Another Labour big money fundraiser

Fund raising is a necessity in New Zealand politics. You need money to campaign, you need to campaign to get votes, and you need votes to succeed.

So generally fund raising shouldn’t be a big deal. Unless you do what you blasted another party for doing. Labour has been spotlighted for big money fundraising again.

NZH: Labour’s Stuart Nash defends $1000-a-head fundraiser

MP for Napier
Minister of Police, Fisheries, Revenue, and Small Business

Weeks after Labour was criticised for holding fundraisers featuring ministers, Labour’s Stuart Nash will hold a lunch fundraiser at the swanky Northern Club where about 20 people will pay $1000 each to hear him talk.

Nash said the fundraiser in Auckland today was to raise money for his Napier campaign in 2020.

Those invited were friends and acquaintances “who have done well in life” and he was speaking as Napier MP rather than in his capacity as a minister.

The old ‘not as a Minister’ trick.

It seems odd to put on a swanky show for friends and acquaintances. They shouldn’t need to be lavished with luxury to extract money from them.

Why fund raise in Auckland for a Napier campaign? That seems odd.

And it’s two years until the campaign will start to wind up.

It comes a fortnight after Labour was accused of hypocrisy for a fundraiser at the Wellington Club where attendees paid $600 a head to listen to Finance Minister Grant Robertson speak about the Budget.

Funny how generally parties and politicians change their views on what is acceptable or not depending on whether they are in Government or not.

But this isn’t new territory for Nash.

Stuff 28 September 2014 – Stuart Nash: it’s all about ‘bloody hard work’

“You would be surprised by some of the people who contributed to my campaign,” Nash says, smiling.

He mentions a fundraiser at the exclusive Northern Club in Auckland, chasing lawyers, accountants and businessmen, “people who never vote Labour but believe in me and what I’m doing . . . a lot of time you are hitting up your wealthy friends for money”.

The money let him start campaigning early.

He had time to campaign then. He has now an established MP, and a Minister with a much bigger profile.

Labour fundraising in private clubs

Labour tried to make a big deal about some National fundraising, but they seem to be doing the same sort of thing, and are looking like they have been caught with their hands in the biscuit jar.

Stuff in 2014: Does Cabinet Club buy influence?

Party funding is back under the spotlight after two ministers ran into trouble over their links with wealthy donors amid revelations National operates a ‘Cabinet Club’ offering access to top ministers in exchange for cash.

Last week National’s $1000-plus Cabinet Club dinners were in the gun, though there were counter-accusations, laced with claims of hypocrisy, that Labour offered chinwags with MPs for $1250 a pop.

The Greens have had a couple of stabs at greater transparency. The first, through Sue Kedgley’s Lobbyists Register Bill, has lapsed. Now the Greens are pressing for a ministerial disclosure regime. Co-leader Dr Russel Norman estimates John Key had raised more than $1 million from his “club” appearances.

“John Key claims the Cabinet Club is part of the normal political donations process. Cash for access to the inner circle of the Government is not normal,” Norman said. “It is democracy for sale.”

National MP Tau Henare says the Left is trying to curb National’s fundraising ability because it is jealous National can raise more. And National president Peter Goodfellow insists there is no quid pro quo for donations.

Newshub in April 2017: Labour launches exclusive ‘President’s Club’

The Labour Party has launched an exclusive secret society called The President’s Club for those who donate big bucks to the party.

It opened for business two weeks ago, with the primary role of luring in big cheques from wealthy Labour supporters.

It’s Labour’s version of National’s Cabinet Club, which sees exorbitantly-priced tickets sold for exclusive dinners attended by Cabinet ministers of the Crown.

Labour president Nigel Haworth says The President’s Club differs from Cabinet Club because Labour MPs aren’t involved, and aren’t used to lure in donations in exchange for access.

But Labour are charging big bucks, and using Ministers as an attraction. Stuff yesterday: Labour hosts business and lobbyists at $600-a-head dinners in exclusive private clubs

Finance Minister Grant Robertson gave a post-Budget speech at a $600-a-head Labour fundraiser at the exclusive Wellington Club, drawing comparisons to the previous National Government’s “Cabinet club” scandal.

According to several attendees, about 40 people, including party supporters, business figures and corporate lobbyists, attended the dinner hosted by Labour president Nigel Haworth on Wednesday, at which Robertson was the key

The Cabinet manual states: “holding ministerial office is regarded as a full-time occupation and is remunerated as such. Accordingly … accepting additional payment for doing anything that could be regarded as a ministerial function is not permissible”.

This means that if Robertson was attending in his ministerial capacity, rather than as an MP, Labour would be unable to use the event as a fundraiser.

Labour dance on the head of an MP pin…

…but get pinged for it.

Givealittle can’t be used for campaign fundraising

In what seems to be another example of the Electoral act clashing with the modern world of politics the fundraising site Givealittle has been ruled out for raising campaign funds.

Wanganui Chronicle: Givealittle not for politicians on the campaign trail

A Whanganui local body election candidate has learned that anyone hoping to use crowd funding site Givealittle to raise campaign funds this year will have to go elsewhere.

The site, run by the Spark Foundation, cannot be used for election fundraising because the time it takes to pay users does not comply with the Electoral Act.

Horizons Regional Council candidate Nicola Patrick set up a page last week and received $960 in donations before Givealittle shut down the page after receiving legal advice.

The Electoral Act requires any party collecting funds on behalf of a candidate to hand over the money within 10 days.

Givealittle only pays out once a month.

Maybe Givealittle could pay out more often for campaign fundraising? I think they are now are getting a cut (5%)  of funds raised so it would be in their interests as well as catering for the needs of customers.

“I don’t blame them but they are following the letter of the law.”

There’s other ways of following the letter of the law – like complying with it. But that’s up to Givealittle.

Givealittle chief giving officer Tom Beyer said the site’s donation and payment processes are not compliant with the Electoral Act 1993 and the Local Electoral Act.

“Under the Acts Givealittle would be considered the transmitter of funds, which means we need to comply with a number of regulations,” he said.

It had received legal advice regarding the matter, Beyer said.

“Unfortunately our current processes aren’t compliant so in the interests of ensuring a trusted and safe service for all we can’t support this kind of fundraiser.”

Beyer did not rule out changes to its site in the future.

“It is something for consideration for future electoral campaigns but there is not sufficient time to implement these changes for the 2016 local body elections.”

So they may adapt.

There is not sufficient time for the Electoral Act or the Electoral Commission to modernise either, but neither does their appear to be much inclination  to catch up with the twenty first century.

Regeneration for Labour?

It’s been fairly well known that the Labour Party has needed some major regeneration since 2008 and post-Helen Clark. It’s also been fairly obvious that this hasn’t worked very well, with a decreasing vote for Labour in each election this century to an embarrassing low in 2014.

The Standard has offered candidates a forum “for the upcoming Labour Party internal elections the chance to guest post about why they’re running”.

Yesterday they had a Guest post: Eva Hartshorn-Sanders for Senior Vice President

This was “fully moderated to prevent excessive trolling” which is fair enough for a post like that.

The post is quite long and quite negative, especially in the opening paragraphs. And quite politically waffly.

Comments are interesting with some fair questions. with Patrick Leland asked: “One thing you didn’t mention is what you would actually do if elected. Can you please elaborate?”

Eva responded:

The Senior Vice President position sits on NZ Council and is part of the governance team. From working with NZ Council over the past four years, there is a lot of policy, legal and strategic decisions that they will be making going forward – and I would be able to bring my skills to help as part of this core work.

Important decisions going forward relate to the selection of candidates and the list selection work as part of the Moderating Committee – I understand this process from helping to run the Ikaroa-Rawhiti bi-election selection process and working on the drafting with Roger Palairet for the recent constitutional amendments.

Some of this has been answered above – networking is important for campaigning, fundraising, and membership growth. I also think the SVP has an important role for staying in touch with members and working with caucus. The links and connections are important.

Also quite waffly – I still have no idea about specifically what she would try to do, but I also have no idea what a senior vice president is expected to do.

Probably prompted by this in her post…

I have worked in law, policy, campaigning and organising.  This includes nine years working in Government in NZ, two years as a senior legal and political adviser for the (Labour) Leader of the Opposition in the UK House of Lords, private practice and now at the PPTA as a public and employment lawyer.  As part of my job, I travel the country speaking to union members about the issues that are important to them, in their schools and communities.  I have strong links with women throughout the country through my pro bono work for the National Council of Women and the New Horizons for Women Trust.  I have governance experience as a Board member of New Horizons, focussed on governance, policy, sponsors and donors, audit and risk, and for the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme, where I helped to ensure that members were able to access their whole pension for the purposes of their first home loan.

…Adam asked a pertinent question: “You seem to be a careerist political type, do you think you have enough experience outside of politics to bring to the role?”

A careerist political type? That’s interesting. Lots of experience. I had my first job at the age of 11 delivering pamphlets – that has to be useful for this role, right? I have worked in all sorts of jobs through my life – if that’s the sort of thing you were asking about? Burger King “maintenance man” in 2000, cafe assistant, retail work, working at a creche, multiple babysitting jobs, Judo coach at Camp America (CCUSA), government, politics, union. And I do NGO work for fun – not really that political – unless you want it to be.

lprent also raised questions about two critical issues for Labour: “So I’m surprised that I don’t see a mention in your post of the two really big issues that I see for both the president and vice-presidential roles. Strategies for raising money and increasing membership.”

Building membership is an important part of our future. I think we need to continue to modernise the Party and its structures, to make sure that we all have a place within in it to be active and to have a voice.

That may help retain some members but I don’t see how it addresses attracting new members. Labour has a reputation for not being particularly welcoming of different voices.

Re the fundraising aspect – I would be one in a team that will be implementing the fundraising strategy from Fraser House, taking expert advice from professional staff. But I have some experience in this area running events for PPTA, NCW and the New Horizons for Women Trust, including working with sponsors and donors portfolio.

The fundraising strategy from Fraser House appears to have been working poorly for some time. For years Labour’s fundraising has been way behind National’s, and the Greens now raise more funds than Labour.

Labour has major problems with a lack of members and money. Perhaps they aren’t part of the senior vice presidents job description but Eva appears to be more of a willing worker within the party as it is than potential for regeneration.

While Eva looks young and may be new generation she sounds ‘same old’, and that hasn’t been working well for Labour. I don’t see much drive for party regeneration.

Greens outspent Labour on election advertising

Parties’ election advertising expenses were released yesterday.

  • National $2.6 million
  • Conservative Party $1.9 million
  • Greens $1.29 million
  • Labour $1.27 million
  • Internet-Mana $660,000
  • Mana $320,000

While advertsing spending doesn’t necessarily translate into seats in Parliament (as Conservative and Internet-Mana prove) it helps.

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald points out the fact that Greens just outspent Labour

Labour’s shoestring budget and low election result will have the party asking how the much smaller Green Party had more funds. In 2011, the Greens spent $780,000 and Labour $1.8 million.

That’s a big rise in spending by Greens with the result being a small decrease on % support.

And it’s a big drop in Labour spending from 1.8 to 1.27 million.

General secretary Tim Barnett said Labour had never had large reserves and had spent within its means. The lower costs were partly because of more “low cost, high impact” campaigning, such as phoning, door knocking and direct mail rather than traditional media advertising.

“If you’re asking, ‘Were there lots of things you would have done if you had an extra million’, obviously that would be a nice position to have, but we stayed within the budget we had.”

In other words they had a significantly smaller budget.

Labour’s hierarchy has been criticised for failing to fundraise and the election expenses indicate it was a problem.

Lack of success fundraising was only one of a number of problems but it was a significant problem.

Labour is selecting a new president and former president Mike Williams said the ability to bring in the money would be a key factor. However, he did not necessarily think money was the be all and end all for a successful campaign, saying the ability to motivate grassroots members was more important.

But Barnett claims Labour did more “low cost, high impact” campaigning, such as phoning, door knocking. The work of grassroots members didn’t lift their election result because that dropped from 2011.

Greens do a lot of micro fundraising seeking money from their grassroots support. The two are related.

United Future spent $2000 on advertising.

I think Labour needs more fundraising and more grassroots support. And they need to perform at the top. And get some palatable policies.

It’s all related. People with money to hand out to political parties like to back potential winners.

Whale Oil and Destiny Church fundraising

After recently raising something like $70,000 to pay for legal bills Cameron Slater at Whale Oil is testing the legal fundraising waters again in What would you do if the Leader of the Opposition called you a sociopath on television?

Perhaps Andrew Little should shut his gob….after all there was quite a considerable effort on my part to help several of his MPs across the line…and it was ok then for them to have an “unhealthy relationship” with me.

But what should I do readers?   

Should I sue his arse off him like Michael Laws suggests? Should TVNZ be a party to the action?

Slater has been highly critical of others (Colin Craig) for taking defamation action.

Thoughts?

Any lawyers want in? It would seem an easy case, and after he caved to Judith Collins I should think he might not want the distraction keeping him busy defending himself and cost him lots of money and on the way through give me a lot more publicity.

Is this something readers want to invest in via crowd funding the case with a share of any winnings is something?

Seeking partners and raising funds for political attack legal action is ‘innovative’ but a very risky investment. I’d have thought Slater would have had enough legal hassles by now without actively seeking them.

Perhaps he is looking at Brian Tamaki’s fundraising enviously. There’s a similarity between Destiny Church and Whale Oil, both are manipulating a devoted audience to raise money for their own benefit.

Last night Campbell Live showed Tamaki in action in Hannah Tamaki fronts on church’s stage donation.

Last Sunday, the congregation of Destiny Church showered thousands of dollars at the feet of ‘Bishop’ Brian Tamaki in the hope of “qualifying for an unprecedented favour”.

DestinySeaOfMoney

They showed video of Tamaki asking for the money. This is what he said:

You will qualify for unprecedented favour, ’cause in due season shall reap.

Come, along here, and place it, and put it all up on, not the stairs up on here, on the flat.

Come come, place it, try and spread it out and put put the money there.

Come come come come come. Take it out of the envelopes and spread it, spread it out.

God’s told me how this should happen.

It’s going to be placed in the open, so it can, so it can swirl the aroma and the fragrance can spread through the place, and the atmosphere, and it can sit here, and it can begin to allow that to arise to God.

This is a clear message to every demon of poverty, every demon of poorness, economic inequality.

My God shall supply all your need according to his riches and glory, according to Christ Jesus.

My God, God that has blessed us, the God that has called Hallelujah.

The Holy Spirit told me to do this, last night.

He said “Spread it out! Put it on the floor. Let everybody see it.”

Still coming. Come come.

Campbell Live said the fundraising was for new carpet. In a six month old (already carpeted) building. Hannah Tamaki had tweeted:

Hype over this, yes we r excited we were able 2 raise the $$ 2 pay 4 our new carpet. & a offering 4 White Ribbon

Maybe there’s misinterpretation. Brian Tamaki asked for a carpet of money, so the aroma could swirl up to God.

Religion has long been used to raise money for bishops living in opulence and for extravagant temples.

Brian Tamaki seems as similar to Jesus as hell is to heaven.

Whale Oil is nowhere near this. Yet. They are not a charity like Destiny. They are up front about what they want the money for and why. Slater does not seem to be living in luxury like the Tamakis.

But they are ego-driven leaders of their respective flocks.Tamaki calls himself ‘bishop’, Slater is bitter about his father not getting a knighthood but labels himself ‘Sir’:

SirWhaleOilAnd to different extents have taken to fleecing.

Slater has had a taste of evangelical style fundraising, and has been tempted to ask for more money to be thrown at his  feet.

Time will tell how far he takes it.