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Anti-democratic Labour writes rules to suit itself

Hon Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

10 April 2007

Anti-democratic Labour writes rules to suit itself

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says the public should be very concerned that Labour is planning anti-democratic changes to election funding rules that will suit it and disadvantage every other political party.

“Labour’s changes effectively allow a dying government to trade on its past popularity as it digs deeper into taxpayer pockets to save its own skin.

“It's anti-democratic because it means the public and the opposition will find it that much harder to shift a tired, arrogant, decaying administration.

“The message is clear: if you oppose Labour your democratic rights to speak out will be severely curtailed.

“After being stung when it got caught with its fingers in the taxpayer till over the pledge card fiasco, Labour is now planning to dig its fingers even deeper in the till with state funding of political parties.

“Not only that, but Labour wants to rewrite the rules so tough new measures on third-party advertising exempts the unions – while including everybody else. Labour’s main supporters are being let off the hook.

“In yet another anti-democratic move, Labour wants to extend regulation of election spending from the three months before the vote to the start of the year in which the election is held.

“The Labour Party wants taxpayers to pay for its election campaigns, and it wants to screw the scrum to advantage it and disadvantage all other parties.

“These changes are designed to favour the incumbent - particularly state funding. But politics in a democracy is very competitive, and parties need to prove themselves to voters. If they make it, then they will raise money.

“On the issue of trusts, National said in December that it was open to preventing anonymous political funding via such bodies. National supports a disclosure regime for trusts that is similar to companies, unions and lobby groups.

“But National also said then that it wanted to be sure that Labour was going to take a bi-partisan approach to any law changes, and that its reforms would be robust. So far, it hasn’t demonstrated anything of the sort.”


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