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King confirms her confusion on electoral law

Bill English MP National Party Deputy Leader

5 December 2007

King confirms her confusion on electoral law

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says the Justice Minister's confession that she 'could be wrong', and 'might be wrong' on key definitions within the Electoral Finance Bill show how bad Labour's law is.

"Here we are, at the eleventh hour, making fundamental changes to this fatally flawed bill. The public will get no chance to discuss some of the significant changes that Labour is planning to railroad through Parliament by a slim majority."

Mr English says Annette King's admission that she was wrong on her interpretation about what an MP can do in election year shows how badly drafted and poorly understood this bill is.

"The Electoral Commission stated publicly it was relying on Ms King's interpretation as a starting point for enforcing the law. What should they rely on now?

"If the Justice Minister can't get it right, what chance do the public have? This will be law within days, and even now at the last gasp the Justice Minister doesn't understand it."

Mr English says Labour is also trying to patch up a clause that would have prevented TVNZ, a Crown-owned company, from running campaign advertisements in 2008.

On November 21, Annette King issued a media statement titled 'TV election ads not banned' after National raised the concern.

"The Minister was wrong again. One amendment among the 150-odd tabled yesterday is a fix to allow the state broadcaster to run election campaign advertisements.

"National is finding more holes in this bill as each day passes. It is a self-serving dog's breakfast that no legal expert would endorse and no one will be able to fairly enforce."

ENDS

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