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National’s chilling effect on free speech

National’s chilling effect on free speech


Green Media Release    14th December 2007


National’s misleading statements about the impact of the Electoral Finance Bill may have a chilling impact on free speech says the Green Party, and National should stop acting irresponsibly.

“People should not listen to the misleading statements by John Key. National says that Tim Shadbolt’s campaign to protect the funding base of the Southern Institute of Technology may be caught by the provisions of the Electoral Finance Bill. But I can’t see how Tim’s ads could be considered election ads by any stretch of the imagination, and would not be caught by the bill,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Party Co-leader.

“It is irresponsible of National to run a scare campaign about issue advertising. National’s campaign of misinformation is likely to have a chilling effect on free speech and they should stop it.

“I encourage all people to campaign on issues of concern to them. I welcome the campaign by Tim Shadbolt and have tremendous sympathy for it – the SIT has been great. Campaign finance reform does not impact on such campaigns. Just ignore the National Party.

“Under the Electoral Finance Bill people are free to buy as much issue advertising as they want.

“If Tim starting running ads saying ‘vote out Labour’ then they would be election ads and they would be caught by the cap. There is a $120,000 cap on election advertising, which is advertising that encourages or persuades voters to vote for or against a party or candidate.

“It is worth remembering that the only reason this Bill exists at all is because National colluded with the Exclusive Brethren to get around the party spending caps, and because National laundered their donations through secretive trusts.”




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