Monday, August 01, 2022

Plugging the loophole

A couple of weeks ago the High Court exposed a loophole in our electoral donations law, enabling corrupt parties to take in unlimited amounts of secret money and explicitly sell policy to the rich. Pretty obviously, this is unacceptable in a country which wants to call itself a democracy, and so now the government has promised to fix it:

The Government will close a “loophole” in electoral law exposed by the New Zealand First Foundation court case, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Ardern, speaking to RNZ on Monday morning, said the court ruling in the case was an “unexpected interpretation” of electoral law that could be remedied in “quite a timely way”. Last week she cast doubt on whether the Government could legislate in response to the court ruling before the 2023 election.

“We have a piece of electoral law that covers issues of donation that is currently now in the process of going through the House.

“We believe there's a way that we can, without creating any unintended consequences, address this issue through that process.”

Good. Not that there's any virtue here on Labour's part - party officials are currently being prosecuted over Labour's own dirty financial dealings, and Ardern had to be dragged kicking and screaming to this (its as if the status quo parties are addicted to secret money or something). But the public is pretty firm on wanting big money out of politics, and I guess the focus groups were strong enough on this that Labour felt it had to listen. As for the "how", hopefully they'll give some indication in the House tomorrow afternoon before the Electoral Amendment Bill goes to committee.