Its wrong when they do it, but not me

Stuff reports:

Businessman and philanthropist Phillip Mills wants to go on the record, despite facing backlash for his political views.

He was labelled “hypocrite of the week” by the Taxpayers’ Union last Maybecause he was one of 100 wealthy New Zealanders who told the Government they want to pay more tax.

Mills, of fitness empire Les Mills, hadn’t paid back the Covid-19 wage subsidy which supported the 12 gyms dotted between Auckland and Dunedin. Mills said the gyms – shut down during lockdowns – had yet to make a profit. Its international branch, its fitness brand selling clothing and fitness classes, has paid back the subsidy.

But when asked if he will answer questions about the opaque world of political donations, he wanted to speak out. He sees the comments from the Taxpayers’ Union as an attempt at stopping him speaking in support of progressive values.

Calling out hypocrisy is a risk, if you are a hypocrite. The TU paid back its subsidy but Less Mills has not paid back its $4.5 million. Their UK subsidiary had a 2 million pound profit in 2022 and their global revenue is estimated to be US$950 million. And the part-owner wails he wants to pay more tax (which he could voluntarily) while refusing to pay back the wage subsidy. What he really means is he wants others to pay more tax.

Some voters could see big money as having a pernicious influence on politics, but Mills said his donations are not transactional – he is simply backing a world view he believes in (richlisters backing the political right made the same argument in the first part of this series, which you can read here).

“It is about our belief around economic justice,” he said. “I think that people who are donating purely selfishly are misguided, we all suffer if we don’t deal with climate change, we all suffer with terrible inequality.”

But he finds it hard to believe some of the richlisters backing National and ACT aren’t motivated by their own gain.

Don’t you love it. When I donate to my preferred party it is because I am not selfish and care. but when other people donate they are motivated by self gain.

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