The Dim-Post

June 21, 2015

Colin Craig and the failure of founder-funded political parties

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 10:12 am

Back before the election I was a bit worried that the Conservatives and Internet/Mana were harbingers of a worrying new trend in politics – the overt interference of the super-rich in our democracy, as they realised that buying influence through donations and lobbying were less effective than just establishing their own parties.

It hasn’t played out like that. Both parties are now effectively dead for similar (underlying) reasons. The founders of both parties were also the primary funders and that meant they they got to do pretty much whatever they wanted – just like they did with their private businesses – because they were paying for everything.

In a business it doesn’t matter much if the CEO is a jerk. Selfish, grand-standing malevolent behaviour is routine, but no one outside the company cares. There’s minimal public interest in the private lives or conduct of business leaders. And in a political party if a leader misbehaves then there is public interest, but you can dump them and get a new leader. In a founder-funded political party there is (a) intense public interest, as Internet/Mana found out with Kim Dotcom’s ‘fuck John Key’ rallies and tendency to make provocative public statements then refuse to answer media queries, and (b) no party without the founder-funder, as the Conservatives are about to discover.

33 Comments »

  1. Bob Jones’s New Zealand Party was very similar. The office holders thought it was for real, while the founder/paymaster had a specific agenda and then moved on.

    Comment by David Billinghurst — June 21, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

  2. Totally agree with the comments on Mana and the Conservatives, but:

    > In a business it doesn’t matter much if the CEO is a jerk. Selfish, grand-standing malevolent behaviour is routine
    I have to ask – have you actually worked for a business?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — June 21, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

  3. Dont worry bout Dim just overlook what he doesnt know the rest isnt bad.

    Comment by Simon — June 21, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

  4. This post in 2 words: personality cults.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — June 21, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

  5. Proving that there certainly is such a thing as bad publicity.

    Meanwhile, National’s funders have the right idea. Keep it quiet, and you can do worse things than give silly interviews in a sauna or get Corkeried on the news. You can casually injure or kill your employees and the repercussions for the party you fund are … nil. Plus, you get a knighthood.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — June 21, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

  6. I have to ask – have you actually worked for a business?

    IT companies! Commercial banks! Merchant banks! It ruins my sheltered ivory tower reputation so I don’t talk about it too much.

    Comment by danylmc — June 21, 2015 @ 5:56 pm

  7. “… In a business it doesn’t matter much if the CEO is a jerk. Selfish, grand-standing malevolent behaviour is routine…”

    It used to be routine just in the flash corporates. Now every second vice-chancellor, SOE CEO or Iwi authority boss behaves as if they actually believe they are Randian superheroes, complete with bloated HR departments who seem to spend their entire time dreaming up new ways to make your job harder (Open plan! Hot desking!) and palatial office suites.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 21, 2015 @ 7:05 pm

  8. “…no party without the founder-funder, as the Conservatives are about to discover.”

    It’s not dissimilar to what happened to ACT. The Founding Fathers (Gibbs, Heatlet,Fay, Richwhite, Farmer and co.) moved on – or in their case moved back to National – and left ACT floundering. The SST moved into the space left and most of their former members moved out.

    Comment by Anne — June 21, 2015 @ 7:36 pm

  9. Could do with a a 3 minute ‘edit’ for fixing typos.🙂

    Comment by Anne — June 21, 2015 @ 7:40 pm

  10. Apparently the Conservatives do have some other funders, but the people they have in mind as leader – Bob McCroskrie was mentioned – are just the same failed faces. New Zealanders have little patience for US-style culture war religion, which is underpinned by appalling racism and paranoia. I always wondered though how a liberation theology political party would go. Imagine if a religious millionaire stood up and said it God’s work to tax the rich, instead of the usual dreary excuse making we get.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 21, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

  11. @Sanc: I think approximately 0.001% of New Zealanders know what Liberation Theology is, let alone would support a political party based on it. (It’s more than just ‘being a Christian and also leftwing’, for the record)

    I also think your contention that NZers don’t respond to racism is pretty optimistic.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 21, 2015 @ 9:20 pm

  12. I’d say about 8.9% of voters are OK will appalling racism and paranoia, Sanc.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 21, 2015 @ 10:20 pm

  13. @Gregor – remember that Labour also got on board the ‘Asians are stealing our houses’ bandwagon, so the true figure is probably closer to 34%.

    Comment by Phil — June 22, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  14. “‘Asians are stealing our houses’ bandwagon”

    was that the actual message there? or was it a dog whistle?

    There was an awful lot of valid comment re: any non NZ resident, that got turned into xenophopia – but there was also a wide sector of society that saw any such reasoned comment as “bloody chinese are stealing or stuff”

    once you chuck ‘what was actually said” “what the media said was said” and “what people thought was said” into a blender and biff the contents round a bit, i guess its a little tricky to claim a % either way on that topic

    Comment by framu — June 22, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

  15. and let us not forget that Bob McCroskrie publicly thinks that gay marriage leads to a rise in youth crime – i dont give his chances much over the long term

    Comment by framu — June 22, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

  16. “‘Asians are stealing our houses’ bandwagon”

    A Chinese New Zealander of the fourth generation kind I know is trying to buy a house in Auckland. He ruefully observed just this past Saturday night of one auction he recently attended “The room was full of fucking Chinese loaded with cash. I was not one of them.”

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 22, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

  17. Labour also got on board the ‘Asians are stealing our houses’ bandwagon

    I recall Labour saying it would seek to restrict foreign ownership of properties. I’m not sure how you characterise this as anti-Asian.

    Comment by Ross — June 22, 2015 @ 5:59 pm

  18. Labour would never play the race card. They may support Peters and never criticise his racism. They might alienate Maori property rights.

    But their talk of Chinese causing us harm was just plain speaking.

    Comment by NeilM — June 22, 2015 @ 10:53 pm

  19. The very fact that Sanc felt the need to mention that his friend was fourth generation is telling.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 23, 2015 @ 3:16 am

  20. “Bob McCroskrie publicly thinks that gay marriage leads to a rise in youth crime – i don’t give his chances much over the long term.” I don’t know, I think the chances that McCroskrie will be revealed to be in a torrid love affair with a younger man look pretty good I reckon.

    Comment by Conrad — June 23, 2015 @ 8:59 am

  21. a younger man who then rushes out and commits youth crime🙂

    Comment by framu — June 23, 2015 @ 11:02 am

  22. I thought that he has a friend was quite poignant.

    Comment by Lee Clark — June 23, 2015 @ 7:08 pm

  23. “The very fact that Sanc felt the need to mention that his friend was fourth generation is telling”
    Is it? I regard it as a fact that helps the punchline make sense. Did you think you’d spotted a racist streak in old Sanc? Or are the Chinese not allowed to make wry observations?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 23, 2015 @ 7:25 pm

  24. @Clunking Fist: I’m presuming he added it because he needed to make it clear that his Chinese friend was one of the ‘good’ Chinese, not the ‘bad’ ones.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 24, 2015 @ 12:21 am

  25. Really? It reads more as a cautionary tale that not all “Chinese” are the same.

    But maybe your racism radar is better than mine.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 24, 2015 @ 8:01 am

  26. Oh dear Kalvarnsen. How does it feel to be the only person in the room who doesn’t get the joke?

    The right wing dog whistle that contrives to paint concern at foreigners pricing New Zealanders out of buying homes in Auckland as a racist “‘Asians are stealing our houses’” bandwagon is simply an exercise in distraction by National party apologists. As anyone local – be they Chinese, white, Indian of Polynesian – who has recently gone into the housing market will tell you, it isn’t a bandwagon, it is a statement of their lived experience – a reality that so frightens this government they have so far steadfastly refused to even collect statistics on it.

    It might suit John Key and his faithful online lackeys to play the race card, but it does nothing about the housing crisis in Auckland, a crisis made worse by a finance minister who is to ideologically rigid to do anything useful about it, a completely out of touch prime minister who thinks everything is a joke that can be made better with some banter, and a housing minister who give every appearance of being crazy.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 24, 2015 @ 8:08 am

  27. “Oh dear Kalvarnsen. How does it feel to be the only person in the room who doesn’t get the joke?”

    When the joke’s not funny, and the room’s full of people who don’t share my values? Pretty good, actually.

    As for the whole foreigners buying houses thing, we’ve been round and round this roundabout several times in the last few years, so I’m really not that well disposed to debate the fundamentals with you all over again. It is kind of sad that you seem to think that the people who disagree with you are all National party shills, although I understand that that’s an intellectually comforting stance, since it spares you the mental work of having to look at your own views critically. I don’t doubt the sincerity of the convictions of the people who disagree with me in the name of egalitarianism, even if I think that sincerity’s misdirected. But I was disabused of the virtues of manicheanism at a very early stage in my education.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — June 24, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

  28. golly klav – couldnt you just say you got the wrong idea re: that you thought sanc was making a racist joke?

    Comment by framu — June 24, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

  29. “When the joke’s not funny, and the room’s full of people who don’t share my values?”
    Pete George? Is that you?

    Okay, I’ll stop there.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 25, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

  30. Except the room would never be ‘that’ full….

    Comment by Lee Clark — June 26, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  31. Colin Craig is a man who has given all of his time and effort and most of his money to the Conservative Party. He founded it on the back of Sue Bradford’s repeal of section 59 legislation, which he was vehemently against. Since then, legislation of similar nature has been passed despite having a conservative Government with a majority in the form of the National Party. This legislation includes same sex marriage (introduced by a Labour MP) and a Bill attempting to change our laws regarding voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill people. So it is with sadness that Colin Craig has resigned; the socially conservative have nowhere to go, not even their precious National Government who has been on the bandwagon with most of this social change legislation but the legislation has come from the socialist side of the House.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 26, 2015 @ 1:36 pm

  32. the socially conservative have nowhere to go

    And the better we are for it.

    Comment by Phil — June 26, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

  33. Daniel Lang: The Key Govt isn’t so much conservative as it is corporatist. I doubt any of the parties in parliament want anything to do with Colin Craig. Not even National or NZ First.

    As for the ‘Asians buying all the houses’ thing, I’ve always seen it as less a race issue and more a capital controls issue. But the usual suspects deliberately confuse the two in order to blow dog whistles. Disclosure of interest: I’m typing this as a direct descendant of Cantonese gold miners who settled in Central Otago.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — June 26, 2015 @ 8:30 pm


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