In the UK - as in NZ - the Labour Party has been the wealthiest political party in recent years. Recent party funding figures suggest that this might be changing. The latest donation disclosure figures are out (for April-June), which show the Liberal Democrats got £783,000, Labour received £3.4m, and the Tories got £5.9m. According to the Guardian's David Hencke this represents a sea change taking place in British politics, although he says that all the main parties still play the role of representing billionaires rather than ordinary people.
Also of interest in the latest figures is the amount of debt that the parties have. Labour now owes £28m. No wonder it is selling honours. One of the strangest donations the 'chardonay socialist' party received was £5,927 for bottle-openers.
Peter Wilby has written a good opinion piece entitled Business wields more power over Labour than the unions ever did in which he argues that business now controls the party system destroying the setup whereby unions financed one party and business the other. He says that business actually prefers Labour to be in power:
A business-friendly Labour government is preferable to a business-friendly Tory government - even if a Labour one isn't quite as friendly - because it removes any threat of power falling to a hostile party.
I'm sure the same could be said in New Zealand.