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Greens logic on flawed bill - flawed

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

12 November 2007

Greens logic on flawed bill - flawed

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says Greens co-leader Russell Norman needs to say when he thinks ‘legitimate concerns regarding freedom of speech can be easily corrected in the [Electoral Finance] Bill’.

“Mr Norman has today tried to justify his party’s support for the Electoral Finance Bill and its companion Appropriation Bill which sets out to save incumbent MPs.

“In his statement on the issue Mr Norman says ‘legitimate concerns regarding freedom of speech can be easily corrected’.

“The question I have is when does Mr Norman expect to provide the public with the opportunity to correct or comment on those ‘legitimate concerns’ when the bill appears to have been stitched up behind closed doors?

“On the basis of media reports today, it would appear the public will not get another chance to comment on either the Electoral Finance Bill or its anti-democratic dance partner - the Appropriation Bill.”

Mr English says that National has always been open to discussions about anonymous donations and it took the Opposition by surprise when the law changes promised by Labour did not include anything about trusts or anonymous donations.

“National always aims to work within the rules. If we have rules that all parties and the public can agree on, then we will happily work within them.

“But Mr Norman needs to understand that the two bills which his party is supporting do not have the backing of the public. Why else is Labour trying to railroad the process in the rush to Christmas?”

Mr English says he would be happy to offer Mr Norman a briefing on the bills since he has clearly lost sight of how anti-democratic the changes are.

“Would the Greens have had any chance at all of winning the Coromandel electorate if the incumbent MP was able to spend four times as much as their unelected candidate?

“Mr Norman needs to ask himself that question.”


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