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Spending caps a victory for democracy

Metiria Turei MP
Metiria Turei MP
metiria [dot] turei [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

The addition of spending caps to the electoral finance and the MMP referendum bills is a victory for common sense and democracy, the Green Party said today.

Spending caps of $300,000 have been recommended for third party campaigners and for MMP campaigners in the Select Committee reports for the Electoral (Finance Reform and Advanced Voting) Amendment bill and the Electoral Referendum bill.

"We have campaigned long and hard for these spending caps to ensure that New Zealand politics are kept honest. It is great to see that National have seen sense and agreed to change these bills," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

"We have always argued that it is vital that New Zealand's democracy is not for sale. An election and referendum should be a battle of ideas, not a battle of who has the most money.

"Spending caps for third parties and MMP campaigners are fair - they help provide a level playing field for our democracy.

"While the electoral finance legislation is not perfect, it is great to see that there is broad political consensus across New Zealand's political parties about the proposals for governing electoral finance and the MMP referendum. The Green Party will be supporting these bills," added Mrs Turei.

Not all the Select Committee recommendations have been welcomed by the Green Party. The donation disclosure thresholds have been increased for candidate donations from $1000 to $1500, and for party donations from $10,000 to $15,000.

"The Green Party is deeply concerned about the increase in disclosure thresholds for donations. This effectively means it will be easier for parties to hide where they get their money from," said Mrs Turei.

"Raising the disclosure thresholds does not promote transparency or honest politics and could potentially lead to corruption.

"The current level of $10,000 is too high and this can be seen in the fact that the other parties often report having no donations over this amount. We believe the threshold should be $1000 for donations to political parties.

"The Green Party will be introducing an SOP to amend the disclosure thresholds in this Bill, and, in the interests of transparency, we hope the other parties will support it," said Mrs Turei.

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