Another very interesting submission from the National Council of Women of NZ.
[quote]NCWNZ has many questions about this Bill which need to be clarified. For more than 110 years NCWNZ has raised issues of concern with whatever agencies, including Parliament, are deemed to be appropriate to influence change – nowadays this process is called lobbying. But these efforts are not political party specific. NCWNZ guards its apolitical status jealously and assiduously. Members fear that the passing of this Bill in its current form will diminish the democratic process and could be a breach of the human right of freedom of expression.
Taking into account all the types of activity noted earlier, it would appear that NCWNZ could qualify as a Third Party, a status not welcomed by this, the largest women’s NGO in New Zealand.
This Bill is far too restrictive and wide-ranging for third parties and changes need to be made to allow for public involvement in the election process, without so many restrictions and harsh penalties.
The intent of the Bill, to have more transparency in the system is good but it needs to be balanced against the right of the public to question candidates without being penalised.
There is also the concern that the disclosure of large anonymous donations to political parties has not been included in the Bill.
Finally the current Bill is capturing groups which were never the target. This is always the danger when creating laws to combat a single issue.[/quote]
Very valid points from the NCWNZ about legitimate discourse on issues in election years. Again an organisation questions the imposition on controls of our democratic and human rights to free speech.