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Wednesday, September 30

Keep New Zealand politics honest-Green says

The Green Party is calling for fair electoral finance rules that provide a level playing field for New Zealand’s democracy to be set up under the Government’s proposed reforms.

"It is vital that New Zealand’s democracy cannot be bought by big business. An election should be a battle of ideas, not a battle of who has the most money. We are not convinced that National’s proposals will provide a level playing field for our democracy," Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said today.

Yesterday, the National Government released a proposal paper for a new electoral finance regime. It has asked for submissions by October 30."One of our key concerns is that National's proposals will not stop political parties secretly giving money to third parties to run campaigns," said Mrs Turei.

In the 2005 election, the Exclusive Brethren ran a secret $1 million dollar campaign against the Green Party.

"Another problem is that donations to political parties under $10,000 can be kept secret - the public has a right to know who is giving their MPs money.

"We are also concerned about the proposal to allow anyone to run electoral ads on TV and radio, as this would lead to the airways being saturated in electoral ads paid for by wealthy special interest groups," said Mrs Turei.

"We don’t want to end up like the US where negative campaign ads paid for by big business dominate the airways."

The Government’s proposals do not include the option of a fixed election date.

A fixed date would provide certainty for the public and political parties, said Mrs Turei, there is no good reason not to have one. The only reason not to fix the election date was to give an advantage to the Government of the day.

"New Zealand deserves a fair and honest electoral system. The Government needs to do the right thing and make sure we get one," said Mrs Turei.