Who’s donating? To whom? Why?

Patterns of party political donations in New Zealand under MMP


  • Simon Chapple
  • Thomas Anderson


public trust, political party funding, party donations, influence, vested interests


This article considers the data on donations to New Zealand political parties collected by the Electoral Commission. The purpose is to address who gets what, and why. Relatively small amounts are donated. A little may buy considerable influence. There is limited evidence of strong upward trends in political donations, suggesting a systemic equilibrium. The plurality of donations is received by unsuccessful parties, suggesting that money is insufficient for political success. Most donations come from individuals (mostly men) or families. Cross-political spectrum donations are mostly from businesses and to the two dominant parties, suggesting that businesses are trying to buy the ear of the major power in government.


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