Labour and it’s allies are determined to introduce state funding of political parties.
Among the terms of reference for the expert panel to review electoral administration and political party funding are:
The review will examine the current system of election funding and the question of introducing a system of state funding of political parties in New Zealand, including:
- a review of international funding models;
- issues with the current system of funding elections and political parties;
- how any recommended changes to funding would impact on other Parliamentary funding;
- what level, if any, of state funding of political parties is appropriate;
- how any such funding should be allocated between political parties;
- what constraints, if any, there should be regarding what such funding for political parties could be spent on;
- whether such political party funding should incorporate, or be additional to funding for election programmes set out in Part 6 of the Broadcasting Act;
- the relationship between state funding levels and rules regarding private funding of political parties.
Annette King announced the panel members today. They are: Otago University associate law professor Andrew Geddis who will be chair; Professor Stephen Levine, head of Wellington University School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International relations; and Dr Jean Drage from Canterbury Unviersity’s poltical science department.
Ms King said that during the first stage of the review, the Panel will review the administration of the electoral system, including the structure of the electoral agencies.
“The second stage includes the establishment of a Citizens’ Forum to ensure public participation in the review process. This group will include citizens selected from each electorate in New Zealand. They will be tasked with examining the funding of elections and political parties.
“The Expert Panel will assist during the Citizens’ Forum learning phase, and will prepare background information on the issues the forum will consider. The work of the Citizens’ Forum and its report will inform the Expert Panel’s final recommendations to the Minister of Justice.”
Ms King said the Expert Panel and Citizens’ Forum will provide an independent, non-political perspective on the reform options. “The independent nature of the process should give the public confidence in the outcome. The two stages of the Review, including the Panel’s work and the public participation process, will be completed by the end of October 2009.”
I don’t know the panel members and make no comment on their abilities, but yet again Labour has failed to consult other parties about the appointments. Yet again they are taking a party partisan apporach to a constitutional matter which ought to have cross-party support.
And while it may have escaped Labour’s notice there is an election in less than two months which might bring a change of government.