Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Election funding: a citizen's jury

Following the passage of the Electoral Finance Act, the government has also announced a review to look at longer-term issues around electoral law, such as the structure of electoral agencies and public funding. Significantly, the review will include a citizen's jury as a means of ensuring comprehensive public participation.

This is a good move. The EFB was necessary to plug the glaring loopholes exposed by the 2005 campaign (which National is still in denial about), but it was primarily a patch, which ignored some obvious solutions such as a single electoral agency because there was no time to implement them. An independent review will give those issues a thorough going over, while a citizen's jury will ensure that the system reflects the interest of voters, not politicians, and will give any changes it recommends an unimpeachable democratic mandate. The politicians will ignore at their peril.