Electoral finance: the principles II – Democracy is for Voters
Posted on 06:00, January 27th, 2009 by Anita
One of the right’s many complaints about Owen Glenn’s contribution to Peters’ legal fees was that Glenn’s not resident in New Zealand; he’s not even eligible to vote here. Like Glenn’s donations to Peters fees and the Labour party, the controversial Vela donations were from a source unable to vote: the donations were from companies not people.
Donations from not-voters are common in New Zealand; a quick read of the 2005 donation return shows that far more money was donated by things than by people. That doesn’t include the corporate donations carefully crafted to avoid disclosure (e.g. British American Tobacco’s donation to the Nats).
It begs the question – why, if we let anyone and anything buy influence, don’t we let them vote as well? If Sky City can fund political parties, shouldn’t they get to vote too? And the pharmaceutical companies? And the banks? And the tobacco lobby? While we’re at it, they’re bigger than the average person, shouldn’t they get more votes?
It’s obviously ridiculous, as is allowing anyone or anything which cannot vote in our elections to buy political influence.
Principle II: Democracy is for voters – if you can’t vote, or won’t be able to when you turn 18, you shouldn’t get to buy political influence, end of story.
[edited to clarify the first para - Anita]