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Electoral Finance Bill changes welcomed

Written By: - Date published: 6:14 am, November 20th, 2007 - 20 comments
Categories: election funding - Tags:

Stuff reports that “Key non-political critics have welcomed changes to the Government’s electoral finance reforms.”

Both the Human Rights Commission and Coalition for Open Government are pleased with the revisions to the Electoral Finance Bill.

Coalition spokesman Steven Price said the changes were a great improvement especially measures to open up anonymous donations…

“This bill is not about trammelling people’s right to free speech,” Mr Price said. “The revised bill clearly supports democracy by requiring greater transparency of donors and levelling the playing field so that groups like the Exclusive Brethren can’t use their big chequebooks to swing elections.”

Now if only the media would start calling a spade a spade.

“The Free Speech Coalition spokesman David Farrar, who also runs a right wing website, said the bill would now cover megaphones as well as other materials such as placards which were always covered.”

bd4.jpgA little disingenuous to refer to DPF as someone who runs a right wing website. David is the mouthpiece of the National Party – he works in their Headquarters for God’s sake – he’s on the payroll and he’s actively campaigning for the Nats (at left is a photo from his 40th birthday bash). I’m all for presenting dissenting minority points of view – even from people as biased as David – but the NZPA owe it to their readers to be absolutely straight about his political stripes.

20 comments on “Electoral Finance Bill changes welcomed ”

  1. Robinsod 1

    You’ll be pleased to know then Base that when he appeared on TV3’s morning show, Sunrise, he was called on his affiliations right at the start of the interview. I’m personally amazed anyone can credit him as a commentator, independent or no ‘cos his analysis just ain’t sound.

  2. Tane 2

    He just showed up on Morning Report as the head of the “Free Speech Coalition”. When asked to disclose his group’s political affiliations he stumbled and claimed they came from all over the political spectrum. Not once did he mention his links to the National Party. Poor form from Morning Report though – they should have done their research.

  3. So the HRC supports the EFB now eh? So how does that “support” tally with the reported comments of HRC commissioner Judy McGregor in this morning’s NZ Herald?

    “Asked yesterday if the commission still believed the bill should be scrapped, commissioner Dr Judy McGregor said the revision met many of the organisation’s concerns, but it still had reservations.

    “Had this bill been the original bill, we might not have felt so strongly. But now we are talking about a new piece of legislation,” Dr McGregor said.

    “We felt it was a fundamental constitutional law that was being changed and it would be desirable to have another round of public consultation.”

    She could see no reason for starting the election period on January 1, and was disappointed this was not changed.”

  4. Robinsod 4

    IV2 – the herald is cherry-picking quotes in order to make its coverage look less hysterical. You’ll see the tone soften even further over the next few days. It’s kinda the editorial version of a staged withdrawal.

  5. mike 5

    I really don’t think anyone outside the chattering classes who dick around on blogs all day gives a crap about this. Or if they do, they need to get a real life and a few important things to worry about.

    It’s way down the list of things I have to worry about in the REAL world.

  6. Nih 6

    Good call. I reckon we can sacrifice a few consumer electronics brands to send a frigate out to address Japanese whaling. And by address I mean stop that particular fleet in its tracks and send it home.

  7. dave 7

    Good morning I posted a link to this site as you as tyou areall for “presenting dissenting minority points of view”. either you deleted both my comments or your site didnt lodge them
    heres the link

    http://big-news.blogspot.com

    This link is provided because you have got it wrong with the HRC and if The Standard is not setting the standard, while complaining other standards are substandard someone has to set blogging standards.

  8. Nih 8

    If you fail the captcha your post is discarded as spam and only appears to be posted. I failed it myself when I was writing this response to you and only noticed when I came back to comment on your blog post.

    You really need to get rid of the no-refresh posting script AYB. It confuses the heck out of new commenters.

  9. Tane 9

    Hi Dave, we don’t delete comments unless the user requests we do so or it contains defamatory content. You might want to check that you’re entering the captcha correctly.

    If you have an issue with the interpretation of the HRC’s position then your issue is with NZPA, which authored the story.

    Of course the HRC still has issues with the bill – everyone does, it’s the nature of legislation. But the HRC has stated it is pleased with the changes:

    Human Rights Commissioner Judy McGregor said it was pleased with changes.

    However, the doubled cap for third party spending & $120,000 in yesterday’s version of the bill & was not high enough.

    Dr McGregor said the commission was disappointed there would not be another round of public consultation following the changes.

    That’s hardly a call for the bill to be scrapped, is it?

    You can give us the Herald’s cherry-picked quotes all you like, but we know they’re being less than honest in their coverage. The Herald has admitted its bias against the legislation and has said it’s campaigning against the bill. How can we now take anything it says about the bill seriously?

  10. Nih 10

    I was going to post as well that he didn’t give any citations at all, links or otherwise to support the claim that the HRC wants the bill scrapped.

    I didn’t post because he did say he was reposting a comment that failed to post here. If it was intended to be a blog post originally then we could probably be more critical.

  11. dave 11

    Look, if you dont think the Herald is reporting accurately because of one front page editoral, you have a problem and should take it up with them. Quotes cant be engineered, they can either be reported or not reported. No bias there. the HRC does have reservations.

    “Had this bill been the original bill, we might not have felt so strongly. But now we are talking about a new piece of legislation,” Dr McGregor said.

    “We felt it was a fundamental constitutional law that was being changed and it would be desirable to have another round of public consultation.”

    In other words, the HRC is being diplomatic in its disgust that strong recommendations to teh committe werent followed. It hasnt said how difficult it was to get another hearing before the select committee but I know how difficult it was because I spoke with the HRC about it prior to its second meeting.

  12. Robinsod 13

    Dave – quote depend on context, the HRC has a mixed view of this bill that from what I’ve seen of their full statements is largely in agreement with it. It’s disingenuous to describe the Herald’s coverage as “one front page editorial”. It was a front-page screamer and it’s been backed by a “democracy under threat” specific campaign. If you think that’s valid and unbiased reporting I suggest you may appreciate Zimbabwe’s media.

  13. dave 14

    Oh and another thing, Im pleased with some of thechanges too. Doesnt mean I am pleased with the bil. The HRC shares my view, that to be happy with some changes does not mean acceptance of the bill.

    You guys at the standard dont seem to understand the distinction, and if by chance you do now, why dont you write that the HRC is not happy with the bill, because clearly, it isnt.

  14. Tane 15

    Dave, NZPA has reported that the HRC is pleased with the changes to the bill.

    If you read the HRC’s letter to the select committee on October 31, it clearly states that

    the Commission supports the policy objectives of the Bill. It recognises the importance of regulating to provide for “transparency and accountability in the democratic process, [to] prevent the undue influence of wealth and [to] promote participation in the parliamentary democracy”. The Commission acknowledges that this is not easy to achieve.

    So it supported the bill in principle, but had (as it goes on to explain) issues with the “cumulative effect of a number of provisions” that it considered may have undermined free speech.

    Once the revised bill was released, the HRC said it was pleased with the changes. It still has issues with counting election spending from January 1 and with the consultation process, but these are not deal-breakers. The HRC certainly does not call for the bill to be scrapped.

    So what exactly is your point? I realise you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into this scare campaign, but this is getting ridiculous.

  15. dave 16

    My point is clear and has been said before. I`ll write it slowly as I know you`ll have to digest it slowly. The.HRC.is.pleased.with.the. changes.but.is.not.pleased.with.the.bill. because it limits freedom of expression, which the HRC says is unjustified.

    Thats what it said to the SC in the letter you just referred to.

  16. gobsmacked 17

    Ah, what is truth, asked the wizened philosopher? Where can it be found?

    In order of credibility:

    1. The Commission (original source)
    2. NZPA, which reports
    3. A “newspaper”, which campaigns

  17. all_your_base 18

    Hey Nih, point taken, we’ll investigate doing a full page refresh if/when our server setup changes – one of the downsides is that with a comment thread running to many comments AJAX works better. My thinking is that if you get the captcha wrong you’re going to lose your comment anyway, whether you find out immediately or not, so in the end it might not matter too much…

  18. if not a full refresh, then at least a flag when the capture’s incorrect?

  19. dave 20

    Gobsmacked,

    that is why I used the original source. And not all newspapers campaign.

    I notice The Standard is not on the list. It will probably be several points under http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz“> Kiwi Blog and

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