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Greenpeace response to Election Finance Bill


Greenpeace response to Election Finance Bill changes

Auckland 19 November 2007 - Greenpeace has welcomed the recommendations of the Justice and Electoral Committee on the Election Finance Bill, saying the committee has addressed its concerns over the Bill.

"The Committee has clearly listened to the concerns of submitters," said Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid.

In its submission on the Bill, Greenpeace raised concerns that the Bill would undermine freedom of speech and restrict activities that had nothing to do with electioneering.

"The recommendations of the select committee appear to fix these problems," said Ms McDiarmid. "Environmental NGOs and other community organisations should be able to raise important public issues during an election year without worrying that this will be considered electioneering."

Notes to reporters

1. The definition of election advertising originally referred to "taking a position associated with one or more candidates or political parties." Because issues like climate change, international security and the sustainable management of fisheries and oceans are major political issues, almost everything Greenpeace says or does would have been captured under this definition. The committee has recommended deleting these words from the Bill.

2. In an election year, NGOs run a "Vote for the Environment" campaign to show voters where Parliamentary political parties stand on environmental issues. The reporting rules around 3rd party donations would have meant that all donations to NGOs involved in campaigns like "Vote for the Environment" would have been captured under the Bill even though such campaigns typically represent a tiny proportion of annual expenditure for those NGOs. An amendment to the Bill removes this problem.

3. Greenpeace does not take donations or accept sponsorship from businesses or governments. It is strictly independent of corporations, governments and political parties, although it does cooperate with all three in order to advance progress towards a fairer, safer, sustainable world. It does not give donations to political parties.

ENDS

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