Trotter on the Electoral Finance Bill

Written By: - Date published: 7:37 pm, September 22nd, 2007 - 7 comments
Categories: articles, election funding - Tags: ,

For those who haven’t seen it yet, Chris Trotter had a great piece in yesterday’s Dom Post about the Electoral Finance Bill.

In it, he takes issue with the narrow legal definition of freedom of expression taken up by the Human Rights commission in its submission on the bill, and in doing so reveals the dishonesty behind the right’s claims that the bill’s spending caps are somehow an attack on our democracy.

Exactly how many superannuitants, solo mums and part-time workers does the Human Rights Commission anticipate will be scrimping and saving to spend $5000 on political activity in 2008?

It’s not the rights of the poorest New Zealanders that will be curtailed by imposing a $5000 cap on individual political advocacy (or a $60,000 cap on third-party spending); it’s the rights of New Zealand’s richest citizens.

It is their ability to take out $8000 full-page advertisements in daily newspapers; their ability to organise pamphlet drops of thousands into the letterboxes of targeted voters; their ability to organise a massive billboard campaign across the country that the Human Rights Commission has stepped forward so bravely to defend.

By setting caps on individual and third-party spending at levels that ensure those with the resources to buy a state-of-the-art sound system are not allowed to drown out the unamplified voices of their fellow citizens, the bill seeks to ensure public participation in parliamentary democracy remains practical and meaningful.

The alternative, as Trotter points out, is plutocracy, which might go some way to explain why National and its allies are so determined to put a stop to anything that threatens to end their electoral rorts and put some power back into the hands of ordinary people.

7 comments on “Trotter on the Electoral Finance Bill”

  1. LFC 1

    I’ve gotta say I have my issues with Trotter at the best of times but I have to agree with his analysis on this – National’s behaviour here reminds me of the Republican’s spin on tax cuts for the richest 1% and how they framed it as a question of egalitarian “tax relief”.

    What really pisses me off though is the fact that these rightwing bastards have been getting away with masquerading as friends of the people for years and yet few have busted them on it. As for critique? Forget the prognosticating ramble that is “What’s the matter with Kansas” the legendary Mark Ames rumbled the game years ago:

    Replace “liberal elite” with “arrogant”, “out of touch” or any of the other terms National is throwing at the left and witness how fuckin tired their spin is. What I can’t understand is how the left in this country lets them get away with it. I guess they’re just not elite enough to figure it out…

  2. Ralph Banks 2

    Listen you little lefteee bar-stards. This Bill is just another attempt to get more shellas, gays and bloody teachers into Parliament. What’s wrong with those who have earn’t the right with a few dollars in the bank, spending some of it on bringing New Zealand back to where it god-damn should be. Life is full on winners and losers, that’s why you bastards will lose next year because National have more money because they’re smarter and richer!
    We need a King back on the throne (not Charles the tree hugger), a bloke back running Telecom and bloody Helen Clark running the UN’s Africa aid programme. Gareth Morgan for PM.

  3. Robinson 3

    Yo Ralphi! “earn’t”?! Yeah I can see you’re living proof of how much smarter National and their supporters are. And what’s your problem with chicks? Did your momma not love you enough? Yep bro life is full of winners and losers and some bitter, bitter losers at that…

  4. Ralph Banks 4

    Thanks Mr Robison Caruso. There’s a reason why yound men can’t get their drivers licence or get it up. It’s because we’ve had a guts-full of PC pandering and Maharey’s business bashing.

  5. Robinson 5

    Jeez Ralphi – you can’t get it up? You poor sod. I guess that explains a lot.

  6. NickH 6

    It’s that conspiracy, to impurify his precious bodily fluids with fluoridated water….

  7. Billy 7

    Yes, but Trotter has openly admitted that he regards corruption as OK so long as it keeps National out of power. I guess this is just him practicing what he preaches.

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