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Alliance calls for party donation overhaul

The Alliance leader wants to see laws relating to the disclosure of donations to political parties overhauled.

Alliance leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said the public had a right to know that news media organisations made donations to two parties.

He is proposing that donations should be declared before the election.

And he wants to remove the ability of large donors to hide behind secret trusts.

"Donors have made record contributions to United States Presidential election funds this year. Those donations are revealed publicly virtually as soon as they are made. Campaign funding lists are closely scrutinised.

"New Zealanders should also have the opportunity to see who is funding parties in advance of the election. Where news media organisations make donations it would help the public to assess critically the coverage of the media against the pattern of donations."

Jim Anderton said the National Party's use of a trust to conceal the identity of donors was a political outrage.

"The National Party is exploiting a giant loophole. The law is designed to make democracy work better by revealing who is funding political parties. The National Party is exempting itself from the law. The National party's backers are used to using trusts to avoid taxes. Now they're using trusts to avoid their democratic responsibilities.

"The loophole needs to be closed," Jim Anderton said.

ends

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