EFA Will Go But Not Soon Enough

If the answer results in confusion, more red tape and the potential for litigation, you’ve asked the wrong question and that’s what Labour and its allies did with the Electoral Finance Act.

 Instead of asking how to improve our electoral law, they tried to handicap National and in doing trampled over the freedom of speech of individuals and groups. The only good thing about it is that in the process they’ve hamstrung themselves.

The Herald  editorial and John Armstrong detail some of the Act’s many shortcomings and note that regardless of who wins the election the Act will not survive. That is cold comfort for those who find their freedom of speech is badly constrained.

The shortcomings aren’t helped by the uncertainty over interpretation of the Act, much of which won’t be cleared up until after the election. I liken it to playing a game knowing the referree won’t tell you the rules until after the final whistle is blown; and a friend who is a lawyer reckons it’s more like being handed a noose to put round your neck and being told to jump without knowing how long the rope is.

 

3 Responses to EFA Will Go But Not Soon Enough

  1. truthseekernz says:

    I can readily understand the issues and restrictions on political parties and candidates, but the EFA doesn’t really hinder anyone else from spending millions on “freedom to AMPLIFY” speech.

    I called the Electoral Commission a couple of weeks ago and asked what I could or could not do. I’m not an office holder in any political party and and I’m not a candidate. So provided I identify who I am and provide my address. my “position statement can make reference to any party or candidate or attribute any policy to them (for or against), I can say whatever I want. I could take a full page ad in evry daily in the country telling people what I think and why on any subject I wanted to spend money freely speaking on – including the EFA.

    If you think that through, it means a person or group can spend a mountain of money promoting an idea, values, policy approach(es) or issue(s) as part of free public debate.

    I’m amazed that people don’t see the possibilities in this. It throws the gates wide open…..to everyone but political parties and candidates.

    Many people are concerned about the secret millions channeled throgh the National Party’s trust accounts. Evidence of policy for sale in the past (ACC vs insurance industry – 2005) gives reason for those concerns.

    I read the Exclusive Brethren pamphlets last election. They were either lying or misleading and there was effectively NO accountability.

    The present EFA may be causing politicians heartburn, but for anyone else, they don’t stop free expression of views on any issue.

    The other major exemption to the EFA is media. I call it the “foreign billionaire” exemption. All you have to do is own a newspaper – or chain of them – and you can pump up the party you like and trash the ones you don’t, all day, every day, with impunity.

    At present, the commercial media are almost exclusively owned by foreign billionaires.

  2. truthseekernz says:

    Ooops…I left out a “not”. I can NOT make reference to any party or candidate or their positions. What I can do is state my own positions – on whatever I like for as much as I care to spend.

  3. inventory2 says:

    Truthseeker – what was factually incorrect with the EB anti-Green pamphlets? I have yet to read a compelling “debunking” of the issues raised. Admit it – the government, supported by the Greens, NZ First and Jim made a total mess of this legislation.. It was conceived in haste, and rushed through Parliament with even more haste. Various organisations as diverse as the Human Rights Commission and the NZ Law Society made submissions calling for the Bill to be redrafted – of course, the government knew better, hence the mess we have today.

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