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Electoral finance – summary of submissions

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, August 7th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: election funding - Tags:

The Ministry of Justice has released a summary of the submissions it got on its Electoral Finance Issues Document. They got 79.

The Ministry gives out some figures about some figures on how many submitters were for or against certain ideas. Of course many submissions did not cover all issues, but the balance of opinion figures are interesting anyway:

§ Twelve submissions said that equity is more important than freedom of speech, while only six placed freedom of speech at the top of the pile, with equity below it.

§ 29 submissions wanted to the cap on anonymous donations to be at or below $1,000 (nine wanted it at $0), while only five wanted the cap raised or eliminated.

§ Nineteen submissions wanted to cap the total of all donations coming from one person, while only thirteen opposed this.

§ 23 submissions favoured public funding for political parties (including thirteen who wanted an increase), while only five said there should be none.

§ 27 submissions wanted spending limits for parties and candidates. Seven did not.

§ 21 submissions wanted spending limits on parallel campaigns. Eight did not.

§ In relation to the regulated period: Ten submitters wanted a 1 January start date; five wanted a six month period; and nine wanted a three month period.

I’m guessing that isn’t really what Simon Power wanted to hear.

If the government drew up its proposal on the basis of this consultation, we would have a system with maximum per-person donation caps and almost no anonymous donations, significant public funding for political parties, a longer regulated period, and spending limits on parties, candidates, and parallel campaigns alike.

It will be interesting to see how the government decides to treat these submissions, given that the submissions tend not to agree with National’s pre-election rhetoric.

– Rob Salmond

15 comments on “Electoral finance – summary of submissions ”

  1. r0b 1

    That’s fascinating, and very very encouraging. Maybe we have collectively learned some lessons about democracy.

    The ball is now in National’s court. What will they do with this? Was this process a genuine consultation, or was it window dressing?

    Although the backgrounds are very different, the early expressions of National Labour willingness to cooperate on getting the foreshore and seabed issue “right” shows that there is the prospect of productive bipartisan progress on some issues. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get bipartisan agreement and get electoral finance “right” too.

    • r0b 1.1

      Replying to myself – how lame is that? But I have to go and will miss what might be an interesting discussion. Some pre-responses to our rightly trolls.

      The prospect of bipartisan agreement on the FSSB is not because Labour has flip flopped, but because National has. All the way from Iwi/Kiwi rabble rousing to full cooperation with the Maori party.

      And on electoral finance, yes Labour got some stuff wrong in the development and implementation of the EFA, and according to The Herald they lost the war for public opinion. But what they EFA was trying to accomplish was always necessary, and the principles were always sound (which is why most of the parties in parliament supported it up to the third reading). The results of this public consultation seem to confirm this. Maybe Labour weren’t quite so out of step with public opinion as The Herald likes to tell us…


    • Swampy 1.2

      What we have learned is simple: Labour’s law being so draconian attracted a lot of outrage yet Labour rammed it through anyway.

      National has repealed that law and it has become a backwater issue. The extremely small number of submissions shows that the status quo could easily be maintained.

  2. It will be interesting to see how the government decides to treat these submissions, given that the submissions tend not to agree with National’s pre-election rhetoric.

    They’ll ignore them like they always do…..?

  3. Ianmac 3

    Of course Simon could argue that having only 79 submissions was not a good representation of the need or general public good. Given the fuss about the EFA it dies seem surprising that there was only 79 submissions???

    • gingercrush 3.1

      Most of us scream a lot and do nothing.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        I have an acquaintance who marched in a protest against the EFA, but didn’t vote in the election because he couldn’t be bothered.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Given the fuss I would have expected more but maybe people were happy with the EFA as it was. There never really was a massive public outcry – just the noise created by rich people due rich people being able to create more noise.

      • Ianmac 3.2.1

        Or maybe the outcry was just to paint Labour as Nanny-state arrogant etc. The catch is that Pandoras Box once opened will bite the hand that opened it. (Mixed?) Hence the energy against Bill’s “rort.”

        • Ron

          you’re on to it ianmac.
          I think it was much ado actually. MOST people actually had no opinion on the issue but the marchers – can anyone other than us geeks remember their names – made a lot of noise and were backed by a Tory media so got plenty of coverage.

    • Swampy 3.3

      Not really, it proves that National has done the right thing by repealing Labour’s hugely draconian biased law.

  4. m12 4

    I did send in a submission – but only as part of an assessment for an electoral law class. That class probably accounts for a good third of the total submissions.

    • Rob Salmond 4.1

      Yep, the 20 that came from Otago students were noted separately in the report. Your class accounted for a quarter of all the submissions.

  5. Swampy 5

    79 submissions from the millions of electors is statistically insignificant. Power is probably quite please the vast majority have chosen not to participate, it gives National license to simply go with whatever they promised before the election.

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