“No one, whether they were for the Act or against it, could have imagined the extent to which it is now intruding into every aspect of political life and the uncertainty it is causing for election officials, political parties, MPs and candidates.
On the contrary not only did I imagine this, I wrote extensively about it. I submitted to the Select Committee about it. And also amendments which would have helped make it better were voted down by Labour, Greens, NZ First and oh yes United Future.
“We cannot carry on with so much uncertainty and the flaws in the legislation need to be sorted out immediately in the interests of a fair election process this year.”
The easiest thing would to be change the regulated period back to 90 days. Having it for all of election year has indeed played havoc with parties and others. Even asking people to renew a lapsed membership gets caught up. A party talking to supporters in February who have asked to hear from that party gets caught up.
He said the problems should be sorted out by MPs rather than the courts.
Why? The MPs are the ones who stuffed it up in the first place, and have a huge self interest. Certainly it would be good to have a law with less uncertainty around it, but remember Annette King told us all how this was a good law and the law of common sense would sort it all out.
He said it should be made clear that taxpayer-funded party literature that did not solicit votes, money or membership was not attributable election expenditure.
No, no, no. The law has never ever exempted taxpayer-funded literature in the past. Giving MPs free rein to loot the taxpayer for their campaigns is not the answer. But moving the regulated period back to a more sensible time frame would mean that MPs could do their normals comms for most of the year, and then stop using taxpayer’s money for the last 12 weeks of the campaign.
Changes should also be made so the home address of a party’s financial agent was not required on advertising authorisations.
There we are agreed. But Bill English’s bill to fix this is not going to be debated in time unless leave is granted for it to move up the order paper.