NBR on FIGJAMs assault on democracy

The editor of the NBR has launched into Simon Power and National over his/their egregious betrayal of New Zealanders by stitching up a back-room deal with Labour to suppress our right to freedom of speech.

The worst fears that MMP has had a dampening effect on decision-making have been realised in the “consensus” on new electoral funding laws and the reported back bill on next year’s referendum.

On the former, the government has made a deal with Labour that retains some of the worst features of the notorious legislation that National successfully campaigned against.

This includes a $300,000 limit on campaign spending by so-called “promoters” or third parties. This is a little more than double that Labour’s law had imposed ($120,000).

National originally proposed no limit but this has been traded off for a higher level before party donations have to revealed. Disclosure would instead now apply only to donations above $15,000 (previously $10,000).

Other changes are equally mean-spirited and inhibiting of public debate, which suggests the writing of electoral legislation remains largely to further the self-serving needs of politicians rather than what’s in the public interest.

Most lobbyists from the Left, and their parties, see danger in any form of political funding (ecxept their own). Despite a lack of hard evidence, they associate large donations with political paybacks (for their wealthier opponents).

The public has never accepted this and it is disappointing to see the revamped law is only marginally better than the one that was a major contributor to Labour’s demise in the 2008 election.

Nevil Gibson blames the MMP environment for this, I think that is overly harsh. The real problem is liberal, wet, panty-waists like Simon Power who stand for nothing and fall for everything.

However one overlooked aspect is the spiking of any attempt to mount a campaign against MMP by Simon Power. He is of course a big proponent of the system that has ham-strung New Zealand ever since it was foisted upon us. The very system that was supposed to protect us from the excesses of politicians has been masterfully manipulated by them, both sides of the house to maintain their arrogant hegemony. Now because of Simon Power‘s treachery we can’t even mount a campaign against the system that so cripples our nation.

The money question also undermines the final form of the MMP referendum bill. The same $300,000 “third party” cap has been imposed, presumably to limit any campaign against MMP.

It is assumed, of course, that this would be mounted by a well-funded business-backed lobby, though signs of one are not yet apparent.

A review of MMP is said to be high on the agenda for some in the event it is retained in the first referendum. This review would attempt to reduce some of MMP’s worst features, such as weak electoral candidates still getting into Parliament through the list, and a party having more electoral seats than its proportional vote.

Also, it is likely some would favour a change in the threshold, which at the last election allowed Act to get four seats because it had an electoral seat, even though it polled below the 5% mark, while New Zealand First got no seats but received more votes.

Excluded from the review are other issues where public feeling runs counter to the political establishment – the future of the Maori seats, which effectively double the vote of those on that roll compared with the general roll, and the overall number of MPs.

Pro-MMP campaigners will be keen to highlight this review in defence of a system they say should be “improved” rather than discarded.

We are being systematically shut down and controlled by politicians who wish that people like me would just STFU. All Simon Power has now done is provide a mechanism for labour or any other anti-democratic politician in his mold to easily lower the threshold from the arbitrary $300,000 limit he has booby-trapped into the legislation.

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