The great scam

It is looking hopeful that Labour’s plan for taxpayer funding of political parties is dead for now, but as sure as the sun rises in the East, they will try again.

Now they tried to do a nice little job this time. They tried to tie in the unpopular policy of taxpayer funding with the popular clampdown on anonymous and donations. They claimed that the reduction in funding from such a clampdown would make taxpayer funding essential.

Sadly so many people took this assertion as fact. But it is a myth. In the tables below, examine how much funding the various parties would have gained since MMP came in, under Labour’s proposed taxpayer funding formula.

Then look at how many anonymous and donations there have been since 1996, and hence calculate the potential net loss or gain for each party.


This is how much each party would have received since the 1996 election, based on Labour’s proposal of an annual $2 a vote up to 20% of the vote and $1 per vote from 20% to 30%.

Note that nice Graham Capill and his party would have received over $1 million by now. Brian Tamaki would have $85,000 for new bishop’s robes, the Legalise Cannabis Party $450,000 for a series of bloody good parties and oh yes Labour would have raked in $12.5 million.

But how much money would each party have lost from tightened rules on anonymous and donations?


Now this is a conservative analysis in that it assumes every single dollar of anonymous and donations would disappear. In reality many would probably still occur, and just be disclosed. To counter that we do not yet know donation levels for post 2005.

So what does this tell us? That if we apply this proposed taxpayer funding policy retrospectively, then taxpayers would have been forced to contribute $40.5 million to political parties, just to make up for $6.0 million of foregone private donations.

This was an attempted great swindle. Labour would have gained (over four elections) $12.5 million to replace $1.8 million of lost donations. Think of all the pledge cards they could fund with that!

People may want to reflect on the selfishness of National and NZ First (and ACT and maybe United Future) in rejecting taxpayer funding even though they would have benefited massively also.

The losers would be the rank and file party members who would no longer be needed by a political party to remain viable. Plus the taxpayer who would have forked out $40.5 million against their will.

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