There is no corruption in New Zealand. Much like there is no depression in New Zealand. If we say it, it must be true.
In my view, our electoral donation system is a joke. It's not a United States level joke but that's capitalism run amok. Here it's just capitalism buying favours.
The New Zealand First funding saga is tricky to explain and so it doesn't seem to be resonating with the public as much as it should. I'm sure they paid some fancy pants law firm to design the New Zealand First Foundation so it's probably pretty legal.
The National Party has used it as an opportunity to attack the Prime Minister which is comical because National is currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office for allegedly breaching donor laws, while National's strategic guru, Todd McClay, has had serious scrutiny over some dalliances with some Chinese donors while he was overseas as a Minister.
Labour certainly ain't no angel either. It charges people large amounts of money for dinners where Ministers speak, not in their capacity as Ministers of course. Or you can pay through the nose for lunch with the Prime Minister, who I'm sure is wonderful company but it just doesn't seem right that rich people get these opportunities while most have no chance of that sort of access unless there's a school breakfast programme being launched at their kids' school.
You can tell how bad it is, despite National's criticism, Bridges has said he doesn't see fit to change our donation laws. He doesn't seem to want more transparency. His party benefits the most.
At the last election, 37 National electorate MPs noted only one donor to their campaigns: the National Party. This legally would mean that all $860,000 in donations would have to have been made to the National Party in amounts under $1500.
As far as I know we're not at a stage where organisations like tobacco companies are donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to parties on the sly so that legislation against their products isn't too strict, but that doesn't mean we're okay.
Former Prime Minister, and now old man wracked with regret, Jim Bolger, says we should state-fund elections to fix this problem. Bridges said no way Jimbo, that infringes on free speech, which is only a legitimate argument if you think free speech is something you pay for.
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But state funding isn't necessarily the way to go either, as it entrenches incumbency, stopping new parties from being able to get the necessary resources to compete.
The idea of democracy vouchers could be a solution. Everyone in the country gets a voucher that they can donate to the party of their choosing. And if you don't want to donate then the money isn't spent.
The one saving grace is that over the last three elections we've had rich white dudes throw millions of dollars at vanity parties like the Internet Party, the Conservatives and TOP and all came up short, which I guess means that money doesn't necessarily equal success. Or wisdom. But it's certainly not an even playing field.
The Prime Minister said that National's donor issues were not "within the spirit of the law", well unless her definition of spirit is different to mine, New Zealand First looks to me like it's also operating well outside this spirit but so far we've heard no criticism.
We need to make sure that people trust in democracy and that our votes aren't undermined by wealthy donors.
The time for change is decades ago. But it's not going to be popular. All the parties seem to benefit from the opacity of our current regime. Because there is, after all, no corruption in New Zealand.