The NZ Herald launched a “crowdsourcing” initiative to go digging into political donations after the returns were released by they Electoral Commission.
It is the sort of panty sniffing behaviour we’ve come to expect from the Herald.
Basically they are trying to find Â donors and then single them out for this donation or that donation and try to pass some sort of moral judgment on that.
Little wonder then that donors try to remain as anonymous as they can.
Essentially though the Herald has found nothing, but after touting their great initiative with much fanfare they had to write something. David Fisher was obviously busy making up something else so they pulled in Matt Nippert to write the hit job.
An analysis of electoral finance declarations shows more than 80 per cent of donations to National Party candidates were channelled through party headquarters in a loophole described as akin to legal “laundering”.
National’s heavy reliance on funding candidates with donations from the party – shown in a Herald study to account for more than $1m out of $1.2m raised by their candidates for the 2014 general election – was a “striking use of electoral law that appears to be laundering the money”, said Otago University political science lecturer Bryce Edwards.
Electoral law requires candidates to reveal the identity of donors who contribute $1,500 or more, but political parties can keep donors secret even if they give up to $15,000.
Dr Edwards said the channelling of candidate donations through parties had “become a way around” having to disclose more information about the source of campaign funds.
“It’s not illegal and it’s up to different interpretations whether it’s ethical or not, but there should now be heat on politicians to explain what’s going on and to tighten up this loophole,” he said.