Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Election watchdog says law is unenforceable

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

3 September 2008

Election watchdog says law is unenforceable

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says the Electoral Commission has confirmed that Labour's Electoral Finance Act is unenforceable and has had a 'chilling' impact on our democracy.

"The admissions from Dr Helena Catt at a conference yesterday are worrying in the extreme.

"As New Zealanders head to the polls, the Electoral Commission is effectively saying it is unable to promise that the law will be properly policed or applied. That is the direct consequence of Labour's decision to railroad the law into place with the support of New Zealand First and the Greens.

"The EFA, like the controversial Emissions Trading Scheme, had hundreds of amendments that the public had no chance to comment on."

Dr Catt said of the EFA that:

* Implementation planning and process development had to begin while the shape of the final legislation was unclear. The significant changes to the Bill at Select Committee, and a lack of time between enactment and commencement also meant that interpretive and practical implications could not be worth through in advance of the law being in force.

* It is clear that having uncertainty remaining within the regulated period has had a chilling effect on the extent and type of participation in political and campaign activity ... The meanings of significant sections of the legislation are obscure.

* The commission is not confident that it will be able to reach informed positions on the interpretation of some provisions within the election period, and notes that the situation is exacerbated by the legal reality that it cannot finally determine questions of whether, for instance, an item is an election advertisement.

"The Electoral Commission has confirmed National's worst fears. The voices of those who want to participate in our democracy have been silenced, and just a few months out from the election, watchdogs still don't know what an election advertisement is.

"When it came to election laws, Labour put self-serving politics ahead of good, enduring policy. With the ETS, history is repeating."

  • Dr Helena Catt's comments to the Lexis Nexis Electoral Finance Law Forum
  • ENDS

    © Scoop Media

    Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

    Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

    As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice.

    Evidently, the National government is similarly desperate for anything that might discredit or derail the Ardern juggernaut, even if that means throwing Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne under a bus More>>


    Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

    The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>


    Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

    Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>


    Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

    “The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>


    Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

    Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>


    (Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

    The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>






    Featured InfoPages

    Opening the Election
    • PublicAddress
    • Pundit
    • Kiwiblog