$350k do­na­tion sets record for Greens

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Ja­son Walls

A $350,000 do­na­tion to the Greens in De­cem­ber was the largest sin­gle do­na­tion to a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal party in al­most a decade.

It was also the largest to the Green Party in its 30-year his­tory.

The do­na­tion was by far the largest in 2018, with an $80,000 do­na­tion to the Na­tional Party in April com­ing in a dis­tant sec­ond.

In fact, the Greens’ do­na­tion was the largest made to any one of the ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties since 2011, when the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion first started pub­lish­ing do­na­tion de­tails.

It was made by Betty Har­ris on De­cem­ber 13 last year. She died in Jan­uary 2018 and the do­na­tion was part of her will.

The Greens’ gen­eral-sec­re­tary, Gwen Shaw, said the party was grate­ful for Har­ris’ do­na­tion.

Har­ris had been a party mem­ber since 1999.

“She was a lovely woman; never made a fuss but just got on with what­ever she thought she could do to im­prove the world.”

Har­ris lived in East Auck­land and was an ac­tive sup­porter of her lo­cal branch, par­tic­u­larly when she was younger, Shaw said.

“In re­cent years she lived in a re­tire­ment vil­lage but con­tin­ued to sup­port our work by her ad­vo­cacy and reg­u­lar fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment. She left a one-fifth por­tion of her es­tate to the Green Party.”

Other bene­fac­tors of Har­ris’ will were the Fred Hol­lows Foun­da­tion, For­est & Bird, Safe and Amnesty.

Har­ris was a widow and had no chil­dren.

Any do­na­tion which ex­ceeds $30,000 is re­quired to be filed to the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to be made pub­lic within 10 work­ing days of be­ing made.

The last time the Greens re­ceived a do­na­tion of close to such size was in Au­gust of 2016 when the party re­ceived more than $280,000 from the es­tate of El­iz­a­beth Rid­doch.

At the time, the Her­ald re­ported she was not a party mem­ber and did not have any for­mal con­nec­tions to the Green Party.

But Har­ris’ do­na­tion does not come close to the $2.7 mil­lion given to the In­ter­net Party by Kim Dot­com in 2014.

In 2012, then Con­ser­va­tive Party leader Colin Craig do­nated $1.6m to his own party.

Be­tween Oc­to­ber 2013 and the end of last year, the for­mer The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party leader Gareth Mor­gan do­nated $2.2m to his party.

In Oc­to­ber, Green co-leader Marama David­son called for a re­form of the po­lit­i­cal dona­tions regime, after it was re­vealed the Na­tional Party had re­ceived more than $3.5m in anony­mous dona­tions in 2017.

She said it was im­pos­si­ble to know who was in­flu­enc­ing New Zealand’s politi­cians and Par­lia­ment was “ripe for in­flu­ence by big cor­po­ra­tions, and po­ten­tially cor­rup­tion”.

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