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Nats’ commitment to democracy called into question

Hon Jim Anderton

Member of Parliament for Wigram
Progressive Leader

18 December 2007 Media Statement

Nats’ commitment to democracy called into question

“It sticks in the throat to hear the National Party pretending it cares about democracy when its record is sleazy and opportunistic,” Leader of the Progressive Party Jim Anderton said, speaking at the third reading of the Electoral Finance Bill in the House today.

Jim Anderton said that the National Party couldn’t get up in the House and claim it is interested only in democracy, when it flouted the electoral laws at the last election.

“This Bill makes a simple choice about our democracy: Who should own our democracy − big money, or the people of New Zealand? You can’t have both,” Jim Anderton said. “Where the anonymous, big money goes, the interests of the people come second.”

Jim Anderton referred to the actions of the Exclusive Brethren in his own electorate in the last election, on the day before voting took place.

“They bought a full page ad in the local newspaper. This was an ad published the day before the election, when it was far too late to respond or reply. The ad told lies about me. The address given for the ad was fake. The people behind it tried to remain anonymous. This was an attempt to buy an election with money, instead of with truth and with ideas.

“I want to ask: how is that fair? How is that democratic? How is it fair and democratic that people who don’t identify themselves can spend as much as they like to sway the result of an election?

I support the Electoral Finance Bill because elections should not be decided by the biggest wallet. I support this Bill because it is about ensuring no one can buy an election. That sort of politics has no place in New Zealand.”

Jim Anderton said that what the National Party was essentially saying was that people who spend more should have more say. “That is not democracy − that is a disgrace against the most fundamental ideas of a civilised country.

“I commend this Bill to the House because I commend to this House the idea of a democracy where all New Zealanders have a fair say, and where our democracy is no longer for sale.”


ENDS

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