Electoral Reform Needs Fixing

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, June 5th, 2010 - 5 comments
Categories: election 2011, election funding, electoral systems, referendum - Tags:

Two Electoral Reform bills are currently accepting submissions, and each contain one particularly large flaw.

Firstly, as I commented on the Electoral (Finance Reform and Advance Voting) Amendment Bill: getting rid of the 3 month election period is a very dangerous move. National have now decided that the election period only starts on the day they tell us it does. Governments will be able to start their election campaign before announcing it, and have a whack of spending and media coverage free from restrictions. And any reform that allows some unconstrained election spending will always favour the rich and those parties supported by big business; rather than letting voices be heard with democratic equity.

Simon Power snuck this in just before the first reading after earlier announcing he was keeping the 3 months. Typically this government is trying to avoid scrutiny of its dodgy moves. You have until 17 June to submit your complaints about this change, or to lobby MPs over it.

Secondly, the MMP referendum bill is also before select committee. The referendum is largely worded well, but once again the bill has a terrible fault; once again it’s on campaigning finance. There is no limit whatsoever on campaigning time and money for the referendum as it currently stands. Expect to hear little else other than Peter Shirtcliffe for most of next year.

Apart from letting only National’s preferred Supplementary Member be heard about on the airwaves, this free reign of spending may well act as a fifth column in the election campaign. Not only with having Supplementary Member supporting National Party people everywhere to get all those extra votes familiarity brings; but also drowning out the proper election coverage, so the issues aren’t debated, and National’s poor record isn’t highlighted.

You only have until 10 June to submit your opinion and lobby on this bill. Do it.


5 comments on “Electoral Reform Needs Fixing”

  1. Fisiani 1

    National is accepting submissions on multi-party proposed changes to Electoral Financing laws.
    What a welcome change.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      And then they’ll probably listen just as much as they did over the SuperShitty.

  2. Bill 2

    And on the other side.

    If a sitting government comprises of parties with deep pockets they could throw a lot of money at advertising etc and the opposition would rush to do the same on the assumption that an election date was about to be announced. Only to find that they’ve been had. That there was no intention to call an election and their coffers have been bled on mis-timed advertising.

    In fact, I’d be surprised if this didn’t happen.

    And if the opposition don’t throw money at the advertising in such a scenario and get caught out, then they will be caught flat footed instead because in that instance the governing parties will call an election.

    A classic ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ set up.

  3. Sam 3

    Strange how I don’t see democracy under attack headlines coming from the herald…

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      It’s only strange if you don’t realise that the NZHerald is a mouthpiece for the National party and its preferred dictatorship.

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