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Title: Comment: Brethrengate Nevermore? Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 29th March 2007 - 12:00pm1175126400 Article: 1651 Rights
 
One might have been forgiven for ignoring a small but very significant news item last week, which dealt with campaign finance law reform… Since the National Party almost stole the last general election with the connivance of the Exclusive Brethren and (arguably) the Maxim Institute's Nzvotes website, political observers have been anticipating the arrival of the proposed legislation with great interest, to say nothing of New Zealand's LGBT communities, given Don Brash's treachery over the issue. Labour has been consulting the minor parties without reference to National, and the Opposition is reportedly rather cross with them over that issue. However, as Nicky Hager's Hollow Men (2006) documented, National itself is the primary reason why such legislation has become such a neccessity. Now, current Leader of the Opposition John Key has tried to distance his party and himself from the Exclusive Brethren centred campaign propaganda and funding scandal that destroyed his predecessor, Don Brash. It says that it supports electoral finance and advertising reform. There's just one problem. The Section 59 Repeal Bill has (...) "coincided" (...) with an Exclusive Brethren constituency visit to Bill English's electorate office, and during the last month, EB "Elect Vessel" Hales has been visiting New Zealand. To date, it doesn't look as if they've been directly interfering with the Section 59 Repeal debate, unless National's refusal to grant urgency to the debate might have been under such influence. After all, it would certainly delay the introduction of campaign finance reform legislation to Parliament, wouldn't it? Sorry, but isn't this rather a long line of "coincidences," if this is indeed what they are? As for the Maxim Institute, it will be stimulating to see how the proposed legislation deals with the likes of its Nzvotes database. Granted, Christian Right candidates are nothing new- SPUC and Right to Life New Zealand used to put them out regularly before oncoming general elections, and they were rather helpful to pro-choice groups through pointing out which candidates were pro-choice, and which ones were anti-abortion. Indeed, I kept an eye on Nzvotes for exactly the opposite reason that it was intended, and I'm sure that I wasn't the only one. However, given its retrenchment, will Maxim be able to repeat that move this time? Certainly, it seems to have reoriented itself toward providing imported UK Conservative discourse to assist National's policy formation, rather than the Christian Right. When the campaign reform legislation is introduced, it will be extensively covered here. National requires close LGBT scrutiny both in the fields of family and welfare policy, given John Key's duplicity over adoption reform, and National's welfare policy, which may lead to a deregulated charity sector, where fundamentalist social service providers get money thrown at them for preaching at people, which will hardly help low-income, unemployed and invalid LGBTs. Watch this space. Recommended: Nicky Hager: The Hollow Men: Nelson: Craig Potton: 2006 Maxim Institute: http://www.maxim.org.nz Craig Young - 29th March 2007    
 
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