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Electoral Finance Law Gags Voice of Trusts

MEDIA RELEASE
3 December 2007

Electoral Finance Law Gags Voice of Trusts

Two prominent lobby groups Family First NZ and Sensible Sentencing Trust are highlighting just how far reaching and draconian the Electoral Finance Bill will be if passed by the government and supporting parties this week.

Both trusts had planned on sending a brochure to every household in NZ next year in a similar fashion to what political parties do. The brochures would have highlighted issues important to each of the trusts and shown how the political parties have each responded to those concerns. This would have been paid for through donations from members and supporters with no taxpayer funding.

However, Family First has gained a quote to do this and discovered that it would be banned under the Electoral Finance Bill.

“The cost of just the brochures and envelopes is quoted at $135,000, and then there is the cost of postage to add on,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “However, the proposed electoral law restricts 3rd party advertising to $120,000.”

“The Electoral Finance Bill will mean that this simple one-off activity of placing one brochure into the hands of NZ homes in 2008 to present our concerns will be illegal. This is perfect proof of just how restrictive this bill is.”

“Publicly supported charitable groups will be effectively restricted from getting their message out in the most effective way during the election year. And meanwhile, political parties will be spending up to $10 million to push their agenda having no problem sending their message to every letterbox, and advertising on tv and in newspapers as well.”

Family First and Sensible Sentencing Trust believe that voters have as much right to be heard as politicians during an election year.
ENDS

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