Thursday, June 21, 2007

More on the election funding symposium

DPF has his thoughts on last week's election funding symposium here. One thing he points out (which I didn't really touch on) is that there are some areas where is strong cross-party agreement:

  • Banning anonymous and trust donations (over the disclosable level)
  • Higher penalties for breaches of the Electoral Act
  • Having parties as well as individuals liable under the law
  • Increasing the cap for electorate candidates
  • Having the broadcasting limit incorporated into the overall spending limit
  • Simplifying the number of agencies involved with elections and complaints
  • Better transparency on third party campaigns
From discussions here and at the symposium, even I think there's a strong case for raising the candidate limit and introducing some fairness into the broadcasting regime (which currently seems designed to hobble smaller parties). And hopefully we'll see some action from Parliament in those areas.

There are also areas of disagreement as well, but I disagree with DPF about some of them. From my reading, there seem to be strong Parliamentary majorities (meaning everyone bar National and ACT) for significantly lower donation limits, extending the spending cap, and limits to prevent circumvention by third parties. There's some quibbling over the details - should third parties be allowed $60,000 or $150,000? - but the basic agreement is there and I have no doubt that something will be able to be worked out. The only stuff there seems to be real disagreement on (as in disagreement over ends rather than means) is public funding and consultation.


"there seem to be strong Parliamentary majorities (meaning everyone bar National and ACT)"

Ahh - so you've finally understood the Maori Party's approach!

I do recall support for a complete ban on third party advertising (it offends the rangtiratanga of candidates).

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 6/21/2007 01:42:00 AM

If National is against there is not a strong majority. There is a narrow one.

I regarded near universal agreement as meaning both major parties and most of the minor ones.

There is a world of difference between whether United Future agrees with something and whether one of the two major parties do.

Votes in Parliament are based not on whether the parties vote 6-2 or 5-3 but how MPs vote.

Posted by David Farrar : 6/21/2007 05:44:00 PM

DPF: If National is against there is not a strong majority. There is a narrow one.

Only if you insist that a "strong majority" equals "universal acceptance". I don't, and I don't think anybody without a desperate need to pimp the opposition's relevance does either.

Historically speaking, 69 votes is a pretty strong majority for the MMP era. There have been larger ones, due to the weakness of National in the last Parliament, but we're not talking a single vote here.

And while votes are decided by the way MPs vote, the acceptance of a wide range of parties from across the political spectrum does add to a decisions' legitimacy. If Peter Dunne and the Greens can agree on something, then I think you can say that its "common sense".

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/22/2007 01:42:00 AM