Companies within the fisheries industry donated around 16 million ISK to campaigns in the last election, reports RÚV. Roughly 90% of that money went to the Independence Party and Progressive Party, who are now Iceland’s ruling coalition.
Finance Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson – leader of the Independence Party – does not see any problems with the campaign contributions.
“It’s normal for political parties to accept contributions from private companies for amounts up to 400.000 ISK,” said Bjarni. “No political party has received more than 400.000 ISK from an individual company in Iceland. There are very strict rules in place, which can be seen quite easily in the financial records of political parties, they aren’t especially well off. The Independence Party enjoys a wide variety of support and I don’t see anything wrong with getting support from fisheries companies, same as any company.”
Since the Independence Party and Progressive Party took power it has consistently fought for lowering taxes and fishing fees within the fisheries industry, but Bjarni insists the two matters are separate.
“The Independence Party fights to improve conditions for the people,” said Bjarni. “In order for the people of the country to benefit from the fisheries industry we need to have a reasonable fisheries system in place.”
The Minister of Fisheries and Deputy Head of the Progressive Party, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, did not wish to comment on the issue when RÚV sought him out for an interview.