Listener comes out against the EFB

Editorial: One law for MPs | New Zealand Listener

My god, Labour has lost the high ground when even the Listener comes out again the Electoral Finance Bill and the Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill.

[quote]The government’s plans for legislation covering election spending recall that infamous night when MPs set up a superannuation scheme for themselves. This week the government introduced to Parliament a measure called the Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill, which it intends to rush through before Christmas. If the title was not deliberately chosen to make the bill seem tedious, then it is the government’s good fortune that it certainly has that effect.

It might as well be called the “One Law for MPs Bill”. When combined with the Electoral Finance Bill, which is being considered by a select committee, it makes the rules on advertising in an election period markedly different for MPs than for all other New Zealanders.[/quote]

The public is now hugely more aware as a result of the NZ Herald and now The Listener’s action today.
[quote]It seems that Labour and its support parties, believing themselves to be far more cash-strapped than National, have found a way to legitimise election-period spending through their taxpayer-funded parliamentary budgets. Add such spending to the expensive ad campaigns to allegedly educate the public on policies like KiwiSaver or Working for Families, and next year Labour, in particular, will be bleeding a lucrative vein of taxpayer-funded publicity.

The public has been told that the “One Law for MPs Bill” is only temporary. But so what? The period it covers is the only time that counts – right through election year. And there is nothing to stop the next government simply renewing it – temporarily, of course.

The public deserve better. Not only because the public are paying for it, but because it is unfair for incumbent MPs to have a legalised advantage and because, in election year, there should be a level of robust participation that the Electoral Finance Bill will inhibit.

The bill’s provisions are a shame and a shambles and New Zealand’s democracy will be poorer if they are passed.[/quote]

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