John Armstrong: Beating around the bush over election reform

John Armstrong: Beating around the bush over election reformLabour's attempts to gloss over changes to contentious bill are less than convincing To listen to Cabinet ministers talk about the hugely contentious Electoral Finance Bill, you might think select committees exist merely as Parliament's… [NZ Politics]

John Armstrong gets into Labour over their silly flip flops over the Electoral Finance Bill.

[quote]However, it was no less an authority than Sir Geoffrey Palmer – Helen Clark's de facto chief policy adviser on justice portfolio matters – who once observed that select committee scrutiny of legislation was not an invitation for governments to introduce poorly considered or badly drafted bills.

The question National wanted answered in Parliament yesterday was whether the unforeseen and unintended consequences already glaringly apparent in the confusing, catch-all wording of the barely three-week-old Electoral Finance Bill was a case of the Cabinet deciding to issue such an invitation to itself.

Or, more likely, whether those consequences had been deliberately intended all along – and that Labour had its fingers crossed that no one would notice, but now it had been found out.

Labour was hardly going to own up to the latter explanation. Instead, the public alarm surrounding the bill's restrictions on election-related advertising by "third party" lobby groups and other non-government organisations has seen Labour put up the smokescreen that the bill was always going to be subject to change.[/quote]

This bill is egregious that it is highly likely that a new lobby group will feap forward and roundly and constantly embarras the government at every turn of the progress of the bill until faced with civil unrest they will withdraw it, alternatively they will ignore all protest and pass the bill under urgency and thus hammer their own stake through the heart of democracy and their taudry government.?