A thumbs up to the Dom Post for devoting an editorial to the “draconian” Electoral Finance Bill. They state:
Prime Minister Helen Clark swore she would put an end to anonymous trust funds and donations, which have financed both major parties, and that allowed National to outspend Labour in 2005. The public, she said, wanted to know who funded political parties and thereby pulled their strings. But the bill before the House does no such thing.
The Electoral Finance Bill thus caps third-party expenditure at $60,000, preposterously small given the cost of newspaper or television advertising.
But the greater concern is the bill’s attack on freedom of expression, the right to which is enshrined in the Bill of Rights Act. Choosing how to spend one’s own money is a freedom Kiwis individually and jointly have long enjoyed – now they are being told that, in election year, they can go this far and no further. It’s draconian.
Labour’s agenda is clear. It is determined to do all it can legislatively to make it very difficult for opponents to wage a political campaign in 2008 but, at the same time, will almost certainly add to the millions it is already spending on telling the community how to behave via a veritable wave of public education campaigns.
It’s just a pity that the Dom Post has devoted so little space in their news pages to the Bill. 99% of people who do not read blogs will have little idea about how far reaching the third party restrictions are. In their weekly Monday roundup of the previous week in the House, they didn’t even mention the Bill’s introduction as a major issue for the week.Tags: Electoral Act