Isn’t it time to seriously consider making Political Parties taxpayer funded?


Justice Minister Andrew Little says there is ‘scope for debate’ around political funding rules
Justice Minister Andrew Little is considering looking into changes to the way political parties are funded, and areas such as donation transparency could be part of the discussion.

Little said there was a “natural concern” around the levels of transparency of how parties are funded and whether New Zealand’s laws provide enough protection and transparency.
“I think there is scope for debate and I suspect we will have one.”

Last week, a secretly recorded tape between National Leader Simon Bridges and Jami-Lee Ross raised questions about cash-for-candidates in New Zealand politics.

Bridges denied this was the case, but the tape – released on Twitter by Ross – prompted the Greens to call for sweeping changes to the way political parties are funded.

The issue that has been utterly eclipsed in the JLR vs Bridges civil war is the influence of China attempting to buy 2 MPs for $100 000.

When we see how nakedly the attempt to buy influence is, shouldn’t we start thinking about simply removing that influence all together and just pay each Party a set amount each year based on their Party vote proportion of  out of taxpayer funds?

When you consider the amounts we are talking, (millions in a budget of billions) this is a pittance to safeguard influence free democracy.

This would eliminate not only foreign influence but domestic influence as well. National don’t do a bloody thing about the environment because of the farming lobby influence on their donations,  likewise Labour do sweet FA about changing the sadism within our social welfare agencies  for fear of annoying the Unions who donate to them.

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By simply under writing the Parties with tax dollars we immediately remove domestic and international influence so they can do and make policy that is genuinely for the betterment of the country as  awhile rather than selfish vested interests.

It’s time to publicly fund Political Parties. It would solve so much of the shortsightedness of politics right now.


  1. I agree with you in principle, but in practice it’s tricky. How do new parties that have no current presence in parliament get funding? Basically they would have to raise their profile with no funded advertising until they get enough of a proportion of the party vote to get some funding. This would eliminate the possibility of new political parties ever.

    Also if there is no mechanism for political parties to receive legitimate donations then there will probably be decreased ability to monitor what is happening behind the scenes.

    I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it would be tricky.

    I think public funding to an extent would be helpful, and (much) lower limits for anonymous donations. Making it say $2,000 for candidates and 5,000 for the party would really hamper the ability to break up and hide donations, so at least we would see who was donating to whom.

    • I agree with the point that funding based on previous support will favour the incumbent parties. Enormously if it is simply based on previous voting.
      Parties need to have a threshold of membership to get on the ballot. Maybe once this threshold is reached all candidates should get equal state funding, and or equal free time in state broadcasting .
      D J S

      • David, before I came to NZ I was actively involved in politics in Australia and am pretty certain that the State did subsidise the political parties in federal elections. If I remember correctly each party (which had to be registered) got $1.60 per vote cast above a minimum number of votes.
        Their voting system is Single Transferable Vote, which treats small parties better than ours – theoretically a small party can win a seat starting from a handful of votes, if the transfer of votes is favourable. Also, I think individual donations were allowed, but not from commercial organisations).
        Also Australia has a Senate and it is easier for small parties to
        get a Senate seat. The party I supported (Australian Democrats, never won a Lower House seat) but held the balance in the Senate for years. Perhaps we should simply adopt the Australian system.

  2. Electoral reform isn’t like building roads, so we can’t just let it all go on us, we have to get ahead of electoral reform. We don’t have 2 day voting any more, it’s more like a week or a month thanks to early voting so we need to get ahead of that some how.

    If publicly funded candidates are thrown wide open to any one then designing some sort of entrance exam and marking scheme is going to be pretty important to do because we might end up with idiot savant types coming into power.

    • That’s what we have now, clueless, self serving drongos running the show. So last century machine like thinking, give it a rest & go back to clown school. No one likes a know it all.

      • Making value judgments about democracy or non-democracy is wrong. Making a case for your particular style of education and try and put a positive spine on it, otherwise all you’re doing is what’s called “throwing money at bad” which is bad my little boy.

        So as the big money has filtered in to politics since 1984 onwards we’ve had a steady decline in print news and local news. Do you honestly think the New Zealand herald will send a reporter to ask you what the issues are? No they want, they’ll ignore the running down of the east coast rail line or the local hospital so they can protect there sources and keep the limited revenue coming in as local news continues to decline.

        So throwing open the door to a bunch of new and local candidates can only be good for local news and democracy in general.

        I mean what the hell where you going on about bellow. That’s not something any one can get behind. That’s the delusions of a madman.

        • Who are you to decide what’s right & wrong or to presume that you’re in a position to judge me?

          Do you actually think anyone gives a hoot about your inane ramblings & airy fairy opinions? I repeat myself but a tiny mainstream nobody doing his best to convince himself of his own self importance.

          I see you’ve learnt a little from the national party. Trying to shutdown criticism &/or dissent by insinuating that I’m delusional or mad is getting as low as they are.

          One day you’ll understand that voice in the wilderness prophets like me are always seen by mainstream society as madmen. Part of our extremely sane role in a society that’s gone awry; is too mirror our societies own delusions & imperfections in a way that may shine a light on the collective insanity we all play a part in shaping & perpetuating on a daily basis. If only there we more unholy fools like me, what a beautifully playful & crazy world it would be.

          You’re so easy to wind up because you take yourself so seriously.

          • Back to the darkest days of the old TDB, TDB has been plagued by the native species of the internet, most noteworthy of them being the “Troll.” Often dumber than the voting populas of florida or parnel, these vile xenos are characterised by deafness, blind stupidity, and a tendancy to continue a fight long after the opposition have clearly won. They tend to occupy select corners of the debate community, such as Israeli blogs, Labour vs National scandals, Green Party scandles identity vs culture and rags on technical intelligence.

            The troll that masters the “what about me” deserves nomination for the darwin award which have been a deversion lately, and which have made a stain on the comments section comparable to a colony of cancer or chernoble.

  3. It is time for this, but the problem and challenge will be that most ‘ordinary hard working’ Kiwis feel their money is ‘hard earned’, so they will not want to spend any taxes on political parties. The neoliberal brainwashing has worked effectively, so even young people may not like it, they are more libertarian in thinking, and individualistic, and believe less so in the importance of parties.

    For real change we must first face real disaster and chaos, resulting in a mind change, or we need massive and global brain replacements, not yet expertly done by the medical profession.

  4. You don’t quite say so, but I take it that you intend to prohibit donations, and allow funding only by the state, based on parties’ past proportion of votes. So no TOP funded from Gareth Morgan’s deep pockets, nor Conservatives funded by that other, strangely litigious, millionaire; no new parties, no new ideas. Ever. New Zealand would be condemned to an eternity of Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
    Democracy might be better served by having no state funding for parties, even for the political broadcasts now allowed, and allowing party donations by any person or organisation, but requiring all donations (over, say, a cumulative $1000) and the identity of their donors to be published immediately on a state-sponsored website for public scrutiny.

  5. I don’t know about that…? I suppose. Why not? Better to try to avoid rich fucks Hell bent on ripping us off by making Big Donations to the little flies. Not that we have much left after rich fucks ripped us off.

    But instead? How about making voting a must-do thing like registering your car, dog, gun? A have-to-do thing like filling in a census form? IRD? Y’know that one right? Like paying for stuff and things you buy? Like actually stopping at stop N goes? Red lights? These are the things we must all do. No matter how quirky, funky or fruity we are, God bless our little us’s.
    How about we must vote? Not giving a fuck should no longer be an option. Why the fuck is no one talking about that??? Seriously? I’m serious! Seriously, I’m fucking serious! I’m seriously fucking serious to the point of being way beyond super, Uber, Holy Shit! fucking serious, me.

    • Yes agree voting must be compulsory

      …. and there needs to be civics education in schools

      ….and every New Zealand student must be enrolled on the Electoral Roll before they leave secondary school

      …this is a no brainer start for democracy

  6. Political Party advertising should have similar rules to cigarette packaging.

    There should be health warnings and gory pictures showing what happens to your soul if you get too close to a political party

    I’ve heard In some countries they can only write the bare facts in black and white on the packet so that’s another option – policy published in black and white and the name of the party is with-held so you can only vote for a set of policies.

    A guy can dream…

  7. At very least there must be transparency in ALL donations for political parties enforced by legislation…with severe penalties for hiding donations and the source of donations

    …and this should be collated and made public before the General Election so that voters can see who is supporting which parties…and vote accordingly

    ….there should also be minimum taxpayer public funding for all political parties so they can get their platform ideas out

    ….there should also be a cap on how much each political party is allowed to spend on an election campaign

    ….this would be a start

  8. One thing I would like to know is whether the Catholic Church gave any donations to any political parties before the last General Election…in particular the Labour Party

    I am concerned that the Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse of children in New Zealand is going to exclude abuse committed against children in the Catholic Church institutions and other religious institutions

    Given the record of sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church it seems to be incomprehensible and a corruption that they will be exempt from this Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse of New Zealand children

    At least the Australian Commission of Inquiry into sexual abuse of children has investigated the Catholic Church, but the Catholic Church is still reluctant to accept changes to prevent abuse of children

  9. Get real; smash the rotten party political system, flush our pathetic, outdated democratic institutions down the gurgler & destroy our liberal, middle class globalisation elite. Seize power comrades, suspend elections for 10 years & install a radical, green tinged dictatorship that will get whats really needed done. Fuck I can’t believe how blind, reactive, conventional, conservative & weak willed most of you are. Rock the bloody boat, turn things upside down & around before a race war &/or wretched chaos & the mad scramble for survival completely destroys what our ancestors have built.

    • Before you embarrass yourself further by actually commenting on electoral fororm.., this is the comments section ie humour NOT meant to be serious. Oh God!

  10. Isn’t it time to seriously consider making Political Parties taxpayer funded?

    a) Yes. They need to do it know before dirty politics gets worse.

  11. No. It annoys the hell out of me already that we have MPs earning as much as they are, where there is no possibility of them earning that money on the outside.

    If they want us to pay for their electioneering, then let them have a huge salary cut.

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