John Key has funny ideas about what fundraising means

I caught our esteemed Prime Minister on Firstline this morning, looking defensive over revelations that he attended a fundraising dinner at Donghua Liu’s house a mere two years ago.

Besides his snippy refusal to give any details – acting like “it was at his house” is a minor detail on par with “did we have fish or chicken” – the truly interesting thing was this:

I personally don’t involve myself in fundraisers, if you like, in terms of the sense of raising money; I never talk to people about money, I don’t receive donations, wouldn’t have had a clue basically how much he and the other guests were giving, whether it was a lot or nothing – I just go to a series of dinners.

Ah yes, from time to time I go to dinners, and from time to time people pay an awful lot of money to my political party to go to those dinners too. The fundraising aspects are obviously nothing to do with Key, and in fact he’d totally go to Donghua Liu’s house even if there weren’t fundraising going on!

… Actually I’m not sure if that line would make it better or worse.

This is the spin we were also meant to accept over National’s dodgy little Cabinet Clubs – that the Ministers who attended, who were advertised as attending, and who spoke to high-paying donors about their portfolio areas, at events called Cabinet Clubs, were somehow not really involved in fundraising in their ministerial capacity.

But maybe the Prime Minister should be a little more careful about these farcical distinctions, given how well they worked out for John Banks, who seemed to be under the impression that if he didn’t actually open the envelope, he can’t possibly be expected to know what it contained.

I don’t know if state funding of political parties is the answer to this; but we can at least stop talking politicians seriously when they’re openly disingenuous about why people pay a lot of money to attend events at which they’re the main event.

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