Thursday, December 06, 2007

Razing the Standard

Copied in full from Zentiger over at NZ Conservative. Very good precis of where the EFB is at.

Insolent Prick (IP) says it like it is. The poor guys at The Standard have no meaningful comeback to IP's extensive, well reasoned and referenced commentary. Then Peter Cresswell (PC) steps in to pick them apart on another issue. Sometimes, both sides make good points on a long debate. In this case, it is all one way traffic.

I could have called this post "A Hanging Offence" but I think I prefer "Razing the Standard". Here's a snippet from the thread, one of many comments by IP:
I didn’t spend five years at law school, and a pretty decent chunk of my career interpreting law, to come to the view that a political party that:

a: rejects a public consultation process on a fundamental constitutional change
b: rams it through the House ignoring the overwhelming majority of submitters
c: rejects the key recommendations of the expert officials
d: has the Law Society and the HRC saying the Bill is irretrievably bad that it needs to be dumped
e: suppresses the official advice from public scrutiny
f: has the Law Commission opt out of advising it
g: then reports back to the House with a Bill that is still so flawed that it needs 150 amendments in a supplementary order paper
h: STILL has the organisation implementing the law not understanding its core functions;

“not a hanging offence”. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is. With all due respect to you, Roger, you are by no means an authority on electoral law. You have no concept of what the outcome is right now, other than that the Labour Party assures you it is a good outcome. The Party has been assuring everybody, at every turn, that it has got it right. At every turn, subsequent scrambling efforts by the Labour Party to fix its many flaws, have resulted in the Labour Party finally saying it has got it right.

When, as the Bill is being voted on through the Committee stage, the Minister of Justice says she can give no advice to the Electoral Commission on how to interpret the ambiguous Clause 80, you cannot possibly have faith in the Bill’s outcome.

There isn’t time to fix it, Roger. We have just a few sitting days left before the end of the year, and the Bill comes into force on 1 January.

It’s all very well to claim rhetorically that that National would never have worked constructively with the Labour Party to get cross-party support on the financing regime. But that is patently untrue, Roger. National made a commitment, long before the Bill was introduced in the House, to work constructively with the Government to place reasonable restrictions on third party expenditure, clarify the use of parliamentary services expenditure in an election campaign, clamp down on excessive anonymous donations, and clamp down on donations from trusts.

Instead of consulting with National, Mark Burton hatched a secret deal with the NZ First and United Future parties. Labour has no official advice advocating the extended election period, has no expert advice on the amounts it is advocating on the third party regime, places no restrictions on donations from trusts, only introduced limits on anonymous donations that coincidentally coincide with Labour’s own anonymous donation fund raising levels from 2005, and leaves the use of parliamentary expenditure in campaigns ambiguous.

Now, Roger, even if Labour had totally ignored the National Party, and gone to the country with an independent group of experts to consult with the public and come up with a policy regime that shares all of the restrictions that we have in the present Bill, I wouldn’t have a problem. At least the process would have been transparent and fair.

But we never had that, Roger. We have a governing party that has written electoral law with its own interests in mind, using a flawed process. Yes, absolutely, that is a hanging offence.

1 comment:

ZenTiger said...

Well, the credit is all Insolent Prick's. He had a few good comments in that thread that I lifted this from.