Electoral finance reform package announced - RePress


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Wednesday, February 17

Electoral finance reform package announced

The Government has today announced its reform package for electoral finance laws.

Justice Minister Simon Power says the decisions are the result of a thorough process.

"The package comes after extended consultation with all parliamentary parties and the public.

"As a result, Cabinet has decided to progress reforms only where there is broad public and political support.

"If we are to have a system which is fair, workable, enduring, and in place before the 2011 election, broad consensus is essential."

The reform package includes proposals to:

Require disclosure of the total amount of donations that parties receive in bands.

Increase the amount of money that parties and candidates can spend on election campaigning at the rate of inflation for each general election.

Require people who spend more than $12,000 on parallel campaigning to register with the Electoral Commission. The register will be publicly available to ensure openness and transparency concerning the identities of parallel campaigners.

Bring more certainty to what counts as 'election advertising' by modernising the definition and requiring the Electoral Commission to issue guidance and advisory opinions about election advertisements.

Clarify the relationship between the Electoral Act 1993 and Parliamentary Service legislation.

Maintain the regulated campaign period to be three months before polling day.

"There will be no change to the broadcasting regime that has existed since 1990, and similarly, as was the case before the 2008 election, we will not impose expenditure limits on parallel campaigners. New Zealanders were strongly divided on these issues.

"We will introduce legislation in the coming months implementing these decisions. We expect the new rules to be in place before the 2011 general election.

"I welcome public debate on these issues to ensure the package will provide an enduring solution to the widespread concerns which led to the initial reform of electoral finance laws following the 2005 election."

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