Editorial: National missing its big chance

Editorial: National missing its big chanceOne disappointment from the parliamentary standoff over the Electoral Finance Bill is that the National Party, which in most respects is on the right side of the argument, has failed to see the wood for the trees. It has made some… [NZ Politics]

The NZ Herald Editorial makes clear some of the frustrations that I have about the way National has handled debate about the Electoral Finance Bill.

It is pleasing to see that the NZ Herald agrees with me that any restrictions no matter how badly Labour justifies them are just that restrictions. There shoulld be few if any restriction on free speech.

[quote]Surely, when the issues at stake are as profound as who is allowed to spend money and how much they can spend on public issues advocacy in the best part of an election year, National needed to put its own money where its mouth is. To offer the public a concession that, while potentially hampering itself, would also get to the heart of the most basic concern: the secrecy of some donors and advertisers. Where was National's grand amendment to this ill-conceived and anti-democratic law? It could have proposed a ban on all secret donations, eliminating trust payments like those from its clandestine Waitemata Trust million-dollar donor and making funding upfront and transparent to the public. Once that was done, any justification for restrictions on the actions of lobby groups and individuals is removed. The amendment would no doubt have failed; Labour and its allies are paranoid about phantom threats and intent on utu for the Brethren's interventions. But is it too much to ask that even one party put the public ahead of its own interests? Probably.[/quote]?

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