From the NZ Herald:
“Mr Burton said he wanted to reassure …. that we would never put forward proposal giving preferential treatment to any particular group.”
Tell me when to stop laughing. This is the same Government that made it illegal to enter into a collective employment contract unless you joined a union.
As Russel Norman says, it would have been better if it [Labour] had established a commission last year. The way Labour are going about these law changes reeks of utu and partisan gain.
All Labour should be doing at this stage is seeking an assurance that a majority in Parliament would send the electoral act amendment bill to select committee, so that it can be considered on its merits.
But Labour are trying to stitch up a deal in private, so that regardless of what the public say, there is a majority in Parliament to not just refer the bill to select committee, but pass it into law afterwards.
The proposed law changes are looking even more draconian and partisan, the more detail that comes out. They propose to extend the period covered by spending restrictions from 90 days to eleven months. That is a attack on freedom of speech like we have never seen. It will deny the Opposition the chance to campaign effectively against bills in Parliament. It will see the $60,000 limit on third parties apply for not just the 90 days before the election, but for all of election year.
And is the Government planning to halt the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars they spend on “government information” campaigns for all of election year? You bet they are not.
And it is an effective unprecedented lowering of the amount candidates can spent, which is already an incredibly low $20,000 or 50c/voter. At present in tightly contested seats, one starts spending soon after a candidate is selected to try and increase name awareness. Over the year one might spent $50,000 of which $20,000 is within the last 90 days. They are now making this $20,000 over eleven months. This would make it almost impossible for new candidates to challenge sitting MPs.
These proposed law changes are downright dangerous. Restrictions on freedom of speech should be minimal, but here Labour wants to shut up its critics for the entire fucking election year. Yes one year out of every three, you will be prevented from spending too much money attacking Government actions.