Politicians Move to Gag Debate During Election

Family First NZ is rejecting the amendments being made to the Electoral Finance Act saying they are a gag on non-political groups who wish to raise important issues during an election year.

“The politicians are effectively restricting non-political groups to $300,000 while they can spend millions of dollars and get free television advertising as well,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“It is highly unlikely that Family First and other third party groups would spend anything close to $300,000 – but people who vote have the same right to be heard as politicians. If politicians can spend taxpayer money to promote their ideas, why can’t third parties spend their own money to promote their ideas?”

“The ultimate principle here is that the ‘people’ have as much right to be heard in an election year as ‘politicians’.”

“The media have rightly been condemning of the proposed legislation with the NBR calling it mean-spirited, inhibiting of public debate and self-serving to the politicians. The Dominion Post says that voters are not stupid and can make their own judgment as to the worthiness of the message. And the NZ Herald said that the law would muzzle free speech.”

“This is not a triumph for democracy. It is an act of arrogance and paranoia on behalf of the politicians and shows utter contempt for voters who may be members or supporters of non-political groups who wish to highlight certain issues during an important election year,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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