Fast-tracked donations law an attempt to distract from bad news

Tue, 03 Dec, 2019

“By forcing Parliament into urgency today to consider the law around donations, the Government is attempting to distract from bad news and is setting a dangerous precedent”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government’s intentions here are entirely political.

“This legislation will make little difference. Large foreign donations are already banned, with a limit of $1500.

“Aside from National, no political party in Parliament has received any overseas donations of more than $1,500. In 2017, National received $53,975 in overseas donations. It was allowed to keep $3,000 and the rest was refunded.

“The Government needs to explain how will this law be enforced. If a political party receives hundreds of small donations, is it then required to verify that none of these came from an overseas person?

“The Justice Minister says that interference campaigns in the elections of other countries are increasing in their sophistication. This is all the more reason for Parliament to take its time and get the law right.

“Also puzzling is why the Government has not waited for the Justice Committee’s recommendations on this issue.

“In reality, this move is designed to draw attention towards the SFO investigation into National’s donations issue and away from the NZ First Foundation’s donations scandal, a damaging privacy breach, and a bad poll.

“Only a day after a privacy breach that resulted from rushed gun laws, the Government is once again attempting to fast-track legislation through Parliament. Clearly it hasn’t learned its lesson. There is simply no need for urgency on this matter.

“Electoral law should be decided soberly and with broad parliamentary consensus. The Government is today setting a terrible precedent by fast-tracking this legislation through Parliament.

“Ironically, the Government’s use of urgency in the name of protecting democracy for New Zealanders means that New Zealanders will not get a say in the development of this law.

“These important matters must be given proper consideration by MPs through a proper parliamentary process.”