Labour launches exclusive 'President's Club'
The Labour Party has launched an exclusive secret society called The President's Club for those who donate big bucks to the party.
It opened for business two weeks ago, with the primary role of luring in big cheques from wealthy Labour supporters.
It's Labour's version of National's Cabinet Club, which sees exorbitantly-priced tickets sold for exclusive dinners attended by Cabinet ministers of the Crown.
Labour president Nigel Haworth says The President's Club differs from Cabinet Club because Labour MPs aren't involved, and aren't used to lure in donations in exchange for access.
"It's about access into the party to talk to the party about policy as we develop it within the party," he says.
Mr Haworth rejects that it's a way for the rich to buy or sponsor policies for Labour to roll out in the future.
"You can never buy policy in the Labour Party. Our policy is created primarily by members through a very careful council policy process," he says.
"It's not about getting to ministers, it's not about getting to influence policy. It's about funding the party."
Just like an airline loyalty programme, the President's Club has tiered membership of bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
Each membership tier comes with special 'benefits' that outline to the donor where and how the money will be spent:
- Bronze: Those who give an annual donation of more than $1000 will get bronze membership, with the cash running workshops for new candidates to learn new campaign tactics.
- Silver: An annual pledge of more than $3000 will see donors get silver status, with the money going towards two policy launches.
- Gold: A cheque of more than $5000 each year will get donors a Gold membership to the club, and the cash will fund national advertising campaigns.
- Platinum: Those with enough disposable income to donate at least $10,000 annually will get the exclusive honour of platinum membership, with the money going to campaign research, or campaign reach, or campaign organisation.
Despite only being two weeks old, Mr Haworth says the club is doing well at bringing in the money.
"We've had a lot of interest. We are not remotely exclusive, so anybody who wants to sustain the Labour Party's funding is welcome to join," he says.