Power offers tradeoff

BY COLIN ESPINER
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2010

Relevant offers

Politics

Helen Clark continues to lag in new straw poll on next United Nations chief No show from Education Minister at school union conference PM Key looking to underdog Trump to beat expectations in first debate with Clinton BMW and Charge Net to create 'electric highway' in NZ by 2018 My open letter to MP Louise Upston about dangerous dogs Neil Quigley replaces Rod Carr as chairman of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Singapore Airlines subsidy 'raises issues about CEO performance' - councillor John Key promotes Helen Clark. Andrew Little distances himself from her views. Say what? Student loan defaulters break $1b mark National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi compares international students to 'faulty fridges'

The Government is offering to change controversial proposals to drop limits on lobby-group spending during election campaigns.

Justice Minister Simon Power has proposed removing most controls on parallel campaigns by lobby groups during elections, while retaining restrictions on political parties.

Power confirmed in Parliament yesterday that under legislation being drafted to replace the repealed Electoral Finance Act, parallel campaigners would not face restrictions on spending or what they said during campaigns.

Power said the requirement that lobbyists register with the Electoral Commission if they spent more than $12,000 would ensure the system was open and transparent.

However, after an outcry from Labour and the Greens, Power said he was prepared to revisit the proposal if a select committee could agree on a suitable alternative.

He also announced that lobbyists running supportive campaigns for a party would have to seek the party's consent, and they would count towards that party's spending limit.

Earlier, his office had insisted that positive campaigning would not count towards party spending limits.

Labour has agreed to vote for Power's bill as far as a select committee. However, justice spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said she had grave concerns about the removal of spending restrictions on parallel campaigns.

She said she feared parties could be allowed to give money to lobbyists to run campaigns on their behalf and avoid their spending cap.

Dalziel said it was also essential that parallel campaigners be forced to disclose how much money they spent.

She said Labour was open to increasing the $120,000 limit on parallel campaigns as long as there was a cap.

In Parliament, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei quoted the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform, which said in 1986 that limiting spending by political parties but not third-party interests was "illogical" and unfair.

Turei said there was nothing in the Government's proposals that would prevent a political party from giving money to a lobbyist to run a supportive and uncapped campaign.

Ad Feedback

- The Press

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content