Alliance challenge to broadcasting allocations

Thanks to No Right Turn, I note the Alliance are taking the Electoral Commission to court over their broadcasting allocation.

The say:

“The current allocation process is terminally stacked against non-parliamentary parties, in that they lack the ‘oxygen of publicity’ that Parliament provides. Election time is the only time the public have an opportunity to hear new ideas and fresh thinking from outside the status quo parties.”

And agrees them, even though he notes they have little chance of success:

… the basic thrust of the law is “larger parties get more money”. It’s unjust, its inequitable, it denies democratic choice, and it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy which preserves the status quo.

But how hard done by is the Alliance. Let’s look at dollars per vote. They were allocated $17,000 of taxpayer assistance for their broadcasting. In 2005 they received 1,641 votes (0.07%) so they get $10.36 per vote.

Labour got $1,000,000 for their 935,319 (41.10%) votes. That is $1.07 per vote.

I can’t see the Alliance winning somehow.

The have to give some credence to how much support a party has. It would be ridicolous to give the Animals First party the same funding as Labour. Everyone would set up a party if it meant they got an equal share of the $3.2 million.

And again I disagree with NRT that the major parties are advantaged. They get in fact less money proportionally than the smaller parliamentary parties. National and Labour between them get only 62% of the funding despite being over 85% of the vote. Sure you can argue Jim Anderton should get the same funding as National, but who would?

The real indignity is that parties can not top up their allocatins with their own money. That is what is abhorent. The Alliance is prevented from spending a single dollar on top of their allocation on broadcasting. Because of this restriction there is a greater argument that they should have a higher allocation as the allocation is also a limit. But if I was changing the law I don’t think it would serve NZers well to have the smallest fringe party get equal time to the major parties. I would just remove the inability to top up.

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