Christchurch City Mayor Lianne Dalziel’s election expenses return, filed on the last day today, makes a mockery of her claims to have “high expectations of openness and transparency”.
Dalziel’s return hides the identity of those who donated towards her campaign. The relevant section of her return is here:
Dalziel is claiming her husband Robert Davidson donated $1000 worth of items which were auctioned and brought in $39,100 in income for her campaign.
Successful bidders who paid more than $1500 for any of the items should be identified as per Electoral Act requirements. It stretches credibility beyond breaking point to suggest none of the items was purchased for more than $1500 when the total raised was $39,100.
It could be that Dalziel’s return sneaks through a loophole in the law but as it stands it is as clear as volcanic mud who bankrolled her campaign. It may be legal but it is a cynical breach of the spirit of the law designed to keep Christchurch voters in the dark.
Over the years Labour and National politicians (Dalziel is a former Labour MP) have worked hard to hide the identity of those backing their political campaigns, in particular by the use of trusts. They don’t want us to know that their backers are wealthy individuals who support candidates to delivery policies they want.
The people who are paying for a candidate’s message to get out is as important as the message itself.
Last month Dalziel claimed to support “high expectations of openness and transparency at Christchurch City Council”.
In light of her expenses return this is a sick joke on Christchurch ratepayers.
I am writing to the Electoral Commission to ask if Dalziel’s election expenses return is within the law and if so to urge changes in the law to stop candidates hiding the identity of their biggest donors.