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Repealing the EFA & reinstating free speech

Bill English MP National Party Deputy Leader

28 September 2008

Repealing the EFA & reinstating free speech

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says all New Zealanders with an interest in free speech will welcome John Key's confirmation today that a National-led Government will repeal the oppressive Electoral Finance Act.

"This is a self-serving law, passed in haste, and designed to silence Labour's critics in election year. National will end the farce."

Mr English is commenting after the release of the National Party's electoral law policy was released today.

"The Electoral Commission and the Law Society have expressed serious reservations about the impact of the EFA on free speech and freedom of expression. Labour has belittled these concerns.

"The Electoral Finance Act has been a total shambles and those parties who supported it are now all regretting they did so. We do hope they embrace the chance to fix it."

National will move to repeal the Electoral Finance Act 2007 immediately after the election, but retain the provisions around the transparency of donations.

The old sections from the Electoral Act 1993 will be reinstated, and the Electoral Finance Act sections relating to donations, will be inserted into the Electoral Act 1993.

"National concluded long ago that there needed to be more transparency around donations. We were genuinely surprised when Labour failed to put in any controls around donations when the law was initially drafted.

"We will retain those provisions from the EFA, and reform electoral law through a process that involves all parliamentary parties and the public in a fair and timely manner.

"When electoral watchdogs say they can't understand the rules, when the law society says the Act is stifling free speech, when MPs have no clear steer on what is an election advertisement - that is banana republic time. This law should never have been passed and will be repealed by National."

Ends

To view National's electoral law summary visit: http://national.org.nz/files/2008/electoral_law.pdf


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