The Pinacle of Hypocrisy

The level of hypocrisy, corruption, and dishonesty we see from this Labour led government today is without precedent in our countries history, but in the Anti-Free Speech Bill it reaches new heights. In recent months Labour has criticised National heavily over its acceptance of large anonymous donations (never mind that Labour did the same thing, and the anonymopus donors paid for anonymous donations out of their own pocket, not the taxpayers pocket like Labour did for its pledge card).  Now the Anti-Free Speech Bill Electoral Finance Bill keeps these anonymous donations legal. David Farrar suggested that this was due to poor political management and failure to get the numbers required. I predicted (see comment 4 here that the real reason was Labour relised the impact banning anonymous donations would have on their own funding so decided to drop it. It turns out I was right. The hypocrisy is almost unbelievable. This presents National with a golden opportunity to attack Labour by proposing an ammendment in the committee stage banning anonymous donations channeled through trust funds, and watch Labour vote it down.

There is significent merit in banning anonymous donations above $10 000, by requiring money channeled through trusts to be be given to the electoral commision if the source of the trust money is not disclosed (as the Bill requires in the case of trust donations to third parties), namely that it allows the public to see who is funding parties and prevents corruption, but I oppose any limit to reduce the $10 000 limit on anonymous donations that aren’t channeled through trusts, largely because of a right to privacy, the fact that $10 000 does not buy any real influence in a party as its only a fraction of what parties spend in an election, and the fact that if you are a public servant you may loose your job if Labour wins and you are caught giving money to National. What is extremely hypocritical is the way the explanatory note of the Bill (see page 3) claims onr of the purposes of the Bill is to “prevent the undue influence of wealth” and “provide transperancy and accountability to minimise the perception of corruption”, both being aims that would be served by banning anonymous donations.

But the hypocrisy does not end there. The Bill contains a ban on anonymous donations over only $500 to third parties, including those channeled through trust funds. This means that if a person was to have $1 000 501 and wanted to spend thast money by putting it in a trust fund, with the trust to give $1 000 000 to the National Party to hand out pamphlets criticising Labour, and $501 to the exclusive brethren to hand out pamphlets criticising Labour, the $1 000 000 given to National could remain secret, but the $501 given to the exclusive brethren would be public for everyone to know about. Also, while third parties are banned from spending more than a paltry $60 000 in 11 months (enough for only 4 full page newspaper adds in major newspapers) criticising the government, the government can spend as much as it wants in working for families adds, and other “public information” campiagns to assisit in Labour’s re-election (which is the real purpose of the Bill).

Finally, amongst the other purposes of the Bill, according to its explanatory note are to “reflect our unique political culture and enviroment” (which it wil certainly do, we have a political culture that is very unique outside of Zimbabwe and North Korea, charactised by corruption, a ruling party that is above the law, and changes the law for its own partisan purposes, and now the suppression of free speech at election time, which will be well reflected in this bill), “prevent the undue influence of wealth” (while doing nothing to restrict the undue influemce of the governments vote Labour information campaigns on issues like Kiwisaver and working for families), “mantain public and political confidence … in elections” (by a partisan rewrite of election laws designed to benefit one political party (Labour) and muzzle criticism of the government) and most hypocritically “promote participation in parliamentary democracy” by banning people from spending more than $60 000 in an election year on free speech criticisng the government.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Anti-Free Speech Bill, attack on Democracy, Corruption, Free Speech

One Comment on “The Pinacle of Hypocrisy”


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