The advent of political Mega-donors

The best thing about Kim Dotcom pouring millions into this election is that he has set the benchmark for all other parties…and it is the left-wing that has done it.

Previously we have had whinging from unions, Labour and the Greens about donations like that from Tony Astle or from chinese donors…but that was always small beer compared to the union cash, Owen Glenn’s half million to Labour and now Kim Dotcom’s millions to the Internet party.

Labour attacked Simon Lusk for daring to write a paper which some disaffected and myopic Nats leaked to them, where he advocated for the professionalisation of politics. Precisely that which Kim Dotcom is now doing.

We haven’t heard a peep really though from Trevor Mallard about German bagmen, or paid professionals, and nor will we…because when the left do it then everything is ok.

We have now entered an era of big money in politics and there isn’t a damn thing that can be done to stop it. I welcome the advent of this…and quietly snigger at the trap the left has set for themselves.

National though needs to clean out the board and any fool holding positions that hankers for the era of amateurism in politics. They need to go, because like with Rugby Union the inevitable has happened, and it is now time for the professionals. Peter Goodfellow, Alistair Bell and any other office holder who advocated for the “Lusk Clause” in candidate training needs to quit. The party now needs to mobilise and raise proper funds and set up a formalised training programme that recognises true political talent and encourages that.  

Of course there will be the naysayers, but like it or not politics has become about money and we won’t be hearing any moaning from the left about it anymore.

Like night follows day we are following what is happening overseas.

In past elections, most major donors boosted candidates or causes closely aligned with the Democratic or Republican establishments. Now it’s just as likely that the biggest checks will be spent bucking the system (witness the Tea Party movement). At a time when wealth is increasingly coalescing in the bank accounts of the richest 1 percent of American citizens, members of this mega-donor community—and the consultants who spur them on—are wresting control from the political parties and their proxies. In a perverse kind of way, the new system is more democratic, but only for those with the cash to buy in.

The 2012 election was a tipping point in this evolution—the first in the modern campaign finance era in which independent groups like those powered by the mega-donors spent more money, $2.5 billion, than the political parties themselves (which spent $1.6 billion). Some of the implications of this trend will likely take years to become apparent, but it has already profoundly reshaped the political landscape. The parties are losing the ability to pick their candidates and set their agendas, as fewer and fewer politicians rely on the financial support of their party to win. In fact, it can be preferable to have the backing of a sugar-daddy donor or a group with deeper pockets willing to spend unlimited cash to fight the party.

2014 has become New Zealand’s tipping point…and Labour is now in serious trouble because of it. They are going to have to get serious about fundraising instead of relying on dead people, rich narcissistic faux billionaires and the unions to give them cash. They can thank Kim Dotcom for queering the pitch like he has.

Meanwhile let us enjoy the fact that New Zealand has entered a new professional political era.


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