|National is mounting a highly unconvincing attack on the Electoral Finance Reform Bill, which has the potential to backfire badly against the Opposition. So why is it doing this?
Granted, I'd concede that the current content of the draft bill isn't completely satisfactory. There needs to be particular attention paid to the donation capping and donor anonymity issues in any submissions made to Parliament over the draft bill during the next fortnight, but there's nothing wrong with the rationale for the legislation itself.
National is opposing this bill for purely partisan reasons, and it is significant that apart from Mike Moore, even the Maxim Institute is keeping its distance from the active opposition to this bill- possibly because it doesn't have the strategic capacity to oppose this, or has been sidelined deliberately to avoid drawing suspicion to National's opportunist stealth campaign. Apart from the New Zealand Herald's Audrey Young, the only other person to mouth National's "free speech" platitudes is Muriel Newman's "Centre for Political Research"- hardly surprising, given her own deep Christian Right sympathies.
I wish I could believe that National was not doing this specifically to benefit the Exclusive Brethren, although the reappearance of that shadowy antigay/anti-union sect in the leadup to October's Australian federal elections raises suspicions about whether it may not decide to reappear here next year, and try to interfere with our own general election.
Although it should know better, the Opposition is apparently still wed to the illusion that there is a sizable Christian Right constituency out there, akin to the ones that insured early successes for Bush, the Republican Party and Howard's federal Liberals in Australia. Moreover, it makes one wonder who is really running the National Party. This is not a centrist political campaign.
Until it acknowledges that it is deliberately trying to pander to its old Exclusive Brethren mates through opposing this legislation and ceases to do so, LGBT and other social liberal voters should give National a wide berth, and teach it a lesson.
Nicky Hager: The Hollow Men: Nelson: Craig Potton: 2006.
Coalition for Open Government:
Centre for Political Research:
http://www.nzcpd.com/ Craig Young - 2nd September 2007