Readers of Kiwiblog will know krazykiwi, another opponent of the EFB. Krazykiwi recently wrote to the Greens, to express his concerns for their support of the EFB, and has given me permission to reproduce correspondence. Here is the reply he received from Metiria Turei, who seems to have become the Greens' spokeperson on electoral law reform.
"Thank you for sending your email to us about the Electoral Finance Bill. This is an issue of great importance to the community and directly affects the nature of our citizenship. The public interest in the bill and its effects is very welcome in a healthy democracy.
The Greens view on electoral finance reform is guided by three key principles. Transparency - that voters have a right to know who is funding political parties. A level playing field - elections should be a contest between different ideas and policies not a contest as to who has the most money.
And finally avoiding state dependency – political parties should be encouraged to maintain strong memberships and links to the community and not become entirely dependent on public support.
Because of the importance of preventing the influence of undue wealth, political parties currently have restrictions on the amount of money they can spend in an election. We believe that similar principles ought to apply to others who engage in electioneering. To constrain political party spending but not that of other groups fails to address the problem but we need to get the balance right.
To this end, we have campaigned strongly to alter the bill to include a ban on secret trusts and anonymous donations. The public should know who funds political parties and third parties.
We also agree that the bill includes a number of restrictions on third parties that are unnecessary to meet our objectives for fair electoral finance law. We are working in the select committee to make the changes to the bill that will ensure that the public right to actively engage in the electoral process is protected while guarding against undue financial influence. To this end we have, in the select committee, fought for:
* ensuring that issues advertising is not election advertising;
* protecting the donations that groups recieve for ther ordinary advocacy and community work from being included as donations for election expenses;
* lift the cap on third party spending from the bills current limit of $60,000;
* remove the requirement for a third party statutory declaration; and
* strengthen the enforcement provisions to highlight the seriousness of corrupt practices
We also believe that the public should be engaged better in the process and so have called for a Citizens Assembly to address these and other electoral funding issues.
Finally, we have chosen to constructively work with other parties across the political spectrum to get the best possible outcome in this bill as we do not believe that the current law properly protects against the abuses of financial influence.
We sincerely appreciate your concerns about this bill and we expect that they will be addressed when the bill is reported back to Parliament in the next few days.
Noho ora mai, Na,
Metiria Turei MP"
Now krazykiwi is no-one's fool. He is a successful businessman, and knows a fob-off when he sees one! So he e-mailed a response to Metiria Turei, which he has also authorised me to reproduce - so here goes:
Thanks for this email. I have to say that the Greens' stated ideals and your actual actions are polls apart .....
Transparency - this was originally to be included but was then removed by your coalition partner - Labour. The mechanisms for ensuring transparency should surely be transparent... not retro-fitted without proper public consultation. Greens' score 3/10
Level Playing Field - This is not achieved by making all/any interested citizen register before opening their mouth. Every NZer should be able to spend their hard earned income campaigning for whoever or whatever they choose. This is a basic human right. What is unethical is cash-poor but power-rich entities using their legislative muscle to suppress other voices. Greens' score 1/10
Avoiding State Dependency - What nonsense is this? The Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill - which your party is supporting - provides de-facto state funding for political parties... relieving them of the need to seek financial support from their constituencies. How can you support this bill while decrying state dependency? Greens' score 0/10.
The bottom line is that the Greens are supporting ethically bankrupt legislation which is designed to surpress democratics voices and load the electoral dice in favour of the current government.
All this is a disgrace... and my view of the Greens has been permanently damaged by your party's duplicity.
Excellent response krazykiwi - and so say all of us! The Greens' reputation, and the memory of Rod Donald have been forever tarnished by their complicity with Labour to circumvent democracy.