New Zealand: Government Appointments and Political Connections
Are government appointments and honours given as rewards for political donations and candidates? We took appointments and honours data and matched it against selected donations and candidacy data, and this is what we found.
This is a proof-of-concept to show what can be discovered, but it's far from complete. We only have access to 2014 candidates donation returns, thanks to the NZ Herald's crowdsourcing efforts. Data for previous elections are stuck in scanned PDFs of handwritten forms. Appointments and honours from the NZ Gazette are in an unstructured format, and extract with regex, sweat and tears.
The real value of this project is the creation of a comprehensive and structured dataset of political connections and beneficiaries of government appointments, which will be an invaluable resource for investigative journalists.
The lighthouse project was created as a part of GovHack New Zealand 2015, in our nation's capital, Wellington.