Friday, September 05, 2014

Dirty Politics

First - is new Zealand Politics dirty? Well not by international standards. I've been in countries with dirty politics and by those standards our politics is clean as a whistle. Complaining about Judith Colins visiting a Milk company in china is nothing compared to billions of dollars of money being stolen via some sort of corrupt use of government contracts. But that does not mean we should not take action against it.

For all the posturing of politicians no one seems to seriously propose anything that could really put a dent in corrupt or dirty politics. Maybe that is just so that they can say they would do something and when they get into power they can abuse the system like everyone else did before them. But if there were to propose something that would help what would that be?

I know all these systems exist to an extent in NZ, but if we still don't trust our politicians (and we don't) that means we can go further.

What we would want to see would be 

1) Additional rules governing how politicians should act
For example that a member of parliament should not be able to engage in certain activities, or should have to give up certain information if requested.A politicians ethical standards need to be held to a much higher standard than any other job.

2) strengthen an impartial body to investigate such rules
For example you could have a branch of the police given the role of investigating parliament and the power to do so and protections against political interference. Investigation of corruption of the political system needs to be absolutely independent and have great powers within it's scope.

3) Strengthen consequences for breaching such rules that are real deterants
For example in Thailand the courts have the power to disband political parties. You could have other sanctions - and I would like to see them being used regularly - regular use of such powers indicates the incentive is real not just imaginary.

4) Strengthen methods for gathering the information
for example strengthening the OIA act, making it harder for politicians to interfere and making it much harder to say information is private. I believe with great power comes great responsibility and the requirement for great supervision. We could also create a system where key media representatives are "trusted' to trawl through data and not reveal sensitive information.


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