Jim Hopkins on current issues

Jim Hopkins is a Herald columnist

Jim Hopkins: Take from ready funders - the bigger, the better

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Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Kim Dotcom. Photo / Sarah Ivey

This could be our first case of Mad Kraut disease, a local variant of the Californian malaise. Unlikely, granted, but it could be.

The poor fellow may have lost der plot. And he has had a lot on his mind lately, what with the court case and extradition. So Mr Dotcom may have gone dotty. Or potty. Or both. He may have had some stress-related conniption which has led him to recollect things in a befuddled fashion.

Stress does play tricks with the human mind. It twists our reason and taints our memory. It insinuates itself in the synapses, trifling at will with our recollections and judgment, whatever our station in life. Stress can strike a modest, unassuming, reliable, trustworthy soul with no axe to grind as easily as it does an embattled entrepreneur.

So that could be what's happened here. Mr Nudge may never have met Mr Wink at the latter's anonymous mansion in ADDRESS DELETED (though we all know it's Coatesville). And even if they did meet for a little tete-a-tete of a general and wide-ranging nature, Mr Wink may never have said to Mr Nudge, "Vould you like some Dotdosh for ze Mayoral campaign? I'm sure ve could megaupload sumzink to help."

And even if he did, Mr Nudge may not have said, "Fantastic, but make sure it's anonymous. That way, Wink's not helping Nudge, if you get my gist, nudge Nudge, wink Wink."

And even if words to that effect were exchanged by the person or persons who may or may not have been there at the time, it wouldn't be illegal. Or it probably wouldn't be illegal. Unless you find out, after you've advised someone to make an anonymous donation, that they did make an anonymous donation, in which case you shouldn't ring them to say, "Thank you for the donation I don't know you've made."

But - and this is where the legal stuff gets murky - if you do ring them to thank them for the donation they haven't made, then you should probably come down with a galloping case of amnesia as soon as possible and forget whatever never happened - which Mr Blanks (as in memory) very sensibly has.

And they say local government's boring. Balderdash. Poppycock. Stuff and nonsense. It's clearly (or unclearly, if you prefer) a hot bed of intrigue and murk. Because councillors and mayoral candidates are the only ones who can get away with this sort of malarkey. Parliamentarians can't. They can't advise people to flick 'em a few thousand on the quiet.

But the rate raisers can. They can advise people to make anonymous donations - or bung 'em in a trust so nobody knows who's ponied up the loot - and that's absolutely hunky dory, no worries, she'll be right.

Well, this is outrageous. The law must be changed immediately. It is utterly and absolutely intolerable that local body types should be the only ones enjoying such privileges. All they do is build stadiums and unblock drains. They don't have a whole country to run, for crying out loud.

But Mr Key does. And Mr Shearer might. And Pita and Tariana and Russel and Metiria and Hone and Winston all want to have their two bob's worth as well. They should be allowed to solicit anonymous donations, too - and the bigger the better, folks.

"No, no!" you cry, "we can't have that." Yes, we can. Better they siphon off the moolah they need from willing funders than do what they're doing now, which is sticking their paws in our pockets and making us pay millions for their election campaigns.

If you're worried about rorts, then parliamentarians voting themselves the right to loot and pillage taxpayers at large (irrespective of their political persuasions) has got to be right up there in the megadodgy department.

We wouldn't tolerate a supermarket charging admission so we could go in and buy their specials. Nor would the most credulous hypochondriac happily pay twice for their snake oil. But for some perverse reason, we accept this ransacking of the public purse for party political gain.

On the spurious grounds that if we don't, one party might get more money than another and that wouldn't be fair. Especially since we're all utterly gullible and can't think for ourselves and will meekly swallow the bigger-budget party's propaganda because we see more of it.

A stroppier nation would consider this a gratuitous insult to the intelligence of every voter and reject it as condescending piffle. And yet we remain determined to worry more about other people's "anonymous" donations than the fact that every one of us, like it or not, has been conscripted - and levied - as a party political donor.

It's time we started worrying about our own money, not other people's. Enough of this priggish "need to know" nonsense. Let Mr Dotnonymous and his ilk foot the bill, if such is their wont. At least we won't have to.

- NZ Herald

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