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Rally against the Electoral Finance Act - Tauranga

PRESS RELEASE

By John Boscawen

2 May 2008

Protest March and Rally against the Electoral Finance Act - Tauranga - this Saturday May 3rd

The Freedom of Speech Trust along with representatives of the Sensible Sentencing Trust are holding a protest march and rally against the Electoral Finance Act this Saturday 3 May.

Protesters will meet on the corner of First Avenue and Devonport Road at 10.45am, wet or fine, and march through the centre of the city along Devonport Road, The Strand and up Hamilton Street to Baycourt.

There will be a rally at Baycourt at 11.30am. The speakers will include John Boscawen, Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust and The Hon Ralph Maxwell, MBE.

Mr Boscawen said: "Mr Maxwell is a former Labour minister in the Lange Government and served on the Electoral Select Committee for three years during his time in parliament. Mr Maxwell is very concerned about the Act and the fact that a major change was made to our electoral law without broad cross party bi-partisan support".

This is the sixth protest march against the Electoral Finance Act that Mr Boscawen has organised but is the first in a provincial centre. Mr Boscawen said: "I am pleased to have worked with the local representatives of the Sensible Sentencing Trust, in organising the march and rally. The Sensible Sentencing Trust has over 3500 supporters in the Bay of Plenty and is the largest region of support for the Trust. With fine weather forecasted we are expecting a large turnout".

Mr Boscawen also said: "The march and rally is part of the Freedom of Speech Trust's ongoing campaign for the repeal of the Electoral Finance Act. Having organised protest marches in each of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch my focus has shifted to the major provincial centres. After the Tauranga protest I will be announcing the location of the next major provincial protest and rally".

He also said: "I am organising these protests because I believe the Act unreasonably restricts the rights of all New Zealanders to participate in the electoral process. It limits groups such as the Sensible Sentencing Trust who wish to actively participate in the electoral process by encouraging voters to vote for or against a particular party to spending only $120,000. This sum is just 2.5% of the $4.8 million the Electoral Commission said the two major parties and their candidates would be allowed to spend on their election campaign. The independent Electoral Commission recommended that third parties should be allowed to spend up $300,000 in their election campaigns. The Human Rights Commission endorsed this sum and both were ignored by Parliament".

ENDS


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