Saturday, October 07, 2006

Politics the way it should be

Having been focused on the political situation in the US for many, many years I admit that I became somewhat annoyed with the current administration and the affiliated party. While it would be a better story, perhaps, if we had moved out of the US for political reasons (like I can't stand to be within 3000 miles of that numnuts), we really didn't.

It's nice to see that politics in New Zealand isn't so different from the US with the dominant 2 parties and the in-fighting and backstabbing and private eyes with the mudslinging about personal lives, etc. At least here they come out and say what they mean, there's no spin in New Zealand!! Really, there is NO spin here. You have to admire the directness of political figures here for that, at least.

But something happened the other day to give me hope for democracies in this age of the corporation (I recommend the documentary THE CORPORATION very highly):

Excerpts from 2 articles in the NZ Herald (and watched on TV3):

Telecom's [largest phone company, serves most of the country] move to stop making donations to political parties is being viewed as a sign of things to come for corporates.

New Zealand's largest listed company said it had polled its shareholders, staff and customers, and found that halting donations "really resonates" with all of those groups.

Shareholders regarded donations as a decision they should make themselves and a lot of New Zealand companies did not make significant political donations, he said. Telecom believed this was what customers and stakeholders wanted.

Public relations consultant Mark Unsworth said he thought listed companies both here and in Australia were getting more nervous about political donations.

Pressure was coming from the public and shareholders' associations, he said, and it was possible some corporates would opt against donating. "It's the negative vibes that come with it," he said. "If you give it to the Arthritis Foundation then you're not going to be in the paper next week. If you give it to Winston Peters [controversial foreign minister] or someone, you could end up there."

It appears that Telecom's decision to stop donations has been in the making for months, and is not a direct result of the recent publicity. The company gave a total of $150,000 to political parties in its 2006 financial year [see below, pretty even and fair based on voting patterns], and always intended to review its policy after the election.

What Telecom gave in the year to June 30, 2006:Labour $50,000 National $50,000 Act $10,000 Greens $10,000 Progressives $10,000 United Future $10,000 Maori Party $10,000


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