National backing electoral reform

National has agreed to back electoral law changes to prevent donations through trusts and third party advertising, but has sensibly pointed out that the electoral law changes needed are not just in those areas, but also much higher penalties for breaches of spending caps.

At the end of my series, I blogged some recommendations for changes to the Act. They are:

* Increase maximum penalties under the Act for corrupt practises from $4,000 to $1 million and from one year to three years in jail.

* Increase the penalties for illegal practies from $3,000 to $100,000

* Remove the Police from having a role in prosecutions.

* Amend the Electoral Act to allow parties, not just individuals, to be held liable so different people in a party can’t just point the blame at each other.

* Amend the Electoral Act so prosecutions can be commenced within 12 months, not six.

I will be very interested in exactly how Labour plans to limit third party advertising during campaigns, because I can’t see a way to effectively doing this without affecting free speech. National should be very wary of the details in this area before agreeing to support them.

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