Tuesday, 4 February 2020

If it's good enough for foreign donors, it's good enough for local ones


“Last year, ‘New Zealand’s most open and transparent government’ put the House into urgency for a minor crackdown on foreign donations. If it wants to be taken remotely seriously, it must now do the same for related-party donations”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The patterns revealed by Radio New Zealand this morning should be very concerning for an open and transparent government. They show multiple donations, totalling above the declaration limit, being received by the New Zealand First Foundation. The donations were given by companies linked to one individual on the same day.

“Now, it could all be a coincidence. Nobody may have conspired to get around the law. It may well all be legal. But, just to be sure, the Government should put the House into urgency when Parliament returns next week and clarify that multiple donations from related parties must be declared.

“To allow such practices is to leave the legal possibility of an individual buying additional influence in New Zealand politics and the public being none the wiser. An open and transparent government must put a stop to this urgently.

“ACT opposed last year’s urgent legislation on foreign donors because it was petty and ineffectual. The legislation simply reduced the threshold for what a foreign donation is.

“ACT will be happy to support such legislation this time, so long as it effectively clarifies the law. There may be people out there who are not aware of the law’s intention and have inadvertently made multiple donations through different companies they own to the same party’s booster foundation on the same day. ACT says it’s important that New Zealand's ‘most open and transparent government’ clarifies the intention of the law for anyone in that situation.

“Jacinda Ardern promised open and transparent government. She now has the perfect opportunity to prove she meant it.”