How did they get the Electoral Finance Bill so wrong?

Tracy Watkins in the Dom Post has an article on the Electoral Finance Bill – basically asking how could the Government get the bill so wrong?

I’m one of those interviewed for the article.  Basically I point out two huge blunders:

1) Not including the clamp down on anonymous and trust donations, which had huge widespread support, while clamping down on third party spending.  It was a hypocritical double standard.

2) That no-one at all looked at how the third party spending aspects would work at a practical level.  They obviously looked at how do we devise a tight definition of advertising, a tight definition of publication, a tight definition of disclosure, and no-one at all then did the obvious and think about in a practical instead of theoretical sense.

There are two people to blame for these blunders.  The first is Helen Clark.  She personally instructed for the clampdown on anonymous donations to parties to be removed, as she needs that money for her re-election campaign.  Burton did recommend such a clampdown to the Cabinet.

The second is Mark Burton in relation to the third party regime.  It is incompetence even worse than George Hawkins to have not personally examined the bill in a political and practical sense.  That is why you have a Minister and political staff within a Minister’s office.

So Clark and Burton both blundered massively.  And it is the combination of their blunders which gave us this bill.  However despite their blunders they won’t publicly say what changes they will agree to.  We are expected to believe that Burton, the Greens and Winston (who represent a majority of MPs) will somehow make it workable or even desirable law through the select committee process.

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