November 19, 2007
Electoral Finance Bill will bring better democracy - EPMU
Changes to the Electoral Finance Bill will help ensure the democratic process is open to all New Zealanders and not just the wealthy and the privileged, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.
The EPMU has previously expressed its support for the bill subject to changes around third party spending and greater transparency surrounding anonymous donations – both of which are dealt with by today’s changes.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the revised bill will help ensure everyone has an equal chance to participate in our democracy regardless of their individual wealth.
“Our position on the Electoral Finance Bill has been clear from the start. When we have economic inequalities in our society that allow the very wealthy to spend large amounts of money to influence an election then it is entirely justified and appropriate for Parliament to pass a law to mitigate that imbalance.
“We are pleased to see the select committee has acted on our suggestions to crack down on anonymous donations, increase the third party spending cap to a more realistic level and fix the overly broad definition of election advertising.
“Contrary to the claims of the National Party and fanatical right wing lobby groups, the Electoral Finance Bill does not restrict free speech. What it does is limit the ability of well-financed interest groups to subvert our democratic process simply because they can outspend the average New Zealander.
“The Electoral Finance Bill will strengthen our democracy and we strongly support it being passed.”
The EPMU is affiliated to the Labour Party and has made election contributions to several political parties. It regularly campaigns on issues affecting its 50,000 members, including in election year.