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HDPA: Foreign donation ban is half-arsed and conveniently timed

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 Dec 2019, 3:52PM

HDPA: Foreign donation ban is half-arsed and conveniently timed

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Tue, 3 Dec 2019, 3:52PM

So, suddenly the government’s cracking down on foreign donations?

We’ve been warned about it for months. Australia did it two years ago. The Prime Minister even said a couple of years ago she wasn’t interested in cracking down. 

But suddenly, the government wants to, and it’s so urgent that Andrew Little is rushing the law in under urgency this afternoon. 

Anyone else think the timing is just a little cute? 

You’ve got the minor coalition party in trouble over donations allegations, and suddenly the major coalition party wants to make it look like it’s taking a hard line on donations.

Very clever - pity we can see right through it. 

The reason this strategy is so obvious is because this law is so half-arsed. It doesn’t actually doesn’t look like it’s going to change much. So it’s dropping the allowable level of foreign donations from $1500 to $50? Whoop dee do!

Doesn’t matter where you set the limit, foreigners will get around it, just like they got around the $1500 limit.

Like the time two years ago, when the Chinese racing billionaire Lang Lin gave $150K to the National party. All he did was give the money to a New Zealand based company, which of course is allowed to donate to our political parties, so it did. No problem.

What’s going to stop that happening? Well, not a lot, because this law doesn’t actually stop that. 

And the other reason this law is half-arsed? Why only tackle foreign donations, why not shut down the local loopholes too?

We have an example right now of how New Zealand First is getting around donations laws with donors giving money not to the party but to another entity, the New Zealand First Foundation.

Are we ok with that? The point of having rules around donations is so that we know who is giving what to which political party. And the point of that is so that we know if donors are giving money to parties, in exchange for political favours.

And that’s whether they’re locals or foreigners.

But right now our laws have loopholes all over them, and this new legislation rushed through doesn’t change that.

It’s nothing more than an attempt to look like it’s being tough on donations, timed for exactly when New Zealand First is facing questions about donations.

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