Bryce Edwards: Wealthy can buy access to power – and politicians don’t want this changed

Bryce Edwards: Wealthy can buy access to power – and politicians don’t want this changed

The current New Zealand First Foundation trial in the High Court continues to show why reform is required when it comes to money in politics. The juicy details coming out each day show private wealth being funnelled into some peculiar schemes in an attempt to circumvent the Electoral Act.

Yet they’re not the only ones doing this. The major political parties are currently in full fundraising mode – seeking large donations from the wealthy. And they’re doing so in a way that often gets around disclosure laws or is allowed by the Cabinet Manual.

Both Labour and National are currently using their controversial “cash for access” schemes, in which a large financial contribution can secure you a meeting with the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition.

It was reported this week that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her colleagues have been charging businesspeople $1750 for entry to a meeting in which they also received a presentation from Labour’s pollster David Talbot. The ticket also provided entry to a meeting with other senior Cabinet ministers as well as newer MPs presented as the “rising stars” in the party.

Of course, such meetings have become a regular occurrence over recent years. And Prime Minister John Key established “Cabinet Clubs” for the purpose of attracting large money from those wanting to network with decision-makers.

The Leader of the Opposition is doing something similar at the moment, with Christopher Luxon reportedly charging over $1000 for such access to these meetings – usually in the homes of supporters, reportedly in Queenstown and Parnell.

Officially, such contributions to the politicians aren’t classified as “donations”, and the parties don’t have to declare them to the public, even if numerous contributions exceed the current $1,500 threshold for donations to candidates, or the $15,000 threshold to political parties. This is because the payments can legally be categorised as “business transactions”. The wealthy are simply “buying a service” rather than donating. This classification mechanism isn’t illegal, but it means that large amounts of cash can be funnelled to politicians without the public knowing of their financial connections with the generous individuals.

This behaviour has been going on for years. The Labour Party, in particular, has got into trouble for auctioning donated artworks to wealthy supporters for very large amounts of money, therefore obscuring from whom the donation has been made. The Electoral Commission therefore does not receive a full set of information and the public cannot be informed of the donations.

This is a global problem – in many other countries, political parties operate as businesses selling all sorts of nominal services or products for many thousands of dollars to get around the rules. Authorities have no way to regulate such commercial activity when the rules deliberately only cover donations.

Will “cash for access” be addressed in the Government’s reform programme?

Will the various “cash for access” schemes be outlawed in the Government’s current reform programme on political finance? It seems unlikely. Unsurprisingly, the Government has kept this issue out of the terms of reference for the reform of political finance being carried out by the Ministry of Justice’s independent panel. However, if pressure is applied on the panel from the public, then proposals to regulate “cash for access” schemes might still be recommended.

Alternatively, pressure could be applied to the Labour Government, which could easily just change the Cabinet Manual, which currently gives permission to ministers to participate in fundraising schemes. Of course, closing this loophole is not in the interests of any political party that has ministers or wants to have ministerial roles in the future. And that’s why even the Greens aren’t campaigning to fix this problem.

The Greens are, however, demanding that other areas of political donation laws be tightened. Spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman currently has a private member’s bill going forward for a vote which will include a sweeping collection of different reforms. One of these is to put a cap on the total annual amount that any one individual can donate to parties. The Greens suggest that individuals should be allowed to donate up to $35,000 each year, but no more.

There will be many that believe that even this figure is too high. And the Greens will have to justify why they believe that such large donations should be permitted, especially given their argument that large donations inherently corrupt democracy. It’s worth noting that in other countries the maximum annual figure is much lower than the Greens recommend. In Canada, for example, the cap on donations is $1675.

National Party opposition to reform

This week the National Party has been speaking out about its opposition to political donation reform. The party is particularly opposed to Labour’s proposal to reduce the disclosure levels of party donations from the current $15,000 to just $1500. National’s resistance boils down to both philosophical and pragmatic opposition.

National’s philosophical opposition is an argument that donations are an important part of democracy, and by making disclosure requirements even stronger, this will suppress this positive part of the political system. They also argue that suppressing the volume of donations will lead to state funding of parties being increased, which they argue has its own problems for politics.

Also, using the argument in favour of the “privacy of the ballot”, National argues that donors’ political preferences should be secret, in the same way that voting is a private matter. However, perhaps inconsistently, the party accepts that donations above the $15,000 level should be made public.

In practical terms, National also argues that tightened donation disclosure requirements will be too onerous on political parties – especially the proposal of quarterly reporting of donations (instead of annually). They say that it would require a full-time staff member to be employed, as well as additional auditing processes.

While all of these are valid arguments to be taken seriously, for those that are interested in transparency, such a stance simply looks like an attempt to keep big money in politics secret.

Secrecy in the Government’s reform process bodes ill

National’s opposition to reforms has come about because it has just released a copy of the party’s own submission that it made to the Ministry of Justice about the reforms in January. It appears that National is the only party to release this submission, making the party appear more proactive and open than others. In contrast, the Labour Party is refusing to release its own submission.

In general, the Labour Government is looking rather secretive in its reform process, which does not bode well for reforms that are supposedly about increasing transparency in the political process.

Part of the problem is that the political and electoral reform process has been designed behind closed doors, with minimum public consultation about what areas to reform and how to do so. And to make matters worse, when the Ministry of Justice called for public submission on the first phase of reform proposals it did so for a very short period of time over the Christmas break – which is hardly a good way to encourage participation and receive input.

Hopefully the Government will release all of the public submissions that were made about reforming political finance, including the one from the Labour Party. Ironically, however, the Ministry of Justice has been attempting to delay and stymie requests for these submissions. For example, I made a request to the government for these submissions under the Official Information Act in early April, but ten weeks later still haven’t received anything, in an apparent contravention of the OIA rules.

Perhaps under Kris Faafoi – who struggled with his justice portfolio – there was simply a problem of direction from the top. Now with Kiritapu Allen replacing him, the public may be able to expect a much more healthy, transparent and dynamic process. But we shouldn’t be too hopeful – because it seems that whenever politicians are controlling political finance reform, the results inevitably advantage incumbent politicians rather than democracy in general.


Dr Bryce Edwards is Political Analyst in Residence at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the director of the Democracy Project.

This article can be republished under a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0  license. Attributions should include a link to the Democracy Project.  


Further reading on political donations and reform

Andrea Vance (Stuff): National says political donations reform will have ‘chilling effect’ on NZ elections
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Cash for access? The price tag to schmooze New Zealand’s political leaders
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Why National leader Christopher Luxon is against changes to political donation rules aimed at improving transparency
Catrin Owen (Stuff): Winston Peters allegedly told defendant to ensure NZ First Foundation was legal
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): How much did Winston Peters know?
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): No defence evidence in NZ First fraud case
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Why NZ First president quit over party’s ‘moral and business’ failings
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): SFO details not one, but two NZ First-linked funds


Other items of interest and importance this week

Lucy Warhurst (Newshub): Worsening health trends and shocking inequities all revealed in new child health report
Wilhelmina Shrimpton (Today FM): It’s about time we admit our health system has a serious problem
Zarina Hewlett (Today FM): Andrew Little launches verbal assault on union representing nurses
Melissa Nightingale (Herald): Wellington man dies during six-hour wait for ambulance
Ryan Anderson (Stuff): Youth mental health worsening despite home lives improving, report shows
Jayden Holmes (Today FM): Health + Wellbeing of Kiwi kids ranked 38th out of 41 developed countries
Jayden Holmes (Today FM): Middlemore patient spent over 24 hours in ED felt ‘stuck’ at the hospital
Stephen Forbes (Local Democracy Reporting): GPs grapple with increased workloads due to free doctors’ visits
RNZ: Health system ‘under pressure’, not in crisis – Minister Andrew Little
Jayden Holmes (Today FM): GP’s consider early retirement as workloads become unmanageable
Rachel Smalley (Today FM): Waiting lists are already eons-long, and they’ve just got longer
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Health minister says flu, staff absences cause of new hospital pressures
Hannah Martin and Cecile Meier (Stuff): Flu puts ‘extreme pressure’ on hospitals, one has ‘all-time high’ patient numbers
Grady Connell (Today FM): Doctors are short staffed, tired, chances of making mistakes ‘very real’
Damien Venuto (Herald): Lure of Australia could worsen NZ’s nursing crisis
Ian Powell: Exploitation, inequities and the Māori Health Authority
Andrew Dickens (Newstalk): Crunch time for our health system was a crisis 30 years in the making
RNZ: ‘Unprecedented stress, chaotic’ – Emergency Depts overcrowded

Michael Neilson (Herald): Emails reveal officials had correct information before Chris Hipkins’ false Charlotte Bellis statements on emergency MIQ
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Charlotte Bellis MIQ stoush: Why it took Chris Hipkins three months to publicly apologise to

Rachel Smalley (Today FM): An ode to Charlotte Bellis: One of the most influential political disruptors of this year
Katie Todd (RNZ): Hipkins called to apologise to all pregnant women ignored by MIQ as new case emerges

Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Officials launch review into appointment of Nanaia Mahuta’s family members to working group
Herald: PM stands by Nanaia Mahuta after Nats say Government contracts to family show ‘pattern of perceived conflicts’
Newstalk: National questions Govt grants given to Nanaia Mahuta’s husband’s consulting firm

Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Uncomfortable comparisons: If Labour’s harking back to 2017, then it’s not looking for a win
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern’s Government catches the post-Covid winter blues
The Facts: Government confidence at record lows
Eric Crampton (Newsroom): The Government transport policy that gave officials a day to cost it on a Sunday
Kerre Woodham (Newstalk): Government ineptitude needs to change
Duncan Garner (NBR): Notable obituaries: Circa June 2022 AD (paywalled)
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Government denies petrol pump policy ‘on the hoof’
Brent Edwards (NBR): Former head statistician flags problem with Statistics Bill(paywalled)
Herald: Jacinda Ardern shares relatable parenting experience while making tea

Ben Thomas (Stuff): In wake of boring by-election, National and ACT have reason to be bullish
Luke Kirkness (Herald): I didn’t vote in the Tauranga byelection. Here’s why (paywalled)
Mike Hosking (Newstalk): Plenty of warning signs for the Govt from Tauranga
RNZ: Tauranga byelection: Issues arise for Jan Tinetti campaign after breaking electoral rules
Waatea News: Tauranga Maori voters need MP

Claire Trevett (Herald): Former National MP Maurice Williamson says ‘old boys network’ in play around belated Peter Goodfellow retirement announcement
Thomas Manch (Stuff): National Party president Peter Goodfellow retires after 13 years
RNZ: National Party board president Peter Goodfellow resigns
Richard Prebble (Herald): National can win the election – but can they govern?(paywalled)

Audrey Young (Herald): Five head-to-head contests to watch after reshuffle (paywalled)
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Polls diverge on voter direction as left and right blocs neck and neck
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Kris Faafoi delivers his validctory speech as he farewells Parliament
Luke Malpass and Bridie Witton (Stuff): Parliament’s grounds officially reopen after occupation, riot
Brent Edwards (NBR): Changing the way politicians do politics (paywalled)
Stefan Dimitrof (Māori TV): New Speaker of the House caught in electorate dilemma
1News: Incoming Speaker Rurawhe wants his office to be bilingual
Aden Miles Morunga (Local Democracy Reporting): Calls to make political process more accessible for Māori and young people

Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): From “Friend” to “Threat” – in just five years
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): China threat rising in Kiwis’ minds
Lincoln Tan (Herald): A better sense that NZ is part of Asia but warmth to China at all time low, survey finds
Thomas Manch (Stuff): More than half of New Zealanders now see China as a ‘threat’, survey shows

Keith Locke (Newsroom): New Zealand getting too close to Nato
Benedict Collins (1News): Air NZ quit work for Taiwan, Turkey navies after top-secret Govt call
Brigitte Morten (NBR): Nanaia Mahuta: Foreign affairs operated from home not good enough (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Disruption and Trade – High Commissioner Laura Clarke reflects on NZ-UK
Steven Cowan: New Zealand falls in behind the United States
Mike Smith (The Standard): Should our future lie with NATO?
David Farrar: Great to see NZ embrace NATO
Rob Rabel (Newsroom): What the war in Ukraine could mean for the Indo-Pacific
Tova O’Brien (Today FM): In a suite of enormous international moments for our PM this year, this is the motherload
Robert Scollay (The Conversation): A New Pacific Reset? Why NZ must prioritise climate change and labour mobility
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Jacinda Ardern heads to Europe to talk war and trade
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Jacinda Ardern will visit Nato summit and British PM Boris Johnson
RNZ: Jacinda Ardern holds post-Cabinet briefing, announces travel to Europe

RNZ: RNZ-TVNZ mega-entity named ‘Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media’ in draft legislation
The Platform: How Government funding is used to muzzle mainstream media
David Farrar: Media can be forced to repay their $55 million if they upset their funder
Karl du Fresne: The cabinet minister and the RNZ editorial executive
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Protecting freedom/preventing harm. Can New Zealand’s new chief censor do both?
Cherie Howie (Herald): Breakfast host Kamahl Santamaria quits TVNZ: Broadcaster’s downfall amid sexual harassment allegations

Jane O’Loughlin (Stuff): There goes the sun – welcome to shady city
Kendall Hutt (1News): 2022 ‘worst time’ for first-home buyers in 65 years
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Worst time to buy a house in 65 years: Infometrics
Liam Dann (Herald): New report: Worst time for first-home buyers in 65 years
RNZ: First-home buyers ‘signing themselves up for a lifetime of debt’
Tony Alexander (One Roof): How much further will house prices decline?
Rachel Smalley (Today FM): Emergency housing is a band aid over a bullet wound
Isaac Davison (Herald): Motel money: The companies which earned the most from the emergency housing boom (paywalled)
Herald: Editorial – Emergency housing of the last resort in motels (paywalled)
Sharon Brettkelly (RNZ): Rotorua’s emergency housing problem
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): It’s the interest rates, stupid – house prices and interest rates create political pain
Ashley Church (One Roof): Could a National Government fix the housing market?
Robert MacCulloch (NBR): There is no moral underpinning to the Kiwi dream(paywalled)
Catherine Masters (One Roof): $3.8 billion mansion grab by NZ’s super wealthy(paywalled)
Herald: Homelessness in the Auckland CBD: Has it got worse, and what can be done to fix it?
Kirsty Frame (RNZ): Wellington edges closer to deciding its housing future
Miriam Bell (Stuff): How you control the housing market

Alexander Gillespie and Claire Breen (The Conversation): New Zealand needs a new gang strategy – political consensus would be a good start
John MacDonald (Herald): Violence is at a crisis point in NZ
Michael Neilson (Herald): Three Strikes law: Justice Minister Kiri Allan says National’s ‘soft-on-crime’ rhetoric is ‘abhorrent’
David Farrar: Telling the truth is not abhorrent
Brooke van Velden (Herald): Kids need to know that crime doesn’t pay
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Public needs crime ‘reassurance’, but arming police not justified: Chris Hipkins
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): New Police Minister Chris Hipkins hints at gang crackdown, doesn’t know if truce has been called between Killer Beez and Tribesmen
Hamish McNicol (NBR): Law Society review must lead to independent regulator(paywalled)

Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): BusinessNZ opens new front on Fair Pay Bill while facing questions over lobbying
Jem Traylen (BusinessDesk): Fair pay agreements inconsistent with Bill of Rights, says expert
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): It’s time for BusinessNZ’s members to reflect on its Fair Pay claims
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): ILO won’t confirm BusinessNZ’s interpretation of Fair Pay ruling
Brent Edwards (NBR): Fair pay debate: a question of compulsion (paywalled)
Daniel Smith (Stuff): Auckland Council not renewing its Business NZ membership
David Farrar: Misunderstanding on so called fair pay law
Michael Neilson (Herald): Care worker pay equity: Labour blasted by both sides as law passes, National and Greens criticise over ‘five years of neglect’
Rebecca Macfie (Newsroom): Uber: Unions and drivers have an ‘agenda’
Cameron Smith (Herald): What Kiwis think of the four-day work week (paywalled)
Ireland Hendry-Tennent (Newshub): Why expert recommends asking for 7 percent pay rise right now despite recession fears

Richard Harman: The survey that could spell doom for the Government (paywalled)
Claire Trevett (Herald): ‘This is going to be a tough 2022’: Finance Minister Grant Robertson on slump in consumer confidence
1News: Food parcel demand at Chch City Mission up 30% in past year
Emile Donovan (RNZ): Do we need to fear another recession?
Jenny Ruth (Business): Former central banker slams Adrian Orr’s ‘dancing with forest fairies’ (paywalled)
David Farrar: NZ plummets in world competitiveness rankings
Rob Stock (Stuff): Single year off work costs women up to $318k in retirement savings: report
Liam Dann (Herald): No recession yet – new data points to GDP rebound (paywalled)
1News: Record low consumer confidence not unexpected: Robertson
Bryce Wilkinson (Herald): Growing central bank desperation (paywalled)
Crystal Legacy, Iain White and Graham Haughton (The Conversation): Shovel-ready but not shovel-worthy: how Covid-19 infrastructure projects missed the opportunity to transform the way we live
Jenée Tibshraeny (Herald): Inland Revenue on the hunt for 170k bank account numbers to process Cost of Living Payment (paywalled)
1News: Tackling inflation a key way to help combat child poverty – Luxon

Jamie Ensor (Newshub): National, ACT lash Government response to GIB crisis as just another working group
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Plasterboard supply crisis: Government taking action on GIB, tells main supplier to not enforce trademark
Herald: Editorial: Gib crisis under investigation from two sides (paywalled)

Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Minister warns MPs that US$250b multinational tax deal could fall through
Jonathan Mitchell (NBR): Revenue Minister: No secret wealth taxes being created(paywalled)
Richard Harman: The lone tax crusader (paywalled)
Mark Keating (Kiwiblog): The tax system is already way too “fair”

David Fisher (Herald): Inquiry into details behind Government’s vax pass plans killed off – then born again (paywalled)
RNZ: Government reveals five scenarios for Covid variants of concern, says lockdowns are last resort
Michael Neilson (Herald): Parliament passes law to allow fourth dose of Pfizer vaccine
Tova O’Brien (Today FM): Second Covid booster… sign me up!
Katie Todd (RNZ): Hotels earned $1.3m a month operating as MIQ facilities
Michael Neilson and John Weekes (Herald): Government won’t appeal Grounded Kiwis MIQ High Court case but won’t apologise either

Olivia Wannan (Stuff): The Government’s crunchiest carbon-cutting policies
George Hobson (Stuff): The Government is failing the environment and our youth
Jacqueline Rowarth (Herald): On-farm emissions – the good, the bad and the ugly
Myjanne Jensen (Herald): Far North iwi attend large hui in Wellington over ETS and carbon forestry
Damien Venuto (Herald): The filthy truth about New Zealand’s longest river
Todd Niall (Stuff): Divided we fail Auckland: Political unity needed over climate action

Hayden Munro (Herald): Three Waters: Infrastructure repairs more important than who sits on oversight boards (paywalled)
Craig Little (Stuff): There’s a better way forward than Three Waters
Martyn Bradbury (Waatea News): So what actually happens if 3 Waters gets scrapped?
1News: Three Waters reform expert responds to criticisms
Ella Somers (BusinessDesk): NZ’s freshwater future looks bleak and ‘broken’

Stuff: Editorial – Does no-one want to be Wellington’s mayor?
Janine Rankin (Stuff): Women encouraged to stand for gender balance on council
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Analysis: No winners in first public Auckland mayoral poll
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Auckland mayoral poll: Nothing separating four candidates on the left and right
Nathan Morton (Stuff): Auckland mayoral race: A guide to the candidates running to replace Phil Goff
Bernard Orsman (Herald): National Party quietly getting behind Viv Beck in Auckland mayoral race (paywalled)

Michael Reddell: A highly inappropriate appointment
Jenée Tibshraeny (Herald): Conflict of interest? Director tied to Kiwibank contracts to RBNZ (paywalled)
Stuff: Criticism after Reserve Bank board appointee allowed to keep Kiwibank role
RNZ: Reserve Bank rejects criticism of NZ Post chair’s board appointment

Damien Venuto (Herald): Road safety expert busts myths on what can and can’t reduce road toll
RNZ: Picton crash aftermath: Call for better design, more maintenance spending on NZ roads
Richard Worrall (Stuff): Road deaths reinforce the need to reduce our dependency on trucking
Nathan Morton (Stuff): Taxpayers have spent over $1m on Harbour Bridge cycleway since the project was axed
Herald: More than two thirds of Auckland’s $59m light rail spend is on consultants
Georgina Campbell and Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Let’s Get Wellington Moving decision delayed, mass rapid transit mode in doubt
Kate Green (Stuff): How to set a city up for public transport success

Michael Neilson (Herald): Benefit fraud prosecutions plummet, overpayments drop from $50 million to $3.5m under Labour
Bridie Witton (Stuff): MPs across the house get in line to criticise Oranga Tamariki bill
Michael Neilson (Herald): Oranga Tamariki oversight: Minister Carmel Sepuloni defends changes amid widespread opposition
Waatea News: Tribal ambition can’t undermine Whānau Ora
Olivia Shivas (Stuff): How the government asked for social welfare advice, got it, ignored it, and the impact on people with disabilities
Luke Fitzmaurice (Spinoff): How is less accountability going to make Oranga Tamariki better?
Katie Doyle (RNZ): State care survivor horrified by Oranga Tamariki oversight bill

Gabrielle McCulloch (Stuff): ‘Worst in 44 years’: Truancy crisis inflamed by increasing poverty, educators say
1News: Fears of worsening secondary teacher shortage in 2023
George Heagney (Stuff): Teachers looking back to walk forwards as history curriculum approaches

Simon Bridges (NBR): To avoid recession, bring back immigrant workers (paywalled)
1News: NZ’s failure to attract migrants hurting Covid recovery – National
Michael Johnston (Herald): Let’s open a front door to residency through education(paywalled)
Tova O’Brien (Today FM): How I hope my next conversation with the new Immigration Minister goes…
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): Hundreds of workers flown home to Pacific despite fishing firms’ pleas
Gail Pacheco (NBR): Brain drain or brain exchange? (paywalled)

Abbas Nazari (Stuff): The one change the NZ government needs to make for refugees
Anna Whyte (1News): World Refugee Day: NZ could ‘do so much better’, say advocates
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): By the numbers: What New Zealand does, or says it will do, to help refugees

Ted Zorn (Stuff): Why the January 6 Capitol riot hearings matter to us
Glenn Hardesty (ODT): Extremism isn’t always a right-wing phenomenon
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Political extremism in NZ is a real threat, that’s why Professor Kidman’s crowdsourced enemies list isn’t a solution

Grace Feltham (Stuff): Celebrating Matariki in a Māori way
Esther Taunton (Stuff): Babycity apologises for promoting ‘culturally insensitive’ Matariki sale
Mike Lee (The Conversation): Businesses that opt for Matariki sales drive taking a risk
Daniel Smith (Stuff): No-one wants to see a ‘Matariki Big Mac’: Māori cultural advisers warn of potential commercialisation of Matariki

Hamish Bidwell (Herald): We need genuine debate on the state of our nation
Duncan Greive (Spinoff): Covid, housing, inflation – everything feels bad all the time, and it’s not just you
Max Rashbrooke (Stuff): White men are being asked to be humble, not silent
Shane Te Pou (Herald): Tolerance needed in face of people’s fear of unknown(paywalled)
1News: NZ failing to meet some human rights commitments – report
No Right Turn: Labour: $1 million a year is “too much” for transparency
Karl du Fresne: On virtue signalling, Kiri Allan, Three Waters and secret donations
Mark Amery (Stuff): Tone of arts funding criticism reveals lack of tolerance by Taxpayers’ Union
Patrick Gower (Newshub): Former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley says it’s time for another national debate on alcohol laws
Arena Williams; Stuart Smith (Stuff): Constitutional change not on the agenda while we focus on immediate issues
Diane Menzies (Herald): How decolonising Auckland will lead to a better city for all(paywalled)
ODT: Editorial – Changes needed at ACC
Phil Pennington (RNZ): Concerns about privacy under US-linked police data storage
Ian Llewellyn (BusinessDesk): Gas dilemma: why govt didn’t set a phase-out deadline(paywalled)
Waatea News: InternetNZ call in racism review
John Braddock (World socialist website): Australia, New Zealand to maintain brutal deportee policies
Murray Jones (BusinessDesk): Behind the NZ Mormon church’s millions
Murray Jones (BusinessDesk): Mormons & their money: more temples, fewer believers