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National shows true colours on campaign finance

National shows true colours on campaign finance

The National Party has finally come clean and admitted that they believe New Zealanders have no right to know who finances political parties in this country, Justice Minister Annette King said today.

Late in last night's debate on the Electoral Finance Bill, former National Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee spoke out in defence of anonymous donations saying, "If no New Zealander goes into the ballot box having to declare how they vote, why should any New Zealander have to say what small amount they want to give any particular political party?"

Ms King said this shows yet again that National believes democracy is only as good as its price tag. The 'small amount' National is referring to is more than $10,000 –- the proposed maximum amount for undeclared donations.

"The right to vote and freedom of speech are the linchpins of New Zealand's democracy," she said.

"But for the National Party, it would seem they are not as important as the right to spend money to influence an election result.

"It is outrageous to suggest that the ability to give thousands of dollars in secret to the party of your choice is as important as the sanctity of the secret ballot. Not even in the United States, where big money famously is the lifeblood of politics, are anonymous donations of the kind National supports allowed," Ms King said.

"This is National showing its true colours. Their opposition to the Electoral Finance Bill was never about anything other than protecting the flow of big money to their campaign coffers.

"The National Party is bankrupt of ideas, but not bankrupt financially thanks to anonymous donors who want National to take us back to the policies of privatisation, asset sales, and sweeping tax cuts.

"We must pass the Electoral Finance Bill to ensure that the 2008 election is a contest of ideas, not a battle of the bank accounts."


ENDS

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