Greens on Electoral Finance Bill

The Greens are upset with the Herald for editing part of their 200 words on the Electoral Finance Bill, which criticised the Herald editorial as being misleading.

I don’t think the Herald should have edited the contribution, but it is rich of the Greens to say the Herald was misleading. Let us look at what the Greens say:

EFB does not stop anyone saying anything anytime.

Untrue. The bill which came out of Select Committee required a protester to state his name or address if advocating for or against a party. This was added in by the Greens and allies. The latest version makes it an offence to post an opinion to Internet newsgroups advocating for or against a party, unless you include your name and address with it. The Greens voted against an amendment to allow such advocacy on the Internet, without requiring names and addresses.

EFB places no restrictions on press.

Untrue. The Greens voted against an amendment which would have exempted the press. The current Bill only exempts the press if what they write is solely to inform, entertain or enlighten.

EFB places no restrictions on paid issue advertising.

Untrue. The Labour Crazy Car policy campaign will be illegal next year as the $300,000 cost exceeds the $120,000 limit. Advertising on an issue in a way which may encourage people to vote for or against parties on that issue is now an election advertisement. This will include a campaign to support candidates who support cannabis legalisation or support parties which support Kyoto.

EFB only caps advertising spending if trying to persuade people to vote for or against a party – cap at $120,000.

Half truth. It also caps it for campaigns for or against a class of parties described by their policies. For example one could only spend $120,000 campaigning against parties which supported the Electoral Finance Bill – even if you do not name them.

Repeat, EFB only caps electioneering spending. EFB caps party advertising spending at $2.4m.

The definition of electioneering now includes placards and posts into Usenet. It also includes advocating for or against a policy in such a way which may encourage support for or against parties who agree or disagree with that policy.

National responsible for EFB. National evaded party spending cap by using Exclusive Brethren for parallel ‘vote National’ anti-Green campaign. Showed loophole in existing law.

The Greens would have more credibility on this issue if they just once mentioned that Labour blatantly broke the law, overspending by $800,000, and that this law is going to make legal Labour’s illegal actions and make illegal what was legal.

They would also have credibility of they acknowledge that National has said it supports reasonable limits on third party advocacy. The EFB just isn’t reasonable.

If don’t close loophole, parallel groups can spend unlimited millions in ‘party vote’ campaigning.

Greens also don’t mention they have ignored the advice of the Electoral Commission and set the limits at under 50% of what was recommended, to try and suppress criticism. Almost no-one is advocating no limits at all on third party campaigning. It is a red herring from the Greens. The issue is the very low limit and having it extend to all year instead of 90 days.

Result – politicians owned by those who funded their campaign, not by voters.

Yet the Greens did a deal with Labour to allow anonymous donations to remain legal. They also failed to move an amendment at committee stage to ban them. They have failed to live up to their principles.

That’s why need cap on election spending by parties and other groups. See USA for evidence – best elections money can buy.

Now this is the stupidest thing they have said. Almost every change being made will bring us closer to the US in terms of how campaigns are funded. The US has more campaign finance laws than any other country. And all the experience has been is they make the system dirtier as they force the money underground.

Human Rights Commission agreed with Greens’ changes to protect freedom of speech.

Yet he ignores they still oppose the Bill as it doesn’t retain the 90 day regulated period, and they did not give the public a chance to submit on the amended bill.

Rallies against EFB organised by Business Roundtable member. BRT members made secret donations to National via secret trusts. See ‘Hollow Men’ by Nicky Hager.

The rallies are not about the donations. They were not even in the original bill. This is a nother red herring. It is about a law which will turn everyday political advocacy in election year, into regulated election advertising – including protest march placards and posts to Usenet.

National opposed Green idea of citizens’ assembly to decide campaign finance rules.

And here once again the Greens abandon any sign of principle or integrity by not mentioning Labour also voted against. And the reasons they were voted down is because the Greens want a review of the law to start just 60 days after the law is passed. How insane is that?

They know this is a flawed bad law. They know Labour has totally stuffed this up. But instead of acknowledging this, they play politics with our constitution and tell lies about it.

So for the Greens to complain about the Herald’s editorial is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

UPDATE: Graeme Edgeler has done a fisking over on the Greens blog.  Much better than my effort.

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