Friday, August 31, 2007

Election funding: changes

Radio New Zealand this morning is reporting that the government is planning changes to its Electoral Finance Bill, including changing the definition of an "electoral advertisement" to mirror UK law, and increasing the cap that third parties may spend. These are both good moves which will result in a better and fairer bill, and have been suggested by the Coalition for Open Government. They also strip National of its chief objection - that the bill unduly limits freedom of speech - thus exposing their bad faith and putting them under greater pressure to work towards improving the bill rather than mindlessly opposing it.

This now turns the spotlight very definitely on the main problem with the bill - the lack of controls on anonymous and laundered donations to political parties. As the Greens point out, the bill includes very effective controls on such donations to third parties. I suggest that if its good enough for third parties, its also good enough for the politicians.