Is the Herald helping Labour fundraise?

In today’s Herald it appears that they have shown their true colours and are trying to help the Labour Party fundraise.

The Labour Party’s financial deficit problems should be of concern to all New Zealanders. It is not necessary to be aligned with National or Labour to recognise that a healthy democracy needs two parties capable of providing sound government. Labour’s fundraising difficulties, revealed in its latest annual financial report, are not a surprise. Ever since the party’s former president, Mike Williams, stepped down there have been murmurs that his successors did not have the same persuasive touch with business donors.

Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams is a good bastard, but you certainly make sure you count all your fingers after shaking hands with him. He sure did know how to fundraise.

I’m not sure how Labour’s financial woes should be a concern for all of us. If Labour fails because they can’t raise money then that is because they are bereft of ideas in an open marketplace of ideas. They simply aren’t attracting the capital because the ideas they present are stupid. Donations are the canary in the coal mine for political parties. If you aren’t getting donations it is because of several factors, all of which are under your control. Firstly the personnel of the party, tired, old and out of touch means no money. Secondly, policy platform, again if it is tired, old and out of touch you won’t attract money. Thirdly, government in waiting…if donors don’t think you have a chance at winning then you don’t get any money. It’s that simple.

So, if Labour goes broke and disappears it doesn’t matter as politics abhors a vacuum and a new party or better ideas will float to the surface in the political flotsam and jetsam of a sunk Labour Party.   

There is a long tradition of large companies in this country donating fairly equitably to both major parties for exactly the reason already stated. No one party is ever going to govern New Zealand unchallenged. We are an electorate in the Westminster tradition of politics, like Australia, the United States and others, that expects a choice at elections and one way or another we will get it. If one of the main parties is wound up, a new one will rise on its side of public opinion.

I call bullshit on that. Only in some, and by that I mean one or two, large public companies has that tradition been established. Sky City is one, the old Telecom was another…but that’s about it really.

Last year was a difficult one for Labour. Its only prospect of winning power was in a coalition with the Greens, Winston Peters and possibly the concoction of the far-left financed by Kim Dotcom. This was not a prospect to inspire corporate generosity. The Green Party is said to have raised more in donations than Labour did. David Cunliffe did his utmost to distance Labour from Internet-Mana but probably not enough to put donors’ minds at ease.

The Green Party and the prospect of them sharing power with Labour is what is nobbling fundraising efforts from Labour.

The political stage now is quite different. Labour has a pragmatic leader in Andrew Little, who is going out of his way to win the confidence of business and focus the party on the nature of work and economic security in the future. The Greens, too, have a new co-leader with corporate experience and a businesslike outlook on issues. No mad-hatter party is around anymore.

The country will go to the next election with sensible alternatives on offer, to re-elect National for a fourth term or decide it’s time for a change. Three-term governments have usually been enough for New Zealand voters, but normally the mood for change is evident by this time. Labour may have to hang in for a longer haul and it needs help. It deserves a fair deal from those doing well in an economy that took two parties to put right.

Talk about seriously deluded, in thinking that a Labour/Greens/Winston alignment is a “sensible alternative”. People will look at that and say thanks, but no thanks, we will vote for that nice Mr Key again. There isn’t a mood for change, and unlikely to be a mood for change, that I can see.

John Key can still be caught in the back of a sheep and people will look the other way.


– NZ Herald

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