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Big majority for repeal of Electoral Finance Act

Parliament has voted 112-9 to repeal the Electoral Finance Act and, with the exception of the Greens, MPs seemed relieved to be rid of it.

National detested the legislation when it was introduced by the previous government in late 2007 and vowed to repeal it.

When the Electoral Amendment Bill passed its final stages under urgency tonight, it fulfilled its campaign promise.

Justice Minister Simon Power said during debate on the bill that all parties in Parliament had agreed to take part in consultations to draft replacement electoral law.

Until that happens, the 1993 Electoral Act will be in force with clauses of the EFA dealing with donation disclosure inserted.

The EFA was drafted in response to the initially covert campaign against Labour and the Greens run by the Exclusive Brethren in the 2005 election but its wide provisions caused controversy and outrage.

It forced disclosure of electioneering by third parties -- organisations which are not political parties -- and put a cap on the amount they could spend.

It also tightened the rules on donations to parties and brought in new rules for election advertising.

It was the vague definitions of election advertising that caused most of the problems, and most of the parties ran into problems during last year's election campaign.

The Electoral Commission had difficulty enforcing its provisions and criticised the grey areas in it.

Labour MP David Parker acknowledged the Government had a mandate to repeal the EFA and opposition MPs did not go out of their way to defend it.

The Greens were the only party that voted against the bill. Co-leader Russel Norman said his party voted for it in 2007 because it supported its principles and was not going to run away from it now.

He argued it should stay in place until new laws were drafted.

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Comments and questions
3

Such stupidity on the part of Russel Norman just proves that The Greens are too 'green' and that will always hold them back.
They have no idea on running a business and the associated costs, nor how to ensure that red tape does not stifle the same

This maybe the first step for the Greens on their way to insignificance

NZ with National in power has become one of the most outrageous of the right wing-nuts of the developed world. Britain, Canada and other such nations have laws almost identical to the Electoral Finance Act yet mange to be functioning democracies...one might say more functioning than NZ. Now we can safely return to the best democracy money can buy.