TDB told you this election was bought – here’s the proof!


Election donations: National Party raises $10.4 million for election

The National Party has disclosed a massive $10.4 million in donations in its election-year haul for 2023, more than double the amount declared by any other party and believed to be the most taken in one year.

The Electoral Commission has released the political parties’ annual donations returns today, including donors of more than $5000 and the sum of smaller donations. Parties only have to disclose donations of more than $20,000 immediately.

National’s war chest totalled $10.4m, while Labour raised less than half of that with $4.8m. The Act Party declared $4.3m, the Green Party $3.3m and NZ First $1.8m.

Te Pāti Māori disclosed $161,000

A cynic might claim that the wealthy donor class paid for a hard right racist climate denying beneficiary bashing Government to give them a $2.9billion tax break and borrow $15billion for tax cuts and the first thing that ruling class do is build a mega prison to house all the people Mark Mitchell’s new police state will start bashing.

Is that a cynical view or are there some horrifying truths in that statement?

I believe it highlights horrifying truths about our political system and the ease with which the donor class can ensure their interests are protected over the interests of the rest of us!

TDB Recommends

Bernard Hickey calls it the ‘Dark Heart of NZ’s Political Economy‘, and it’s the Real Estate Pimps protecting their golden goose while Governments simply import fake growth from exploiting migrant workers but not taxing the rich to pay for the infrastructure…

The failure of yet another pre-fabricated house builder1 and a legal threat2 against our biggest council to force more greenfields development are two more signs, if we needed them, that our economy and society are now just a residential land market with bits tacked on.

These two latest events again demonstrate the massive skew in our tax settings in favour of housing land ownership has so changed the DNA of our political economy that nothing really changes without the removal of that skew. They also show the election debate we’re having has yet again failed to address the three elephants in our societal room:

    • residential land will have to be taxed and business investment incentivised to change the land-seeking, inequality-widening and low-capital-investment biases now embedded throughout our economy, politics and society;
    • our infrastructure financing and taxation systems are totally broken and inadequate at both central and governmental level, yet no politicians want to have honest conversations with each other or voters about how to fix it by increasing taxes and/or user-pays charges; and,
    • the bipartisan and accidentally-on-purpose Government policy settings enabling and encouraging population growth of 1.5-2% per annum through migration of guest workers dominates our economic and societal outlook, and remains undebated and unacknowledged.

…none of this is being acknowledged or debated…

The dominant way that house builders, land owners, land bankers and households make outsized profits and capital gains in Aotearoa-NZ is to buy more land, preferably with a big mortgage, and wait. They don’t need to build a house efficiently, or any house at all. They don’t need to build a profitable business or invest in shares in someone else’s business. It’s always, always about the business of driving up land values and using mortgage debt to increase the leveraged returns, which aren’t available from other investments.

Home owners and land bankers just need that land zoned residential, and can then wait for the leverage, time and the failure of central and local Government to build the infrastructure to cope with regular 1.5-2% population growth to deliver the rents and untaxed capital gains to make the owner far richer than they ever be from saving wages or profits.

Working in a job or profession or investing in a business or managed fund is a mug’s game, compared to the leveraged, spectacular, government-guaranteed, ongoing and tax-free capital gains on residential land. The differences in incentives between investing equity in leveraged-up land and investing equity in unable to be leveraged stocks or business investments are so vast. In other countries, capital gains on land and other asset value increases are taxed, while savings in funds that invest in businesses receive tax incentives, either on the way into the fund or in the fund itself. Savings in our investment funds are taxed throughout.

This royally skewed set of incentives is why our housing market is worth NZ$1.6 trillion, which is four times our GDP (NZ$400 billion), 10 times the value of our listed companies (NZX total market value of $160 billion), eight times larger than our total managed funds sector ($200 billion including NZ Super Fund and ACC) and 16 times larger than our only-very-marginally-incentivised household pension funds (Kiwisaverat $100 billion). For comparison, Australia’s housing market is worth the same four times GDP, but is worth four times stocks, three times and funds under management. In the United States, its housing market is worth twice GDP, once the stock market, twice funds under management and 7.5 times its comparable ‘subsidised’ household pensions market, which is known as 401k in America, rather than KiwiSaver.

This dark heart of our political economy shows up regularly in all sorts of ways, in particular the focus of investors, developers, politicians and equity-rich home owners on greenfields development of clearly-titled and mortgageable plots of land. An actual occupied house on the land is a bonus, but not necessary to be exposed to these gains.

…I told you the Real Estate Pimps were buying this election!

Analysis: Property industry tops political donations

An RNZ analysis of political donations since 2021 shows people involved in the property industry are giving the most – and almost all of it is going to National, ACT and NZ First.
Since 2021, people aligned with the property industry have donated more than $2.5 million to political parties.

More than half of the cash from the property industry went to the National Party (53 percent), followed by ACT (32 percent) and New Zealand First (12 percent). Labour received 2 percent.

Real Estate Pimps have donated millions to National and in return National have given landlords the right to kick tenants out with no notice while reopening Landlord tax loop holes.

This Government is literally taking from the poor to fill the pockets of the richest landlords!

This is a class war on renters but we don’t have the political vocabulary to articulate it.

Let’s remind ourselves just how vested the Landlord class is..

…there is an unspoken promise between the neoliberal State and the untaxed capital gains private landlord class that the neoliberal State never builds enough State Houses to alleviate housing desperation so that the untaxed capital gains private landlord class can exploit that housing desperation ON TOP OF getting a $1.5Billion annual subsidy in the form of the Accommodation Allowance EVERY SINGLE YEAR!

The neoliberal State work hand in glove with the interests of the untaxed capital gains private landlord class to constantly keep desperation in the Housing market by never building enough State Houses WHILE handing taxpayer funded subsidies to the untaxed capital gains private landlord class!


The rich have bought themselves a Government that is only bound by their universal contempt for the poor and beneficiaries.

We are a better people than these donors interests have shaped us into being.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

If you can’t contribute but want to help, please always feel free to share our blogs on social media






  1. Wealthy people back winners so why would anyone back the last Labour government.
    Labour has been forward thinking in the past especially Clarke in her first 2 terms but the last lot were poorly lead and no policy to grow.

    • So by inference, you’re saying the rest of us back losers.

      Is this quality inherent to non-wealthy people Trevor?
      Or is it simply that most of us can’t afford to buy political power and therefore get exactly what we want like the wealthy donors that have bought National and Act?
      Or are you, in fact, just revealing some underlying snobbery?
      Interested to know.

  2. When you are stuck with a party & its supporters who believe that they are the better economic managers despite the evidence showing the opposite then they obviously do not have the intelligence to encourage real productive industries. This is why they stick with property as it is all they can understand although like all bubbles eventually it will pop. That is no consultation to first-home buyers forced into crushing debt or renters stuck in a cycle of poverty with high rents reducing the amount they can save with the added pain coming from both major parties seemingly unable to solve the problem. Labour did make good first steps but it was too little too late.

  3. All this blood money didn’t really get them elected but it ensured that Mr. 8% and Mr. 6% came in on the coat tails to wreak havoc on democracy. Will these big donors be happy with this awful coalition or will they vote with their dollars somewhere else next time. They can’t be happy with our weak PM, he has no portfolios. does no real work visits schools and kindergartens on his days off ( which are many) however his downright laziness is not called out by the so called journalists they only call out the likes of JA and green MP’s and mayors . This weak pm makes no important decisions and is very afraid of Winston Peters and that’s why Shane Jones won’t get sacked neither will little Simeon for misleading parliament because he is a little man not one of the little women.

  4. Apparently National’s Penk is going to Australia to try and source cheaper house building materials..

    He might source the odd product but it will barely shift the dial on the cost of a house.

    Land is overvalued by a factor of 5.

    Realestate agents rort every sale.

  5. It’s how its always been since the Westminster System was foisted on us and everywhere else in the 19th century.

    • What then must you think of the Wall Street System? And in case you hadn’t noticed we’re no longer in the 19th century. The crown is a sometimes dubious collaboration of human beings, warts and all, whereas capitalism isn’t. Capitalism, which is the only other ‘thing’ we’ve got is more a binary code best suited to an episode of Black Mirror. It can also be called neo-liberalism which is what we have currently.
      National, labour, act ( Vomit) NZ first, The Maori Party and factions of the Green party are all the same thing. They’re all neo-liberal AKA God Bless Capitalism aka “Greed is Good”.
      Why else do you think the mantra “Greed is Good” fits so nicely into a capitalist structure?
      Wall Street.
      With what’s coming at us we’ll be fucked without the Commonwealth to save the Queens Chain and the many other advantages of being part of an albeit dubious, inbred family comprised of brilliance, Class and incestuous dinning table droolers, bless them.
      The day will come of course, as days have a habit of doing, when we’ll be wiped off AO/NZ to make way for a new breed of plasti-titted pectoral flexers with an all bought and paid for God on their side to tell them how to fuck us on the deal.
      And can I draw your attention to The United States of America! Ta! Da! Colonial grunter-squeakers sent them damn red coats off and now they got trump aka Drumph. They also got biden, a thinly coated robot with a sprung mouse trap mind. They got Hollywood and they got some of the most draconian laws and perverted habits of anywhere in the world. Look closely at their abortion laws and general laws pertaining to women not to mention their fetishes for God Bothering. Look at The U$A’s care for their sick and elderly? Look at the phenomenon of trailer park people roaming from Mall to Mall hoping for a check-out job. You seen this film? Nomadland.
      Currently we belong within a matriarch/ Patriarch crown entity but it’s getting weaker by the moment. And as your most hated Westminster System dies the most terrible things will be rising from its decaying flesh, which could be an analogy for us and our lives as well.
      When we do finally become detached from The Crown we’ll be surprised at how quickly we’ll get fucked.
      I sometimes feel as though I’m witnessing the end of human civilization. Greed, power and narcissism is replacing civility, peace and humility.

  6. Land investment.
    The tax-free real rate of return on NZ land holdings is about 3.5% per annum over a 10 year property cycle.

    Election investment.
    $10.4 million down for a $2.9 billion return. That’s a 27,700% rate of return over a one-year period.

  7. In 2020 Biden’s campaign raised far more money than Trump’s campaign. The Biden campaign was the first in history to exceed $1 billion. Does that mean the Dems “bought” the 2020 presidential election?

  8. The fact that a not very bright man was apparently Key’s protégé says it all really. Neither of them have contributed to this country in a constructive or productive way nor have the skills or talent to do so. Bonnie rightly notes that this lot don’t encourage real productive industries, and as long they and their mates benefit from the status quo the social and economic well-being of the whole community is unlikely to benefit, and the brain drain will worsen, which is probably what they want.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here