE that party I,and the rest of the freedom lovers in NZ would be estatic…but they aren’t so we aint.

    Tabacco taxes,silly drug laws that put kids in danger,Alcohol hysteria…..etc etc.Ring any bells Phil…?

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  18. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    Why on earth would a forestry/ wood products company feel the need to give the Progressive Party (aka Jim Anderton) fifteen grand??

    Bryce, I was reading your post on the matter when a large penny dropped. I had been bugged by something Anderton said a couple of week’s ago on NatRad, that Customs aren’t clamping down on cannabis seed imports enough. Anderton was arguing that these seeds of doom were a biosecurity risk to forestry interests, blah blah blah. More worrying for forestry would be getting stuck with the long term planning required for wood production (20 – 30 year grow phase) compared with hemp, if ever that got established in NZ. As potent as smoking pine needles, this annular crop would be devastating to many wood pulp investors.

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  19. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    Nice to see Winston first had a nil return, how many is this now????
    3?
    4?
    5?
    6?

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  20. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    [DPF: My belief is the disclosure limit should be set at a level where there is a reasonable chance one could be purchasing influence. Beneath that level, it is an invasion of privacy for no good reason. A large party spends around $5 million in an election year so $10,000 is 0.2% of that. I don't see how a lower disclosure limit is justified]

    Because 10 members of the, say, Insurance Council, and each of their wives (or husbands) can donate $10,000, and you’ve got a undisclosed $200,000 donation (each year), which falls well within your area of concern.

    [DPF: If a CEO of an insurance company donates on behalf on his or her company, they must disclose they are doing so. A company can not give $20K to the CEO and spouse and say give this to Party A. And I doubt a CEO's spouse will donate $10,000 of their own money. So your example is ten insurance companies could donate $10,000 each, for a total of $100,000 - or 2% of the election year spend]

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  21. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    New Zealand Pacific Party……..
    They sent in nothing, is this anything to do with their CORRUPT leader being in jail?

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  22. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    Will – so if I’ve understood you correctly, you think that the wood product industry love Anderton’s highly conservative anti-drug stance because they benefit from the keeping hemp production off the land? And hence, although Anderton’s real bugbear with cannabis is its supposed social/biological effects, he’s widening his anti-cannabis arguments to biosecurity, and is thus financially rewarded by donations to his party?

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  23. stanmore23 (2 comments) says:

    “National did not have any donors give over $10,000 in 2009.”

    Yeah! Right!

    [DPF: Indeed that is right. This is pretty usual for non election years]

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  24. Joe Hendren (4 comments) says:

    Large donation from a forestry company when you are Minister of Forestry in the government immediately previous to that election. Is that a good look?

    Juken pay the minimum wage if they can get away with it.

    There was also this amusing episode when Jim attempted to defend forestry company Earnslaw One…
    http://www.converge.org.nz/watchdog/09/02.htm

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  25. Rick Rowling (813 comments) says:

    In Communist Russia Green Party, you pay us to work!

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  26. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/greens-oppose-electoral-finance-loophole

    This is the tyranny of the Greens’ attempt to crush peoples’ democracy.

    Hypocritical assholes!

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  27. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    DPF: If a CEO of an insurance company donates on behalf on his or her company, they must disclose they are doing so. A company can not give $20K to the CEO and spouse and say give this to Party A.

    What you mean is the company isn’t meant to do so, but if it did it would be virtually impossible for them to be caught. Specially if they used several less well-known middle-level executives to distribute their largesse.

    As for invasion of privacy… if you’re ashamed to be exposed as a supporter of Party A, well then I suggest perhaps your motives in donating may not be entirely pure. I’m happy to declare who I donate to and how much (I have to tell the tax man if I want my rebate, for one thing), why wouldn’t anyone else be?

    And as for the “percentage of the total” argument, it all depends on who you donate to, and when (in terms of their political career). When I stood for Parliament a single donor provided enough money for me to be able to take a few months off work to campaign full time. A drop in the bucket for even a small party like NZF but a huge debt of gratitude for me.

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  28. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I’m happy to declare who I donate to and how much (I have to tell the tax man if I want my rebate, for one thing), why wouldn’t anyone else be?

    You personally? Donations to political parties don’t count for the charitable donations rebate.

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  29. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Do the Greens tithe their MPs too?

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  30. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Graeme:

    Yes me personally. I know political donations don’t count for the rebate but the point I’m making is that if I donate to some social cause (whether the SPCA, the Salvation Army or whatever) it’s because I support it, agree with its objectives and want to see it advance. Presumably the motivation for donating to a political party would be much the same (or at least poeple donating would claim that it were so).

    So why wouldn’t a donor be proud to say “Yes, I’m a financial supporter of Party A” just as they presumably would for any other social cause they support?

    And if they’re not, one would have to ask why they feel the need to give money behind a wall of secrecy.

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  31. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Rex, because the last government had a pretty strong reputation for discriminating in business against those who they thought weren’t their supporters. Being seen as a National Party supporter was not conducive to doing business with the government, or being consulted on anything. Given the small size of NZ, and the large size of our government, it is a pretty big decision that you don’t want to do any government contracts. I certainly know that in my business it would be a problem, and I’m only mid-ranking in the company.

    My question on this, we have the Greens, ACT and Jim Anderton with the donations. Doesn’t that seem even somewhat fishy? Not in the “someone in Labour/National are doing something illegal” sense, but more in the “are these statistics really telling us what we think” sense. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test for me.

    I’d hazard a guess that there is some loophole here somewhere:
    – donate to a union, they hold that money until the election, and then spend it on a parallel campaign?
    – actually, just join a union, who automatically give your money to Labour….
    – some arrangement with trusts that is washing the money somehow?
    – some other arrangement with third party campaigns?

    Unless we’re really saying that NZers only care to donate in election years, and this isn’t an election year. Other than the nutjobs who vote for one of the nutjob parties (you can see them in order of nuttiness in DPF’s list above….) and therefore donate every year?

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  32. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    Bryce, I’m only noting a correlation, not causation ;-)

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  33. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    I smell a Melbourne Storm, esp the last sentence

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