Election fundraising data

Posted: May 7, 2015 in democracy, elections, freedom of speech, government, New Zealand
Tags: , ,

What follows is an analysis of declared fundraising activies by New Zealand Political Parties. Raw data can be found here.

I am limited in my analysis that a lot of small fundraising for Parties comes from memberships, and that very few donations under $1,500.00 (hereafter: $1.5k) are declared under our system.

Total FundingFirstly, the Grand Totals. Pretty obviously, they break down into four tiers.

First tier, multi-million dollar parties, including total Internet and Mana donations, National donations, and Conservative donations and loans. (Notably, only the conservatives took out loans)

Second tier, donations over $100k, including the Greens, (yes, they declared more donations than Labour. This may as usual be due to the Greens actually following the rules and declaring everything- unknown!) Labour, ACT, the Mäori Party, and NZ First.

Third tier, Focus New Zealand and the ALCP, who both raised significant amounts despite not being in Parliament.

Fourth tier, nominal amounts for United Future and Ban 1080. $0 donation returns are excluded.

Secondly, dollars raisedFundraising ratio per seat.

(The sorting is still by Total Funding, so you can compare the size of their ratio to their total funding)

Note that parties relying on electorates vastly outraised other parties for declared donations on this basis. National and the Green Party raised more money than the other list Parties, and NZ First and Labour are largely in proportion to their support bases.

fundraising bands

(click to view alone, it’s too large to fit in a post!)

Finally, a giant chart grouping the fundraising types into bands.

Note that no party in Parliament declared significant donations from small sources. This is likely due to the limits of our disclosure laws- parties ought to still track and declare the total amount of small donations ideally.

The multi-million dollar parties all received almost all of their donations from large sources, with only National raising any notable amount from medium sources.

Of the other parties in Parliament, Act and the Mäori Party relied on a majority of large fundraising, and everyone else a majority of medium fundraising.

In closing: This was an election with a ridiculous amount of influence from donors over $15k, anonymous donors over 1.5K, and donations protected from disclosure. This is emblematic of a broken funding system, where too much poltical energy goes into funding. We may need to rethink on what basis we allow political donations, because this doesn’t look like a contest of ideas, it looks like a contest of billboards.

“Large” includes donations and contributions over $15k, anonymous donations over $1.5k, overseas donations and contributions over $1.5k, and donations protected from disclosures. (The last on the basis we don’t know what the hell category they actually belong to as they’re protected)

“Medium” includes donations between $1.5k and $15k.

“Small” is where the limits of our data kick in, and includes declared ananoymous or overseas donations under $1.5k.

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