The Herald editorial approves of the electoral Commission decision to allow unions to register as third parties under the Electoral FInance Act.
The decision, arrived at after seven months of legal wrangling directly involving the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, means the union can spend up to $120,000 on election advertising for or against a party. That is as it should be. The EPMU should be able to have its say, as should any organisation – business association, union or religious faction – from any part of the political spectrum.
Of course they should but the EFA severely constrains the ability of many gorups and individuals to have a say.
The Electoral Commission has undoubtedly exercised a liberal interpretation of the Electoral Finance Act. In reality, it had little choice if it was to deliver even a vague functionality to electoral proceedings, so inherent are the legislation’s absurdities.
It’s the EFA’s job to administer the law in spite of its flaws, not to make liberal interpretations because of them. The EPMU is affiliated to Labour and its general secretary sits on the party’s ruling council – that seems like involvement in the party’s workings to me and the EFA stipulates those involved in a party can’t register as third parties.
Meanwhile more EFA absurdities were illustrated at the weekend. All presentations at the National Party conference were authorised – even the of John Key shown before his speeech yesterday.
But when we walked out of the town hall we were greeted by a handful of protestors with banners which weren’t authorised.
What irony – National which opposed the law abides by it, Labour which introduced it and rammed it through parliament ignores it.