SST calls for donors to be disclosed before the election

The SST editorial:

The Sunday Star-Times has campaigned for the past two years for all donations to be disclosed on a public register. And not just 55 days after the election, as the law stands.

Voters are entitled to know, when they cast their vote, who is bankrolling the campaign. Parliamentary political parties are required to disclose donations within 10 days; there is no reason why our expectations of mayoral and council candidates should be any different.

Frontrunners we’ve spoken to, like Dalziel, Goff and Wellington’s Justin Lester, agree in principle to the Star-Times’calls for disclosure before the election – next time round. None is willing or able to break ranks and disclose their donors’ identities before polls close this week.

Today, we challenge political candidates to go back to their secret funders and advise them they will be publicly naming their donors in the final days before polls close.

I agree that for donation disclosure to be useful, it should occur before an election. For parliamentary elections those over $30,000 get disclosed within 10 days and those between $15,000 and $30,000 get disclosed annually.

For local body elections they only get disclosed after the election.

What I would do is have the following regime:

  • All donations over the disclosure limit disclosed monthly (20th of following month)
  • In the final two months, disclosed weekly (Monday of following week)
  • In the final week disclosed daily (next day)

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