The hidden agenda behind the Labour and Green parties rants about National party fund raising has come out of hiding – they want our money for their campaigns.
David Cunliffe believes it’s time to consider publicly-funded elections.
It comes in the wake of revelations about National’s Cabinet Club and fundraising practices by all parties.
The Labour leader says it’s time to have a conversation.
“There’s a trade off to be made between investing more taxpayers funding in the political process to guarantee fairness and democracy on the one hand and making sure that every dollar is well and prudently spent.”
Labour has just handed National a large stick with which to beat them.
There is nothing fair or democratic about taking money from individuals to give to private organisations to allow them to sell themselves to us.
That is the antithesis of prudence and would definitely not be well spent.
Political parties have no more claim on public money to promote themselves than sports or service clubs, religious organisations or any of the other voluntary groups of like-minded people.
That parties receive some funds for broadcasting doesn’t make public funding right. The solution to that anomaly is not to give more public funding, it’s to stop it altogether.
I spent the weekend co-chairing the National Party’s Mainland conference.
We had a capacity crowd (in fact slightly over capacity) with good representation from every electorate in the South Island.
Most had travelled a considerable distance to be their at their own expense. They did so willingly because they believe in the party, want to contribute to policy and to the hard work needed to win the election.
That’s grass roots democracy at work and it would be undermined if taxpayers took over from volunteers.
National’s real strength isn’t the generous donations from a small number of wealthy people, it’s the large number of smaller individual contributions in time, effort and relatively small amounts of money each, from its members and supporters.
Labour is trying to cast aspersions about National’s fund raising efforts while ignoring the huge elephant in their own room – the unions which contribute huge sums of money to them in return for which they have huge power within the party.
Once again they’re judging others by their own low standards.
They don’t seem to realise that National’s donors give to the party because they support its principles and policies, not to buy or influence them as the unions do.
Democracy should be by the people, of the people, for the people with the people’s money should they choose to contribute.
To change that to by the parties, for the parties, of the parties with public money far better used on the many high priorities in need of it would be corrupt.
Labour’s put it on the agenda for the election. The Green Party will almost certainly support it.
All I can say is bring it on because that will help National win #3more years.