For the excitable out there: donation disclosure thresholds

David Farrar

For the excitable out there, let me explain the three different sorts of donations and the thresholds.

  1. A donation or a gift to an MP personally must be disclosed if over $500. That is because it benefits them personally.
     
  2. A donation to an electorate candidate over $1,500 must be disclosed. The spending limit during the regulated period is $25,700 so any donation over 5.8% of their spending cap gets disclosed.
     
  3. A donation to a political party over $15,000 must be disclosed. The spending limit during the regulated period for a party that contests all 71 electorates is $2,915,700 so any donation over 0.5% of their spending cap gets disclosed

The reasons we have disclosure is to guard against purchasing undue influence. Personal donations to an MP directly benefit them, hence the low threshold. A donation of say $5,000 to a political party represents probably around 0.1% of their election year expenditure, so isn’t significant. That is why the threshold is $15,000 (I think a case can be made for it to be $10,000 as it used to be), not $500.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.

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