Parliament

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

Mediaworks: Three to be sold or closed

MediaWorks has today announced that it intends to sell MediaWorks TV as well as its Flower Street property which includes its television head office and studios.

The intention is for MediaWorks to sell the television side of the business while retaining ownership of radio and QMS. The Flower Street property will also be put up for sale with a lease back option for a buyer to continue to operate television from that location.

MediaWorks Chairman Jack Matthews said that MediaWorks is committed to continuing to grow its business in New Zealand while recognising that free-to-air television operates in a challenging environment. More>>

 
 

Could Do Better: Post-Sroubek Review Of Deportation Info

Ms Tremain acknowledges that the review highlighted some aspects of the process that can be improved and makes five main recommendations to strengthen the existing processes for preparing files for decision-makers. Those recommendations are: More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A New Book On The Leaky Homes Scandal

We all know that journalism is short of cash and under pressure from the speed, brevity and clickbait pressures of the 24/7 news cycle… but hey, given the right subject and a sufficiently stubborn journalist, it can still surpass most of the works of the academic historians... More>>

Regulation: Review Finds NZTA Road Safety Failings

The independent review, carried out by consultant agency MartinJenkins, lists at least 10 reasons for the failures including the agency being focused on customer service at the expense of its policing functions. More>>

ALSO:

Rod Carr: Climate Change Commission Chair-Designate Announced

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. More>>

ALSO:

Compliance Complaints: 'Putting Right' Holidays Act Underpayment In Health

The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Disasterous Police Pursuit, Excessive Use Of Dogs

At no stage did Police follow the correct procedure for the commencement of a pursuit... A Police dog handler used his dog to help with the arrest of two of the young people. One suffered injuries resulting in his hospitalisation, and the Authority found that the use of the dog was an excessive use of force. More>>

ALSO:

‘Hard Place To Be Happy’: Report On Youth Residential Care

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the report, A Hard Place to be Happy, contains important challenges from children and young people, aged 9 to 17, about their experiences in care and protection residences. “I found this report extremely difficult to read, and I think most New Zealanders would too.” More>>

Africa And Middle East Refugees: 'Family Link' Restriction Removed

The founder of the Double the Quota campaign has applauded the coalition government for Friday’s announcement that a discriminatory policy would be removed. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels