Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Clark admits the Electoral Finance Bill is crap

Helen Clark has admitted that the EFB aimed at shutting down free speech and third parties (but allowing political party coffers to be filled up via anonymous donations) in an Election year needs to be changed - but only after the media and blogs pointed that out to her. Yet she had a hand in drafting the bill so she knew what she was doing.She wants more donations than everyone else because Labour is broke and losing support.

"It may well be that in endeavouring to fix that, the net's been cast too wide," she said on Newstalk ZB."That's why you need good scrutiny at a select committee."

So well paid Cabinet Ministers and Crown Law don`t have to provide scrutiny - is it left over to public input with comment from MInisters only if the media and blogs are critical?

One of the ludicrous things in the bill is this: if you express a political opinion in an election year in " any form of words or graphics" you will have to sign a statutory declaration declaring how much you have spent on this expression, and unless you register with the state in order to spend up to $60,000, you will have to confirm that money spent is less than $5000, even if all you do is to spend $1.50 on chalk to express a political opinion such as " Hodgson may be the Health Minister but he is sick in the head" - and you would still break the law if you don't put down you name and address on the bottom of the chalked slogan.

Some highly paid people should be earning their money, not approving unworkable law.

UPDATESteven Price from the Coalition of Open Government has responded stated that most of the problems would be solved if we used the wording in the British law - then we can deal with Governments failure to do anything about secret donations and ensure that election advertising laws are at least restricted to that of a political purpose associated with an election - that is, not restricting individuals from campaigning or protesting or restricting lobby groups from doing their jobs or attempting to influence the political agenda in election year.

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