Marama Davidson claims to have ‘outed’ anonymous donations

Green co-leader Marama Davidson has received support (and some criticism) after she claimed to have outed anonymous donations made to the National Party. These are donations that were disclosed by National by April in accordance with electoral law.

Davidson:

I’ve called for ALL parties to bring public confidence back to our system and step up to tighter rules. The vast majority of our donations were less than $100 (over 85%) and the ave amount was 48 bucks.

I don’t know that the public cares much about party donations.

Greens get a lot of small donations – they regularly ask for small donations from supporters. But I’m not sure why they feel that larger donations should be more strictly controlled.

There is a chance that large donors expect something in return from the parties they donate to. I’m sure that unions who make large donations to Labour hope for union friendly legislation from a Labour led government.

Greens focus on small donations – but they also use their donor and support base to lobby, via petitions, via bulk submissions. What is the difference apart from their method? Greens may in fact be using donors directly in their lobbying more than some big business donors.

Yesterday Davidson followed up, claiming to have ‘outed’ National:

Davidson has claimed to have ‘outed’ donation information that was filed by April this year with the Electoral Commission, and is easy to see here:

Click to access national_party_-_annual_return_2017.pdf

A Green Party media release from Davidson: $3.5 million in anonymous donations to National in 2017, it needs to be fixed

Over $3.5 million in anonymous donations to the National Party in 2017 shows why we urgently need donations reform in Aotearoa New Zealand, Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said today.

“$3.5 million in anonymous donations is a huge sum of money, it is unlikely this is made up of coins or small notes dropped in a bucket of given at a bake sale.

“This spells out powerful vested interests tipping huge amounts of money into the coffers of the National Party, hiding behind anonymity.

“With this scale of funding comes influence, and at the moment we don’t truly know who these powerful vested interests are that are influencing our politicians. Our Parliament is ripe for influence by big corporations, and potentially corruption.

“It needs to end. After this past few weeks it is clearer than ever that New Zealanders want big money out of politics. It is time for our Parliament to be returned to the community.

“The Green Party are calling for anonymity to only be maintained for donations under $1000. This means that small donations at local fundraisers aren’t mired with red tape, but also means politicians will find it much harder to hide donations from powerful vested interests”.

In other words, she wants to protect the Green way of fundraising but wants to restrict the way other parties fundraise. Given that this would impact on Labour and NZ First as well as National I doubt that she will get much support.

It seems to be more ‘Green way or the highway’ anti-big business rhetoric.

Anonymous “total war” on democracy

I’m not a fan of Donald Trump and i think the US democratic system is a mess and getting worse, but Anonymous declaring “total war” on Trump is bad for democracy.

news.com.au: Anonymous declares ‘total war’ on Donald Trump in new propaganda video

In a move that doesn’t really come as a shock to anyone, hacking collective Anonymous has declared “total war” on Donald Trump.

Using its trademark propaganda video, Anonymous addressed the citizens of the world announcing the re-engagement of “OpTrump” on a much larger scale.

“Donald Trump, we have been watching you for a long time and what we’ve seen is deeply disturbing,” the video starts.

“Your inconsistent and hateful campaign has not only shocked the United States of America, you have shocked the entire planet with you appalling actions and ideas. You don’t stand for anything but your personal greed and power.

“This is a call to arms. This is a call to the freedom fighters, to the forgotten, to the censored, to our fellow hacktivists throughout the world. This is a call to protect our future, our freedom and our very way of life. This is a call to you.

“We need you to shut down his websites, research and expose what he doesn’t want the public to know. We need you to dismantle his campaign and sabotage his brand.”

An anonymous non-democratic group doing dirty like this is deeply disturbing.

Ironically some of their motivation is quite similar to the motivation of Trump supporters – anti-establishment.

One is taking advantage of a corrupt system, the other is trying to further corrupt it.

Anonymous are more like anarchists than freedom fighters. They certainly weon’t have a mandate.

A pseudonym protection fallacy

There’s various reasons for maintaining a degree of anonymity online by using a pseudonym but there’s also some far fetched claims about the protection it provides.

One Anonymous Bloke at The Standard claims:

Once authors identities were known, they would be attacked physically and by other means. Abusive mail, phone calls, intimidation, and assault. Attacks on their employers and places of business.

Pseudonymity provides a measure of protection against centre-right thugs.

Lanthanide points out:

Given that a good number of the authors are already publicly known, surely if your claim here is correct, they will already have been suffering physical attacks, abusive mail, phone calls, intimidation and assault?

So, r0b, Lynn, Micky, ever had any of the above happen to you, or is OAB just takings things too far, as usual?

I’ve had more personal abuse and attempts at character assassination from OAB and others hiding behind pseudonyms than from people who openly identify themselves.

I think there’s far more of a problem online from anonymous and pseudonymous abuse than there is of people who’s identities are known.

It’s ironic considering OAB’s record of extensive harassment, lying and attempts to discredit people who comment openly under their identity while they hide behind their pseudonym.

A suggestion to OAB or anyone using a pseudonym – respect the privilege of reasonably free speech and conduct yourself as  you would if writing under your own name.

Be aware that at some stage your identity may become known and that your history could be linked to you.

And don’t be a hypocrite claiming you deserve protection while blatantly attacking others.