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Sub 60 decision-making from the Nats on EFB

Sub 60 decision-making from the Nats on EFB

Green Party MP Metiria Turei today criticised the National Party's hypocrisy over the speed with which the Electoral Finance Bill is being passed through Parliament - given that their deputy leader Bill English took less than an hour last night to dismiss a Green Party proposal that would give ordinary citizens the central role in setting campaign finance law.

"When it suits him, Mr English is happy to pose as the champion of ordinary citizens and their freedom of political expression. Yet when the Green Party asked him to put his money where his mouth is - and support the right of ordinary citizens to set the rules for election spending - Mr English shows his true colours and dismisses the idea out of hand," Mrs Turei says.

The Green Party had sought support from all political parties for an amendment to the Electoral Finance Bill to allow the people of New Zealand to decide the nature of campaign finance law - via a citizens' assembly.

"Mr English has to be held to account. He has been happy to quote the Human Rights Commission when it calls for further consultation on the Bill. Yet when the HRC expresses strong support for changes to enhance participation in electoral processes - which the Greens' citizens assembly initiative clearly does - then Mr English is dead keen on trashing the idea, at record speed.

"The citizens assembly is a litmus test of true political commitment to trusting the views of ordinary citizens, and inviting them to set the rules for election spending. John Key and the National Party are more concerned with scrapping any measure that might interfere with the ability of their mates to buy votes in the next general election.

"Judging by their recent actions, National are more like the Goodnight Kiwi of democracy than its White Knight. The posturing in recent weeks by National is just disguising their own vested interest in allowing wealthy organisations like the Exclusive Brethren to influence what ought to be free and fair elections.

"I would like to remind the National Party that human rights are not the same as commercial rights.

"Perhaps they would like to reconsider their flippant refusal to support our amendment and show that they too can make a stand for the rights of all New Zealanders, and not just those of its Business Roundtable friends and donors," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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