Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Rich boys and their toys - Dunne Speaks

Rich boys and their toys - Dunne Speaks

11 June 2014

“Rich boys and their toys” usually describes the obsession of wealthy men to use their wealth to achieve something they can do only through their wealth, because they lack the ability to ever be likely to do otherwise. The success of magnates like Alan Bond and more recently Larry Ellison in winning yachting’s America’s Cup by bankrolling campaigns rather than any innate sailing ability of their own comes quickly to mind, but they are by no means exclusive examples.

Now, the concept has even extended to politics, with the variation that the obsession is usually with a more quixotic than mainstream political brand, and the likelihood of ridicule and catastrophe that much higher. In terms of the individuals themselves that is not necessarily something to be worried about (because they all seem pretty odd to start with anyway) but its implications for the body politic and the expression of democracy are more worrying.

In Britain, a multimillionaire football manager called Paul Sykes has donated more than £1.5 million to the neo-fascist, racist UK Independence Party, which polled strongly in the recent local and European elections. In Australia, the Federal Government looks increasingly likely to be hostage to the irascible, eccentric, classic car for every day of the week, mining magnate, Clive Palmer, who funded his fledging Palmer United Party to the tune of $A12 million at last year’s Federal Election to protect his own interests. And now the cancer has spread to New Zealand. Two equally bizarre and unlovely characters are spraying their largesse around to achieve their allegedly political objectives. Kim Dotcom has donated around $3.25 million to his fledging Mana/Internet/Old Style Jim Anderton Alliance Party with the expressed purpose of not influencing his forthcoming extradition battle, but more nobly, utilising this hydra headed vehicle and the renowned tactful and conciliatory skills of the Harawiras to make a positive contribution to the good and stable governance of New Zealand. At the other end of the spectrum (I think, although can never be sure, given the musings on chem trails and moon landings that may never have been) Colin Craig has funded his Conservative Party to the tune of already more than $2 million in its fight against the social advances of the 21st century and for a return to the values of the Old Testament.

Now, one of the elements of a functioning democracy is that everyone has the right to have a say. No problem at all with that – but the question has to be asked whether that includes the opportunity to buy an election we now seem to be witnessing. Or, put another way, the right to use financial resources to achieve outcomes they could only dream of otherwise.

Amidst all the fog and buffoonery that accompanies them, an essential fact remains. Just as no yachting syndicate would have ever selected a Bond or an Ellison on the basis of merit or ability, most surely there is no credible political party anywhere on earth that would have selected a Sykes, or a Palmer, a Dotcom or a Craig, as a candidate on the basis of what they could potentially add to the national tapestry and rational discourse, a point we as voters should never overlook.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The National Leadership “Contest”

Key’s endorsement of English has turned this “contest” into a race for second place.

This succession was well planned. Lets not forget that English was told by Key in September of his intention to resign, and English was the only member of Cabinet entrusted with that information before it was sprung on everyone else on Monday morning. More>>

Latest: Judith Collins and Jonathan Coleman have withdrawn from the leadership race, leaving Bill English the only candidate to replace John Key as Prime Minister.

 

Education, Marketing, Taxes: Health Groups Call For Actions For Sugary Drinks

The New Zealand Dental Association is launching a new consensus statement on Sugary Drinks endorsed by key health organisations. The actions seek to reduce harm caused by sugary drinks consumption. More>>

ALSO:

More Departures? David Shearer Proposed For UN Peacekeeping Role

Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Security Agencies' Reports: GCSB Wants To Give ISPs More Power To Block Threats

The Government Communications Security Bureau wants to give internet service providers more information and power to block cyber threats which are increasing, its director told the intelligence and security select committee yesterday.. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Charter Schools Misleading Pass Rates

Labour: NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated... In one case a school reported a 93.3 per cent pass rate when the facts show only 6.7 per cent of leavers achieved NCEA level two. More>>

ALSO:

Rebstock Report Resolution: SSC Apologises To Derek Leask And Nigel Fyfe

Following a complaint by Mr Leask, the Ombudsman found that the State Services Commission acted unreasonably in relation to Mr Leask and identified numerous deficiencies in the investigation process and in the publication of the final report and in the criticisms it contained of Mr Leask... More>>

ALSO:

International Rankings: Student Results 'Show More Resourcing Needed'

NZEI: New Zealand had only held relatively steady in international rankings in some areas because the average achievement for several other OECD countries had lowered the OECD average -- not because our student achievement has improved. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Salvation Army Report: Beyond The Prison Gate Report

A new Salvation Army report says changes must be made to how prisoners re-enter society for New Zealanders to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Surprise Exit: Gordon Campbell On The Key Resignation

The resignation of John Key is one thing. The way that Key and his deputy Bill English have screwed the scrum on the leadership succession vote (due on December 12) is something else again. It remains to be seen whether the party caucus – ie, the ambitious likes of Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, and Amy Adams – will simply roll over... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news