Maximum limit required for political donations

The Green Party is calling on new Justice Minister Kiritapu Allan to introduce a $35,000 annual limit on political donations.

“Democracy is for everyone, not for those with the deepest pockets and most people would be shocked to learn that we currently have no upper limit on the amount that can be given to a politician or to a party. It’s time to get a lot of money out of politics,” said Greens electoral reform spokesman 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 for political parties to make their annual financial statements public. 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 donation limit of $35,000.

“We need a level playing field where every New Zealander has a say in our democracy. The changes proposed by the government are welcome. These are changes that the Green Party advocated for the last term. However, the exclusion of an upper limit is a missed opportunity, which puts our democracy at risk of big money interference.

“My Electoral Amendment (Strengthening Democracy) Bill introduced in Parliament last month would introduce a maximum limit on the amount that can be given 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 to promote certain interests. For example, we have seen overseas that climate action is repeatedly hampered by big oil interests.

“Nobody wants an American style of politics in New Zealand. New Zealanders deserve better. A number of the democracies we benchmark have hard limits on political donations. In Canada, for example, the maximum a person can donate is capped at $1,675.

“Political debate should not be sold to a small number of very wealthy people. Without the interference of big bucks, politicians can focus on the issues that matter most to people – like introducing a wealth tax and rent controls, building affordable housing, increasing everyone’s income to livable 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 and inclusive donation reforms alongside other electoral reform issues in my Strengthening Democracy Bill,” said Golriz Ghahraman.

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