I know it happens everywhere. If you have money you get to bend the ear of politicians. And yes, compared with some other countries money doesn’t talk quite as loudly in NZ politics- but it does talk.
Two days before it happened last Sunday I received an invitation to:
“An Evening with Michael Wood featuring special Guest Auckland Mayor Phil Goff who will give an address about the future of our city and answer questions from the audience.”
I was informed
“This event is for all Businesses but restricted in numbers to 100-150 persons and will be catered with food and drinks.
The event will be attended by VIP Guests, Community and Business Leaders and organisations from all over Auckland.
There will be cultural performances showing the diversity of Auckland city.
Venue: Mandarin Palace Seafood Restaurant
Date: Sunday, 15th September 2019
Venue Address: 9 Aviemore Drive, Highland Park, Auckland
Time: 6:00 – 10:00 PM
VIP Tables (10 seats / table, 2 tables only): $1000
General Table (10 seats / table): $600
General Admission: $60 each limited “
The event , the ad said was authorised by MP Michael Wood.
2 tables of 10 Very Important People at $1000 each? ($20,000?)
1 table of 10 People of Lesser Importance at $600 per person? ($6000?)
Say 100 Even Less Important People at $60 per person? ($6000?)
A potential haul then of $32,000 minus expenses from that evening if the prices quoted was per person. If not, it’s $8600 minus expenses.
Anyway you read it , if this was a fund raiser then into whose campaign chest did this money go?
Michael Wood’s? Phil Goff’s? The NZ Labour Party’s? NZ-Indian-Origin Labour (who seem to have organised the event)?
I leave the question open because, frankly, while I could spend time chasing down the answers I have no doubt it’s all perfectly legal.
My point is – if you think the rich don’t pay to get the ear of politicians to push their own agendas in our country, think again.
Needless to say I did not take up the invitation.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.