INDEPENDENT NEWS

Nats & Labour Should Come Clean On Donations

Published: Tue 8 May 2001 11:39 AM
National & Labour Should Come Clean On Telecom Donations Before Bill Debate
The Green Party is challenging National, Labour, ACT and New Zealand First to come clean on any donations they have received from Telecom and other phone companies prior to Wednesday's first reading of the Telecommunications Bill.
"There is intense public interest in corporate donations to political parties and the influence these donations have on those parties," said Green Party co-Leader Rod Donald.
"It is vital that all the parties in Parliament declare how much money they have received from any phone company over the last three years to avoid any suspicion that Telecom in particular expect favourable treatment when the Telecommunications Bill is debated tomorrow.
"In the interests of transparency the Green Party is willing to declare that it did not receive a single dollar from Telecom, either before or after the 1999 election, and that it received $2000 from Clear prior to the election and $5000 from Ericsson since the election," he said.
The Sunday Star Times reported that Telecom donated across the political spectrum but Electoral Commission records for 1998, 1999 and 2000 show none of these donations have been disclosed by the political parties. Commission records show Telecom donated $20,000 to the Alliance in 2000 and the Alliance has confirmed that it had not received a donation from Telecom in 1999.
"The fact that Telecom did not give the Greens and the Alliance donations before the election suggests their motives were more to do with seeking influence than fostering democracy," sais Mr Donald.
"The failure of the Telecommunications Bill to provide local loop unbundling could leave people wondering whether blocking full competition on the local loop is connected with political parties not declaring the donations they received from Telecom.
"The sooner these donations are declared, the sooner the two issues can be separated and parliament can get on with debating how to most effectively and efficiently end Telecom's monopoly control of the local loop and the telephone numbering system," he said.
Ends

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