National, Labour score bonus taxpayer funding after minor parties fail to register

One of the beneficiaries

RELATED AUDIO: David Seymour gives Gareth Morgan a serve as the latest political party donations are disclosed (May 25)

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UPDATE / Aug 25: Seven minor parties who failed to register in time have been stripped of their broadcasting fund allocation of $37,330 each, or a total $261,310.

The time-wasters are 1Law4All, Alliance Party, Universal Party, GOdsownNZ, NZ Independent Parliament, Coalition for Common Good and the Perth, Australia based Expatriate Party of New Zealand.

The remaining funds have been reallocated proportionately among the remaining parties, with the major beneficiaries of additional being:

  • National: $85,000
  • Labour: $68,000
  • Greens: $32,000
  • NZ First: $26,000

The two major parties were already over the million dollar mark in taxpayer funding (scroll to table end-of-article)

The public funding is on top of whatever parties raise themselves. Read NBR's latest tally on that front here.

EARLIER/ May 25: How much taxpayers are giving to parties for political ads
The Electoral Commission has released details of taxpayer funding for political party advertising before September's election (see table below).

This year it matters more than ever, as a recent law change means TVNZ and RNZ are no longer required to provide free air time for party political broadcasts.

At the top of the pile, it's all reasonably straightforward, with the major parties being allocated the most money for advertising.

But further down, things get a little more curious.

The Perth-based Expatriate Party, for example, gets $37,330, despite not registering in any poll and a website that's offline.

That's only slightly behind Gareth Morgan's The Opportunities Party, which was allocated $41,478. Having finished third in the Mt Albert byelection and developed a national profile, the party could argue it should be a category above the Expatriates. 

The Electoral Commission explains its funding decisions here – or at least its broad criteria. An explanatory document says, "The allocation of money involves a difficult balancing exercise, requiring the commission to take into account each and all of the criteria ranging from criteria for which there is quantifiable evidence, for example numbers of MPs, polling, and byelection/general election results, alongside the wider discretion to consider 'fairness'." 

Most of the maverick parties aren't even registered. The main criterion for registration is 500 paying members.

DIY
Political parties can also raise their own funds, though they're required to stick within spending limits.

Electoral Commission figures just released for the May quarter show Gareth Morgan was easily the largest political donor, giving $400,000 to his own party. However, in recent New Zealand political history, there has been little correlation between funds raised and political success.

National the odd one out
Pollster and political commentator David Farrar notes most parties (beyond the minnows) get roughly the same funding as their poll rating this time around.

The exception is National, which is polling around 43% but gets 31% of the ad money.

  • National 31.0% down from 32.4% last time;
  • Labour 25.0% down from 28.0%;
  • Greens 12.0% down from 12.2%;
  • NZ First 9.5%, up from 6.1%;
  • Maori Party 3.0%, down from 3.1%;
  • ACT 2.3% (no change);
  • United Future 2.3% (no change); and
  • Conservatives 1.3%, down from 1.8%.


17 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.


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17 Comments & Questions

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Labour/Greens can hardly call foul with a combined total of 1,534,695 v National and its coalition partners 1,596,912.
It how that money will be spent in getting the message out. If post budget rhetoric from Labour/Greens is any thing to go by putting a clear and concise message to the public will be beyond them

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National's (the new Labour) message is very clear.

"We'll give you folks at the bottom a little to pay your power and bills....then we gonna rip it right back off you with a whopping $ 1.4bn (per annum) carbon credit scam bill..."

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How the hell does Act & United get their allocation, when they are polling at way less tan their pro rata allocation?

Sounds like a stitch up job to me.

Wouldnt it be fairer for all of them to get nothing? Let the prospective politicians pay for self promotion themselves, and ban political donations from this.

Might ensure we get a better qualified lot, than the clowns we have.

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There are a number of other criteria including the ill-defined "fairness." See story above for more.

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Regardless of who is elected, he or she will be labelled a clown by someone. It's not at all constructive, and hardly encourages good people to enter politics.

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Can't see why any public money should be given to political parties to promote themselves

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Why should any party get any funding from the public purse?
Let them fund themselves.
Also, this would minimise the potential for corrupt allocations.

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The idea is pretty simple.

Rather than it being left up to wealthy donors to disproportionately influence elections, democracy is likely better served by having all parties having more equitable funding.

Otherwise you just end up with billionaires with stupid ideas holding disproportionate influence over public policy and opinion, merely through having a larger marketing budget.

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Who said democracy is fair.

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Well, yeah, especially since the Dirty Politics saga it seems to have become increasingly a matter of "It's okay when it's my team doing it".

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The parties should be funding themselves. Indolent and parasitic, the lot of them.

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Regretfully, I have to agree!

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There is no case for public funding at all, but then there is no case for government restrictions either.

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I am not receiving any taxpayer money for my campaign as a 2017
('Anti-corruption) Independent candidate standing in the Tamaki electorate :)

Why am I standing in Tamaki - arguably a VERY safe National seat?

To help expose the Tamaki 'Regeneration' - GENTRIFICATION $CAM.

While Minister for Building and Contruction Nick Smith wants to take (more) public land for private property development, with the Point England Reserve Enabling Bill, on HIS watch as one of two Crown shareholding Ministers of Tamaki Regeneration Ltd (TRL), there are now 76 BARE SECTIONS (grass and tall wire-netting fences where there were once State houses), and approximately 70 empty former State houses.

How do I know?

Because I spent two weeks going around and physically checking 2,704 addresses of properties formerly owned by Housing NZ, now owned by Tamaki Regeneration Ltd.

Why is the Minister of Building and Contruction, Nick Smith, wanting to facilitate the opening up of a public reserve for private property development, when there are already so many empty sections and empty houses already in Tamaki - which are just sitting there, in a (in my opinion) State-sponsored land grab for private property developers?

Penny Bright

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Pay your rates if you wish to comment on other politicians.

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Who got the remaining $4?

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Probably Materia Turei.

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