Politics

Donors have 'greater access to politicians than the rest of us would enjoy,' researcher says

Politicians have been forced to change political donation laws after almost all parties found themselves in trouble over allegations of donation fraud.

The changes, if they go through, will make it harder for donors to contribute big anonymous donations.

Researchers at Victoria University in Wellington have been trying to find out what motivates political donors, talking to a group who’ve made donations of more than NZ$30k to different parties.  

One of the researchers behind the study is author and public policy expert, Max Rashbooke, who tells Tova that donors have more influence than most people would think. 

"There's all this talk that donors, political parties are just wonderful, sort of altruistic people, who just believe in democracy and so there's nothing to see here," Rashbooke says.

"But what we found out from speaking to donors, is that they have very specific aims in mind. 

"They do, of course, want to support the parties that they believe in but, you know, those donations bring them into close contact with politicians and party leaders.

"Some of them [donors] are quite open about the fact that they do lead to greater access to politicians than the rest of us would enjoy."

Listen to the full interview between Max Rashbooke and Tova above.

You can also download the full interview on the Tova podcast, and listen on the go. Check it out on the rova app or wherever you get your podcasts.