Tag Archive: Andrew Little

Terrible bill, terrible delivery

Today, justice minister Andrew Little “banned” foreign political donations.

Everything about this is awful.

First, the “ban”. The bill is advertised as a blanket ban on all foreign donations when it literally isn’t. Rather, foreign donors have a cap of $50 dollars compared to the previous threshold of $1500. Last time I checked that isn’t a ban.

Because anonymous donations up to $1500 are allowed, the onus is on party secretaries to make sure that a donation over 50 dollars is not from any one foreign. As such, someone foreign could anonymously give $1499 dollars to a party. As long as the secretary has no reason to suspect that the donation comes from anyone foreign, it’s fine.

There’s also nothing to stop foreigners from donating to organizations such as the NZ First Foundation, which can then promptly loan the party that money without the scrutiny of donations.

If that isn’t enough, companies that are NZ registered but foreign-owned will still be allowed to donate to political parties. So this bill does nothing to stop foreign money from getting into NZ Politics.

All of that’s without mentioning the true problem with political donations – big companies practically buying parties. But the bill does not address that.

That’s four (maybe five) paragraphs briefly detailing the flaws with this law. All of these could be fixed had the bill gone through proper process – being edited first by a select committee, and then by a committee of the whole house.

But Little and Labour decided to pass this law under urgency, meaning that it has to be passed, consulted and edited in a singular day.

This is unacceptable. Laws should only be passed under urgency during, ya know, urgencies.

But for something as important as electoral law there needs to be a lot of review. This is something that has to be gotten right regardless of the amount of time it takes.

But no. Little and Labour went for the flashy headline that solves nothing, whilst abusing democratic process to try and hide the lack of fixes.


Cynicism and the Maori roll

The Electoral Commission is suggesting that Māori should be able to freely move about between the Māori and general rolls. 

Currently, Māori can only choose whether to go on the general or Māori roll once every five years.

The Electoral Commission is suggesting to give Māori the choice of moving between the roles at pretty much any time.

Justice minster Andrew Little will get to choose whether or not to introduce a bill like this to house, and as it will be a government bill, if it is introduced, then it will almost certainly pass.

I feel like which way Little will lean on the issue depends on how cynical he is about the issue.

On one hand, you could argue that five years is far too long, and people’s minds change all the time, so it makes sense to go with the Electoral Commission’s proposal.

One the other hand, if you want to head to the cynical side, you could argue that the system would become ripe for abuse – for example, Māori voters in Northcote might switch to the general roll for the by-election, but then switch back to the Māori roll for the general election.

Sticky situation.