The Herald reports:
The Green Party is urging Justice Minister Andrew Little to adopt a Greens members’ bill which would ban foreign donations to political parties.
They already are banned effectively. There is a de minimis limit of $1,500. Above that they are banned. If you want to ban them for less than that, just consider what that means – you will need proof of residency everytime someone buys a raffle ticket, donates $5, attends a dinner etc.
The amount of foreign donations under $1,500 is trivial – it would be at most 0.01% of total donations. This is a red herring.
You could make a case for a slightly lower de minimis limit such as $500, but a total ban would be impractical.
As well as cracking down on foreign donations, the bill would also overturn a ban on prisoner voting, enable Māori to change roll types at any time and lower the MMP threshold to 4 per cent.
Enabling Maori to change roll types at any time allows gerrymandering of seats. I am surprised the Greens want to introduced gerrymandering to NZ. It would allow people to transfer backwards and forwards between the general and Maori roll, based on which seat they think is most marginal. It would mean seats would be less likely to have the same electoral population.
And lowering the threshold to 4% may have merit, but should only occur either by consensus of parties in Parliament, or a referendum. This looks like the Greens worried they won’t make it back and wanting to change the law to help them.
Personally I’m sick of MPs trying to change the Electoral Act to favour themselves. I think it is time for Nick Smith’s suggestion that we entrench the entire Electoral Act so not a single clause of it can be amended without a 75% super-majority in Parliament. This would stop the US style winner takes all politics, and ensure any future changes were ones that clearly benefits the public, not just one party or one side of politics.
Entrenching the entire Electoral Act would require MPs to work together to do changes.