Title: Opinion: "New" National and Electoral Finance Reform Credit: Craig Young Comment Monday 16th April 2007 - 12:00pm1176681600 Article: 1671 Rights
So much for "New" National's commitment to a sleaze-free electoral funding system for this country. Nat Numbers Two and Three, Bill English and Gerry Brownlee, seem set on undermining proposed tough new laws on funding and donation reforms. This cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. I acknowledge the government did wrong over the pledgecard issue, when it used parliamentary services funds to produce its electoral propaganda, which the new public funding proposals would remove. English and Brownlee are whingeing about the proposed new legislation already. Labour is being "vindictive" about the donor contribution ceiling of the forthcoming bill. Nonsense. It is the former National leader, Don Brash, and his National, ACT, Business Roundtable and Exclusive Brethren cronies whose skullduggery and unethical conduct led to the need for this important venture in democratic accountability in the first place. The anti-gay Exclusive Brethren threw money at National if it kowtowed to this sect of militant fundamentalists over LGBT relationship equality, which happened. The Exclusive Brethren undertook covert election propaganda design and drops for the Opposition during the last New Zealand general election. However, it was allowed to escape serious censure and exposure until the last moment because of the inadequacy of donor ceiling provisions within the existing Electoral Act 1993. The Opposition needs to stop being so precious, and make a clean break with the past, and the Exclusive Brethren, who have resurfaced and are uttering threats against Labour and the Greens, and also opposed to this legislation. This is the height of "natural party of government" "born to rule" Tory arrogance. Our communities must join other concerned citizens in stopping it from derailing this legislation. According to TVNZ's Agenda, the Greens support the proposals, while predictably; ACT opposes it, as do New Zealand First and the Maori Party. United Future is noncommittal, agreeing over the organisational donation angle, but not individual donations. Labour indicated it was willing to flag the issue of public funding of political parties in return for broader support, while the Greens wanted an independent commission to discuss matters. All to no avail, although potential pressure needs to be exerted. The Exclusive Brethren targeted us during the last New Zealand general election, as well as Labour and the Greens. They must be stopped from further interference through reforms that enable party donor transparency and identification, as well as donation caps. National abused that process last time, and it ill-suits it to whine about remedial moves now. Strongly Recommended: Coalition for Open Government- newly established reform group Nicky Hager: The Hollow Men: Nelson: Craig Potton: 2006. Andrew Geddis: Electoral Law in New Zealand: Policy and Practice: Wellington: Lexis/Nexis: 2007. Craig Young - 16th April 2007    
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