This headline is a lie:
Government to ban foreign donations
So is the first paragraph:
The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today.
It isn’t banning foreign donations, it’s lowering the amount foreigners can donate from $1,500 to $50.
Concern about foreign influence on elections is real, but why the lies and why rush the Bill through under urgency?
Why not give parliament and the public at least a little time to scrutinise it and recommend improvements?
One such improvement would be making it quite clear that donations to a foundation set up to fund a political party would be treated like, and subject to, the same requirements for disclosure as, donations to a party.
Winston Peters claims the New Zealand First Foundation is a similar model to the National Party Foundation.
But National the National Foundation has a website on which the purpose of the capital-protected fund and the uses to which investment proceeds are put is explained.
It also discloses donations to the foundation as donations to the party.
This openness contrasts with the secretive nature of the NZ First Foundation and the way in which it appears to have funded the party’s operational and campaign expenses.
The Electoral Commission is investigating claims it breached the law.
Whether or not it did, this Bill is an opportunity to make it quite clear that donations to party foundations should be disclosed as donations to parties, whether or not proceeds from foundations are donated or loaned parties.
Rushed law is bad law and this one is no exception. This omission could have been corrected and further time to consider could well have discovered other faults and allowed for improvements to be made.