Monday, August 25, 2008

Electoral Finance Act continues to stiffle free speech

The failure of the Electoral Finance Act is highlighted once again. The Electoral Commission are not even able to give clear advice on how to exercise the law in the example below-even the best lawyers are confused.

The Act was passed into law late in 2007 and came into effect on Jan 1 2008. It was rushed through with multiple amendments. Even the Minister responsible for it, Annette King, doesn't understand how it works.

It was passed anyway, to stop dissenting opinion against an incumbent Government, in this case the Labour Government.

An Act well engineered to be in place in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, simply because it is anti democratic and anti free speech.

By SUSAN PEPPERELL - Sunday Star Times Sunday, 24 August 2008

Lobby group the Sensible Sentencing Trust is planning to defy the Electoral Finance Act in the lead-up to the general election.

The group has decided on its course of action after receiving conflicting legal advice over whether material it intends to distribute during the election campaign contravenes the act.

Its decision highlights a common problem facing similar groups pre-election and one which has forced Family First to abandon a pamphlet drop to all households outlining the voting record of MPs on what it identifies as "important family-based legislation" such as civil unions, anti-smacking and prostitution law reform.

The groups say the act which limits advertising spending by non-political parties soliciting votes for or against a party unless they register as a third party is anti-democratic and stifling public debate.


Related Political Animal reading

Electoral Finance Act March Mar 9, 2008
Electoral Finance Bill Vote
NZ losses democratic freedom
Mike Moore turns the knife
List of MPs who voted for Act
Cartoon and comment
Auckland Protest against EFBT
The purpose of the Bill is clear

c Political Animal 2008

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