Friday, July 27, 2007

Electoral Finance Bill passes its first reading

The Electoral Finance Bill passed its first reading yesterday, 65 - 54 yesterday, with the Greens, NZ First, and United Future supporting it and National, ACT, the Maori Party and the kibble voting against. It's now been sent to the Justice and Electoral select committee, but interestingly leave was granted to expand the committee's membership temporarily to allow a wider representation of parties (currently, it has only three parties on it; Labour, National, and the Greens). This should ensure that all parties' views are considered during the select committee process.

As for the public's views, the committee will likely call for submissions next week, so it might be a good idea to start thinking about making one. And there's a lot to think about - quite apart from my own criticisms, the coalition for Open Government has been busy analysing the bill, and it doesn't much like what it sees either (from the other direction, DPF is of course standing up vigorously for the right of the rich to buy elections). Given the number of problems with the bill, it might be best to pick a section - donation limits, or third parties, say - and focus primarily on that.

As usual, I'll post a notice when the committee advertises for submissions.