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Two-party club should be shut down

8 March 2005

Two-party club should be shut down

The Greens are calling for an end to Labour and National putting party hacks on the Electoral Commission to allocate election broadcasting funds to political parties.

Despite opposition from the Greens and other third-parties, former Labour Minister David Caygill and National representative David Isles are likely to be appointed to the Electoral Commission this afternoon.

“Letting big party hacks divvy up the broadcasting money is like asking South Africa and Australia to set the rules for all the teams in the Rugby World Cup,” Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said. “Players in the political game shouldn’t also be the referees.

“This practice undermines the integrity and independence of our democratic process. Representatives of political parties should not be sitting on a commission that decides how public money for election broadcasting is allocated.”

The Electoral Commission has recommended to previous Parliaments that political party appointees should not be part of the broadcasting allocation process, a recommendation the Green Party supports. However, Labour and National have blocked all moves to de-politicise the broadcasting money allocation process.

“The age of the two old parties controlling the purse strings should have come to an end when Kiwis plumped for MMP in 1993. National and Labour are stuck in a time warp.

“While we have nothing against Messrs Caygill and Isles personally, their presence on the Electoral Commission is anti-democratic. It is farcical that Mr Isles, as the official Opposition representative on the Electoral Commission, is expected to represent National, New Zealand First, United Future, Act, the Maori Party, and the Greens. How can anyone possibly represent all our competing interests?”

Mr Donald said he supported the Government’s expected announcement this afternoon to increase the broadcasting allocation for political parties from $2m to $3.2m.

“Since it was set in 1990, the value of the $2 million available to political parties has been seriously eroded by increased advertising costs. The pie has not only shrunk over the past fifteen years, but it has also been cut into many more pieces since the advent of MMP.”

ENDS


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