No Thank You Peter Goodfellow | The Jackal

15 Aug 2011

No Thank You Peter Goodfellow

Recently the National parties Website underwent an extensive and flashy make over giving more emphasis on appearance rather than substance. As well as unashamedly promoting John Key's smile and wave policy, a request to donate to the blue team became a key feature of the redesign.

Apparently National's donations have been falling off lately, making the expensive website redesign to help Party President Peter Goodfellow hold out his poor little hands understandable.

Despite a Labour led overhaul to the donations process in 2007, there's no prohibitions placed on who can donate to political parties and on average there are more anonymous donations compared to named donations in New Zealand, all of which still raises questions about political corruption.

Definition of corruption within this context:
The abuse of public office for private gain. This definition is rather broad because it can include a range of practices – bribery, extortion, fraud, trafficking, embezzlement, nepotism, patronage, and cronyism.

Using a micro-economic approach, corruption can be seen as a cooperative outcome involving three or more people, where two (or more) people can collude at the expense of a third party. The focus on collusion helps to distinguish corruption from simple fraud, embezzlement, or extortion that only involves the illegal attempts of one party to gain advantage over another.
Documented cases of corruption in New Zealand linked to donations might be rare, but the way in which the current system is run ultimately results in a decline in the levels of trust and confidence in our politicians.

There's no question that it's more likely the political process can be corrupted by bribes because they are predominantly kept secret. But the increased likelihood of buying political influence is a problem that is reinforced by the growing importance of wealthy donors who may see their contributions as a means of securing political influence to increase their wealth.

In particular that influence can ensure a political party undertakes policy that benefits one sector of industry against another for example, or even works against the best interest of the public. Trying to quantify that political corruption is difficult because it involves collusion, which is by its nature a secretive undertaking in which those involved have an interest in keeping quiet about their dealings.

The current process facilitates secretive purchases of political influence, and there are three different standards of corruption currently identified in our political system: quid pro quo deals, monetary influence and distortion.

It's not just purchasing political influence that needs to be addressed to ensure corruption doesn't negatively impact New Zealand; internal conflicts of interest are particularly difficult to legislate against.

Recently it was revealed that workers on chartered fishing vessels in New Zealand's waters were being badly abused. National's reaction in that particular instance is telling... Kate Wilkinson tried to deport witnesses and victims of that abuse at sea making it evident that they have something to hide.

Well it just so happens that National's Party President Peter Goodfellow is Director of Sanford Ltd, New Zealand’s largest publicly owned fishing company. Sanford regularly utilizes the chartered fishing system and National clearly has an interest in closing down any investigation into whether the fishing industry uses slave labor.

Further changes need to be made to ensure those who have the funds and/or influence to do so, do not bribe our politicians or buy their way into power. Presently the Greens seem to be the only party interested in restoring the public's faith in our political system and supposed representatives, which speaks volumes if you ask me.

Update: National has shit loads of money, Cameron Slater was talking rubbish!