The Owen Glenn pledge

September 6th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Owen Glenn says his commitment to donate $100 million to New Zealand youth is not contingent on National and Act winning the November 26 general election.

Glenn said on TV3’s The Nation over the weekend that he would make a donation but said today that his commitment was not contingent on the two parties winning the election, as was suggested by the programme.

“My commitment to this country is not politically motivated, so regardless of who governs New Zealand after November’s election, once my business is sold, which I anticipate will be during October, I will look to announce more on my plans,” Mr Glenn said.

He said he was not trying to influence the outcome of the election through the announcement.

“I happen to believe that currently a government involving both National and Act is best situated to move New Zealand forward and to leverage the opportunity I intend to create through this donation,” he said.

His earlier linking of it to the election outcome excited a couple of people. Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn called it attempted bribery and demanded Owen Glenn be prosecuted and jailed if convicted.

Personally I think the bribery laws are about directly paying people to vote a certain way, not about what is effectively a charitable donation. But I guess one for the lawyers to decide.

But what struck me is the contrast.

If a businessman gets up and announces he will spend $100 million of his own money on helping disadvantaged youth if a political party he has no connection to wins the election, then some on the left call that bribery.

However if a politician gets up and announces he will take an extra $100 million forcibly off rich pricks, and spend it on disadvantaged youth, if his party wins the election (which happens to make that person prime minister, and get a big pay rise) – then that is commendable and noble.

So it is illegal to pledge your own money contingent on an election result, but it is legal to pledge other people’s money.

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