Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Election funding: being constructive

Frogblog has a three part series up on "being constructive on electoral finance reform", which is essentially a review and response to the submission [PDF] by Associate Professor Andrew Geddis. Contrary to the Herald story, Geddis was supportive of the bill and particularly its efforts to regulate third parties. But like the Coalition for Open Government, he thought the bill went too far in some areas (e.g. third parties) while not going far enough in others, as well as identifying a number of technical problems. This is a long way from the "flaying" DPF is trying to present it as.

The Greens (or at least Green co-leader Russel Norman) seem to be taking this submission as a guide to how to fix the bill. And generally it is. I disagree with Geddis on repealing all the existing transparency provisions if parliament isn't going to regulate donations properly, but on easing the absurd restrictions on unregistered third parties and on the need for spending caps to bear some relation to the actual cost of campaigning, he's spot on. The Greens however are only one vote on a committee temporarily swollen to thirteen; so the question is whether enough other parties will agree - and in particular, whether the National Party will engage constructively with the bill, or continue to act in obvious bad faith in an effort to preserve regulatory loopholes which favour the rich and which they so clearly wish to exploit.