The importance of rich political donors

Over half of major political donations come from wealthy individuals able to splash out $15,000 or more, new research shows.

Fully 52 percent of the money from donations over $1500 in 2011-2016 came in chunks of $15,000 or more. Donations under $1500 aren’t declared, but aren’t thought to make up a significant percentage of party funding given the small population of New Zealand.

This shows you why Labour have continued to suffer after blowing off some of their more generous donors.  

“If parties are reliant on very wealthy people for half of their donations, then they aren’t going to ignore them are they? I think it must lead to influence for at least a certain class of people,” Rashbrooke said.

Max Rashbrooke: “If parties are reliant on very wealthy people for half of their donations, then they aren’t going to ignore them are they?”

“We are very sceptical of politics and politicians usually. It would be very strange if we were all of a sudden naive and assume these people are just giving money as a public service or because they really like the party.”

While the general public often think about donations in terms of trade unions and industry lobby groups, Rashbrooke said the vast majority of funding comes from individual donors.

National is overwhelmingly the largest recipient of donations, raising $11.7m over the six years between 2011 and 2016, almost three times Labour’s $3.9m. But just 22 percent of their funds come from donations of over $15,000.

Pundits that think Bill English buckled under the UNSC 2334 issue due to his colleagues in caucus not agreeing with him don’t understand the large number of $15,000+ donors that told English that if he didn’t tidy up the mess with Israel, he’d be running the election without their support.

Whaleoil did a mental tally of the donors that would have taken that stance and it would be not too far south of a million.

The public didn’t change Bill’s mind.  Caucus didn’t change Bill’s mind.  The threat of losing long term financial support did.


– Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.