Greens admit law is an abortion

The Greens have just released their amendments, being a Supplementary Order Paper setting up a review of the law, just two months after it comes into force!!!!

What a total admission that this law is a bad bad flawed law.  You normally review laws three to five years after they come into force, or at least after the election.  But the Greens are implicitly admitting the law is so bad we need to start writing the new one in two months time.

Haven’t critics always said this law is designed for one election only – to get Helen Clark her 4th term.

Also very disappointing to see the Greens have failed to put up an amendment to abolish anonymous donations.  They’ve done a dirty deal with Labour to allow Labour to keep its anonymous donations.

The Green SOP is here.  The review panel and the citizen’s jury have to report back by December 2008 – what a farce – to report back on the law before you’ve even had time to run an election under it.

What the Greens are proposing should have been done in 2006 or early 2007. I personally fully support the idea of an independent review panel and also a citizen’s assembly to help with public participation.  In fact I have been an advocate of this since before the EFB was even tabled in Parliament.

But’s it’s insane to launch a review 60 days after the law is passed. 

Also I have to say I do not think Labour can be trusted one iota with setting up a true independent review.  It should not be appointed by the Minister of Justice.  Can you imagine who Mark Burton would have appointed – himself, Pete Hodsgon and Mike Williams probably.  You need to do it properly with full multi-party support.

The independent review panel needs to be appointed by Parliament as a whole – probably using the old formula of over 50% of the parties and 75% of the MPs as a minimum level of agreement.  The same applies to setting up the processes around a Citizen’s Jury.  There are massively important questions around who advises them, who sets the agenda.  It can’t be a partisan Minister, who is part of a Government which has lied and lied repeatedly about the Electoral Finance Bill.

Any panel appointed unilaterally by Annette King and her helpers will have no credibility.  It must have multi-party agreement on its composition and related issues.  And it should not and can not properly do its job in the middle of an election campaign.

What I’d like to see is after the election, National work with the Greens and other parties to indeed appoint an independent panel or even royal commission, and have a citizen’s jury as part of that. 

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