Whatever questions Helen Clark is asking over the New Zealand first donations debacle, she’s giving the wrong answer:
Miss Clark said it would be better if parties were State-funded.
“The quickest way to clean up kiwi politics is to move away from corporate funding and substantial individual giving to a transparent process of government-led funding, state funding, of political parties.”
There is a presumption that spending more money attracts more votes. But David Farrar analysed the amount of money parties spent in elections and how many votes they got and found that wasn’t the case:
Finally we have 2005. Note Labour for two elections in a row have had a higher total spend than National. This time they spent around 30% or $950,000 more than National yet got only 2% more. ACT spent twice as much as NZ First for one quarter the votes. The Greens spent more than NZ First yet got less votes. Of the parties that made Parliament the spend per vote ranged from $3.40 to $34.00.
So while there is a case for overall spending limits, any nonsense about buying elections is just that – nonsense. The last four elections stand testament to this. The impact of money on elections is relatively insignificant compared to policies, party reputation, leadership and media treatment.
As my earlier post argues, the bar is already set too low for registering to be a political party. They need only 500 members and are voluntary organisations with no right to taxpayer largesse.
If they haven’t got the membership and fund raising capabilities to operate effectively and within the law they haven’t got what it takes to run the country.