Electoral reform done properly

I’m delighted with the process outlined by Simon Power to consider electoral finance issues.

Readers will recall that Labour, Greens and NZ First negotiated the Electoral Finance Bill in secret. There was no opportunity for any public input until it reached select committee. And we also all know how terribly flawed that bill was.

So what is National proposing as a process:

  1. An issues paper released in May 2009
  2. Public Forums in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
  3. Submissions on Issues Paper
  4. Govt releases summary of submissions
  5. Govt then releases a proposed policy for reform in August 2009
  6. Submissions on proposed policy
  7. Govt releases summary of submissions
  8. Then Govt introduces bill into Parliament in late 2009 or early 2010,  with normal select committee process

I’m really pleased that they are doing two, not one, stages of public consultation – on both the issues paper and on the proposed policy – that way it is all no surprises.

Also very pleased to see public forums are scheduled. I had been talking to some NGOs about organising some forums to fit in with the consultation. It is even better that the Government itself will organise such forums. I encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity to have a say.

The following topics are being considered:

  • Guiding Principles
  • Candidate and Party Funding
  • Campaign Spending
  • Advertising
  • Parallel Campaigning
  • Monitoring & Compliance

Off-topic for the review is:

  • The MMP electoral system
  • Maori representation
  • Structure of electoral agencies
  • Electoral roll administration
  • Electorate boundaries
  • Local Government electoral law

I agree these are best dealt with separetly. I do hoep the Government will look at some of these issues independently and consider changes – especially to the electoral agencies structure and electoral roll administration.

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