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Another coat of whitewash applied to election bill

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

20 November 2007

Another coat of whitewash applied to election bill

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says signals that Labour is planning yet more Band-Aid amendments to its anti-democratic Electoral Finance Bill amount to “another coat of whitewash”.

“This is an appalling ad hoc process. Labour is now promising to introduce new changes that will not be the subject of public or select committee scrutiny.

“The bill should be returned to the public for further consultation.

“Labour is tinkering with important constitutional laws that go to the heart of our democracy. It should not attempt to railroad this law with a slim majority of Parliament.

“Plans for more patch-up amendments, covering things such as promoters and megaphones, serve only to illustrate how fundamentally confused this bill is.

“What we are seeing here is the outcome of Helen Clark and Labour being nearly beaten at the last election. This is self-serving law which sets out to load the dice in favour of current MPs, while silencing members of the public.

“Helen Clark didn’t like being criticised by lobby groups – so she’s dealt to that.

“She didn’t like National starting its campaign early – so she’s dealt to that.

“She didn’t like people donating more money to her opponents – she’s dealt to that.

“She didn’t like people pointing out that Labour broke the law campaigning with taxpayers’ money – she’s dealt to that.

“And she didn’t like people pointing out that Labour breached the legal spending cap with the pledge card – so she’s dealt to that.”

Mr English says the Electoral Finance Bill makes no provision for stronger enforcement or tougher sanctions for those who break the rules.

“None of this is about running the country. It’s all about Helen Clark’s desperation to stay in power at any cost. In her view, free speech is a small price to pay.”


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