POLITICAL parties are not worried that a revamp of the two-tier municipal structure will cost them dearly, although some may lose as much as $100,000 a month in revenue. Of greater concern to them would be the dilution of their influence over how the Government operates. Currently, some municipal councillors with political backgrounds have to hand part of their allowances to their parties to pay either daily operation costs or for reimbursing some of the funding provided for their election campaigns. Councillors are generally asked to make contributions ranging from five per cent to 15 per cent of monthly council subsidies, amounting to between $2,500 and $7,700. Neither the Liberal Party nor Hong Kong Progressive Alliance requires members to contribute. The majority of party leaders said they could absorb the impact on revenue if the municipal councils were merged or even axed. 'There must be some effect, indeed. But what we are talking about is not just the loss of a contribution,' said Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong chairman Tsang Yok-sing. 'The most precious resources of a party are its councillors. On behalf of the councillors, the party can organise district activities and meet government officials and residents,' he said. A reduction in the number of councillors means a corresponding erosion of the parties' bargaining power with the Government. Party support also relied on the extent to which councillors could help their constituents, he said. 'Many morning walkers complain about such things as opening public swimming pools earlier in summer or that some park bench or other is broken. 'If we can speak out for them, they think we can really help them. This is exactly what a political party does,' Mr Tsang said. Frederick Fung Kin-kee, chairman of Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said a merger of the municipal councils and district boards would be to their disadvantage. 'There will be fewer seats and, of course, some incumbents would be kicked out. They may be ours. 'But if there is a merger only of the two municipal councils, and provided that the number of directly-elected seats remains the same, the impact on us would be very small,' Mr Fung said. Democratic Party spokesman Lee Wing-tat said any form of merger would have little impact on them, election-wise. 'Assuming the number of councillors would be cut to 60 after a merger, and about 10-15 seats were appointed, something with which we disagree, we are still confident about winning more than 50 per cent of the directly-elected seats. 'The larger the constituency, the more likely our victory. But of course some seats which we can win easily now might be more competitive,' Mr Lee said. He added that money was not a problem for the Democrats, nor was he worried about a lack of a training ground for members. 'We are inclined not to be reliant on money from district councillors. That is not our major source of income. Contributions from legislators might be more important.' Liberal Party councillor Ada Wong Ying-kay said a merger would have little consequence on the party in terms of money. 'We depend mainly on donations. 'The party doesn't want to see this matter from the point of vested interests. We should not think about what the consequences will be before we debate the need to centralise municipal councils' power.'