I believe Winston

Winston says that donations by wealthy racing industry families did not affect NZ First’s racing policy.

I actually believe him on this.

I generally have a firm view that money follows policies, not policies follow money. Unions donate money to because they like their policies, Labour doesn’t design policies just to attract donations from unions.

But here is Winston’s problem. He has spent over 15 years alleging that policies do follow money. That MPs are venal and corrupt and will sell favours to donors.

So if people see something wrong with the Velas donating to NZ First, it is because of the climate that Winston and others have created.

Take National’s ACC policy. Now introduced private competition to ACC in 1998, and had it as in 2002 and 2005 and again in 2008. is a party which for 50 years has generally favoured more private sector involvement.

So I see nothing sinister in National’s ACC policy. But Winston and his mates allege (without foundation) that the was purchased by the insurance industry through alleged donations to National.

The mythical $1 million donation would seem an incredible waste of money to “buy” a considering has had the same policy for over a decade.

So Winston is a victim of his own scandal-mongering. He can’t get away with a stance that other parties sell their policies to large secret donors, but he does not.

Winston says the donations are all legal. Yes indeed they appear to be. However it is apparent that arrangements were made to allow one family to donate in excess of the disclosure limit through (legally) routing it through different people and companies. Just as has legally routed donations through its former Trusts. Perfectly legal, but designed to avoid disclosure of large donors.

So I do believe Winston in relation to the Velas. He has not (from evidence to date) broken any law and I don’t think he exchanged policies for donations.

But the reason people think that the donations may have influenced his policy, is beacuse Winston keeps insisting that is what parties and politicians do – sell their policies to donors. It is a classic case of tainted by your own rhetoric.

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