Political donations - what even is happening? February 19, 2020
Political donations - what even is happening? February 19, 2020Political donations - what even is happening? February 19, 2020
Political donations! What the heck is going on. The dodginess continues with every other week RNZ bringing out another story showing the way in which NZ First has been allegedly trying to get around political donation rules - and succeeding. First it was the National Party though with the Simon Bridges and Jami-Lee Ross drama. That particular case was taken to the Serious Fraud Office and 4 individuals related to the party have now been charged in relation to two separate donations of 100,000 dollars. 3 of those people are actually seeking for their names to be revealed. One has now been revealed to be Jami-Lee Ross. NZ First on the other hand has been in the news because what RNZ has seen is a number of documents relating to donations made to the NZ First Foundation, a separate entity to the actual party that has been taking this money and what seems to be the case, using it for things it is not meant to be used for - apparently. However - we don’t know anything yet because this has only just been taken to the Serious Fraud Office, and party leader Winston Peters himself has stated he looks forward to the result of the investigation and is willing to review party policy if needed. The other side of the issue is the seeming pattern becoming clear that shows a number of donations being made, some by the same people and on the same day, of just under the threshold where you are then required to reveal the donor’s name. You may recall the Bridges and Ross recorded phone conversation where Bridges seemed to be instructing Ross to split a larger donation into smaller amounts with the implication being that they would then not need to reveal the names. SO! Back to NZ First. Last week Peters took responsibility for having photos taken of certain journalists who had been involved in the investigation. The photos were then posted on The BFD, a Whale-Oil linked website. This of course invokes in one the memory of Dirty Politics.. It goes on.
So where are we even at with all this. What does it all mean? And why should we be invested in the conversation. Recently, political commentator Dr Bryce Edwards released a column pointing out the silence of both the Labour and Green parties on the matter saying this could be seen as unethical in itself - just to add to it all. Lillian Hanly wanted to talk to Bryce more about this and started by asking how he felt when this all first came about.