Foreign donation loophole still wide open
Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross says the Government’s foreign donation ban is a ban in name only.
“The Government’s announcement that they will lower the overseas donations restrictions from $1,500 to $50 does nothing to close the back door to foreigners influencing NZ politics through companies and other structures.
“The real evil of foreigners interfering in our democracy is not through $1,500 donations, but rather through $150,000 donations funnelled through foreign-owned companies.
“Any foreigner can be involved in a registered NZ company and utilise that as a back door to influencing our political parties.
“New Zealand’s democracy is sacred and cannot be allowed to be interfered with by overseas entities who seek to influence this country’s elections through donations to political parties.
”Earlier this year government ministers rightly panned the National Party’s $150,000 donation from a Chinese owned company called Inner Mongolia Rider Horse NZ in 2017.
”But when given a chance to clean up the law, they have failed to effectively protect our democracy from foreign interference.
“The only way to effectively ban foreigners from influencing our politics is to restrict who can make donations to people who are entitled to vote in New Zealand elections.
“If you aren’t entitled to influence an election by voting, you should not be entitled to influence an election by donating to a political party.
“The Government has made a small step in the right direction but it has not done much.
“I will vote for this small change, but sadly the level of donation transparency in New Zealand politics will only marginally improve.”