Does an old saying still apply?
In oldie-speak, it’s: ‘‘ He who pays the piper calls the tune.’’
Freely translated: ‘‘Whoever’s got the dollars for the band runs the gig!’’
Either way, there’s a political message there in these strange days of Dotcomism.
Whoever makes one of those big money political contributions – anonymous or whatever – normally does so because they admire the past and present promises of the party they’re backing and want more of the same.
And there’s an unspoken – and certainly unwritten – acceptance by the party that pockets the money that there’s a relationship between giver and taker. A debt to be called in.
Most times, the public believes it knows what the votes and cash represents – what a vote to the Greens or the Maori Party, for instance, stems from.
In the past, it has sometimes meant a belief in a wide and significant policy like the Social Credit League, following the hard-to-understand monetary policy from believers in a Major Douglas in far away Alberta.
Twice, Social Credit, which had an almost religious zeal, got two seats in Parliament. In 1981, it drew 20 per cent of the total vote without even one in five New Zealanders having real knowledge of the major changes to financial policy the party urged.
New party name changes moved it away from Douglas’ Credit and a slow political death followed.
The questions: What is the policy of the rather bizarre Internet-Mana political group on anything?
What role will Dotcom the piper have in deciding policy before the vote and afterwards?
This is not a process of friendship based on helicopter rides to an Albany mansion or pool parties to celebrate All Black victory.
Dotcom’s criticism of John Banks for accepting money but not repaying in kind while he languished without support on a hard mattress in jail demonstrates his understanding of quid pro quo.
What payback will he expect of the mixed bag of candidates already named?
How far will his very public dislike of John Key go?
So what – if any – campaign decision-making will Dotcom make and answer for? He who pays … In the mailbag: ‘‘While I wholeheartedly agree with Pat Booth that Len Brown and his merry mercenary men are tracking away from his liveable dream towards a debt-ridden, traffic and people-jammed nightmare, I think his memory may not have served him well on events in the middle of the last century.
‘‘The new Manukau sewerage system had its initial smelly moments before settling in to become a Mayor Robbie masterstroke but the fume attacks which spread misery and illness over a wide area of South Auckland had a different cause.
‘‘The paint on houses turned black, curtains and other materials rotted, residents, and particularly children, suffered breathing and lung diseases caused by the fumes which conditions such as wind and cloud cover spread at ground level from the meat works and other industries which operated on or near Great South Rd at the inner end of the Manukau Harbour.
‘‘These industries simply used the harbour as the dumping ground for most of their waste, including huge quantities of fats and polluted water, which rotted in the shallows and low-tide swamps and created incredible levels of malodorous and health-threatening toxic fumes.
‘‘I know because, as an Auckland Star reporter, the fumes problem was one of my major assignments in the late 50s. I spent days and nights tracking the fumes sources and outcomes until, finally, the meatworks, Borthwicks and Hellabys, cleaned up their acts or folded their tents and left. Other irresponsible polluters followed suit.
‘‘If only Mr Brown and his heads-in-the-sands councillors and hugely-inflated bureaucratic army would do the same.’’ – Garth Gilmour
The piper: What role will Dotcom have in deciding policy before the vote and afterwards?