The Green Party is calling on the new justice Minister, Kiritapu Allan to introduce a $35,000 annual limit on political donations.
“Democracy is for everyone, not those with the deepest pockets and most people would be shocked to find out that we do not currently have an upper limit on the amount that can be donated to a politician or party. It is time to take big money out of politics,” says Green spokesperson for electoral reform, Golriz Ghahraman.
Last year the Government consulted on a number of targeted changes ahead of the 2023 General Election. These changes included lowering the disclosure threshold from $15,000 to $1,500 for party donations, and requiring political parties to make public their annual financial statements. However they did not include an annual limit on political donations. The Green Party is calling on the new Minister to introduce a maximum annual limit for donations of $35,000.
“We need a level playing field where every New Zealander has an equal say in our democracy. The Government’s proposed changes are welcome. They are changes the Green Party advocated for last term. However, excluding an upper limit is a missed opportunity, which leaves our democracy at risk of big money interference.
“My Electoral (Strengthening Democracy) Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament last month would introduce a maximum limit on how much can be donated to political parties each year. However we are calling on the Government to make this change now.
“Most very wealthy donors donate to political parties in order to further certain interests. For example, we have seen overseas that climate action is impeded again and again by big oil interests.
“No one wants an American style of politics in New Zealand. New Zealanders deserve better. A number of democracies we compare ourselves to have firm limits of political donations. In Canada, for example, the maximum someone can donate is capped at $1675.
“Political debate should not be for sale to a small number of very wealthy people. Without the interference of big money, politicians can focus on addressing the issues that matter most to people – like introducing a wealth tax and rent controls, building affordable homes, lifting everyone’s income to liveable levels, climate action that puts people first, and action to restore the health of our native wildlife.
“Our democracy belongs to everyone. The Green Party will continue to push for fair, inclusive donations reforms, alongside other electoral reform issues in my Strengthening Democracy members’ bill,” says Golriz Ghahraman.