Trusts. The general concept of trusts, for individuals and families, doesn't particularly bother me, and if I ever see a use for one I'll set one up. However...
Political parties have discovered that trusts can be used to hide their sources of funding. I have a problem with that, because not knowing who is donating to a political party gives me an incomplete knowledge of the party, and thus I am under-informed when I come around to voting. It would be nice to say that by far the worst at abusing trusts are the National party, but since they won't tell us anything about the Waitemata Trust, or the Whitechapel Trust, or any of the other methods to hide the sources of their funding it's impossible to be sure. So much for transparency.
Even ACT are a little better off, at least we know who most of the small bunch of very rich lunatics that donate to ACT are. They probably donate to National too, how would we know?
And that leads me to one of life's little mysteries. We are all lead to believe National are amazingly popular. Like, they're maybe going to win an outright majority in the next election, if you listen to some pundits and polls. Regular John is the most popular PM ever*. How is it then that people (quite a few people) are afraid to acknowledge they support National, to the extent that they are prepared to chuck some cash (quite a bit of cash) National's way? It's not as if we are a particularly partisan society, and even if we were, apparently every second voter you meet is going to vote for National. So let's have some transparency and some names; who is it that donates to National?
It would be nice to say David Cunliffe hasn't stuffed up with the trust he set up when he ran to be leader of the Labour Party. There's been a bit of comment on it, but it's a real beltway issue. The stuff up, despite what other commenters have said, is the initial act of setting up a trust. The subsequent actions, acknowledging the open donors and repaying the ones who wished to remain anonymous, are fine and set the standard for other political parties. I hope Regular John keeps going on about it, because he's the most vulnerable one.
BTW - Vernon Small your column was utter crap.
* except the other PM who was more popular, whose name is not to be mentioned.
The Bleeders - As Sweet As Sin, 2006