Like most New Zealanders I am sick of all these scandals that revolve around politics and donations. There just seems to be one after another coming from all sides of the political spectrum, these members of parliament who “we” vote into office are making clowns of themselves and us. Maybe it’s time that to make our politics more pure, that these private funders to political parties are taken out of the equation.
There has been reforms relating to the electoral finances of parties, but they are not working, it’s like most things in life there’s ways around everything, like Labour leader David Cunliffe found out. He set up a trust to hide his donations for the Labour party leadership bid
“Mr Cunliffe said it was an error of judgement to use the trust. It had meant he did not have to disclose donations in the Register of Pecuniary Interests” (Trevett 2014).
You would think that the Leader of the Labour party would know better, obviously not, but it’s not just Labour; all parties have been caught doing dodgy things relating to political funding. Maybe all political parties should be funded by the tax payer, we certainly don’t want corrupt governments in New Zealand.
Political parties in New Zealand are starting to head that way, just ask the Chinese businessman Mr Liu how he received citizenship into New Zealand?.
“A wealthy Auckland businessman was given New Zealand citizenship against official advice after a Government minister lobbied the colleague who made the decision”. (Savage 2014).
Mr Liu then new how New Zealand politics worked not much different than his native homeland china,
“Such practices drive entrepreneurs to seek senior officials as their patrons because politicians in China have the power to approve projects and allocate resources” (Zhang 2013).
Mr. Liu new that his citizenship didn’t came free, just like in China you have to pay the piper so to speak, or in this case the National party of New Zealand,
“The following year, one of his companies made a $22,000 donation to the National Party”. (Savage 2014).
Do we really want our political system going down this road, it starts like this just giving New Zealand citizenship to one Chinese businessman, for a mere $22,000, then it snowballs,
“The relationship between the now disgraced politician Bo Xilai and businessmen Xu Ming, the founder of Dalian Shide Group, was typical of such patron-client relationships. Xu, a large man, allegedly fattened his pockets through his guanxi with the Bo family as he funded the family’s jet-set life style” (Zhang 2013).
We as a nation have to put a stop to this small scale political corruption before it escalates into something bigger. Corruption is starting to raise its ugly head in New Zealand politics and if that means having to state fund all parties then I say so be it. Even in the birthplace of New Zealand politics, England, is debating state funding as people see all the corruption in politics.
“The committee also proposed that from 2015 there should be a £3-per-vote state funding for the parties, representing £23m a year over five years. This amounts to 50p per elector a year, little more than the cost of a first-class stamp” (Hasan 2012).
England has been plagued with corruption, if you have the money you can have a meal with or see David Cameron talking to him privately about policy all for a large donation. Politicians in England and New Zealand are running scared of state funding, they say that the public won’t back it, citing tax payer’s money. They just don’t want to give up all the perks they get from business like a box at a rugby game and so on.
But New Zealand tax payers already pay for political party’s aids on television which is in the millions, and political parties waste millions of dollars of tax payer’s money a year that could be earmarked for our political parties being state funded. I think if you asked the average New Zealand voter if they wanted the corruption in politics by shady donors to stop, and all they had to do is pay a few dollars a year in extra tax, you might be surprised at the answer.
Hasan, Mehdi. 2012. The time has came for the state funding of political parties: The status quo is unsustainable and the argument for reform is overwhelming. March 26th. Accessed April 6th, 2014. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2012/03/time-has-come-state-funding-political-parties.
Savage, Jared. 2014. Citizenship,then $22k for Nats. March 13th. Accessed April 6th, 2014. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11218598.
Trevett, Claire. 2014. Cuncliffe comes clean over donations. March 4th. Accessed April 5th, 2014. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11213703.
Zhang, Lijia. 2013. Author: In China, ‘everyone is guilty of corruption’. October 24. Accessed April 6th, 2014. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/23/opinion/china-corrution-lijia-zhang/.