Electoral Finance law will stifle rates reform
4 December 2007
Electoral Finance law will stifle rates reform movement.
Plans to raise sponsorship for the rates reform campaign have been put on hold because of the implications which would arise if the Electoral Finance Bill becomes law.
Following the release of the Rates Inquiry report in September ratepayers have been waiting anxiously for the government’s attitude to proposed reforms.
The government’s views will not be released until next year and at that stage NoMoreRates was planning to make rates reform a major election issue.
A campaign programme including public education and parliamentary lobbying was being planned, supported by sponsored advertising and promotional activities – including print and electronic media advertising.
The campaign also proposed to raise funds for these promotional activities by introducing membership fees – something we have avoided so far.
But if we do this in election year, and spend those funds on a campaign about an election issue, those membership fees will be included as part of our expenditure on election advertising.
It is now clear that the cost of implementing a high profile campaign would not be within the limits proposed under the already amended Bill.
Even if we proceeded with a campaign within the proposed limited we would still be faced with the bureaucratic administrative nightmares set out in the Bill and possibly leave ourselves open to legal challenges for non-compliance.
It will be impossible to mount an effective campaign if this Bill becomes law.