Electoral Law Review: Why we should publicly fund elections


Seeing as we are seriously going to do this Electoral Law Review, let’s argue it out.

I say we should publicly fund elections!

With so much swirling around donations to political parties, isn’t it time to consider publicly funding our political parties? If we want to remove the influence of big money from politics, remove the need for politicians to have to flirt for those donations in the first place.

Law God Andrew Geddis put forward the argument for publicly funded election campaigns for Political Parties in his 2007 public policy essay

The third set of responses can be termed public assistance measures. They complement the egalitarian objective of the previous two forms of regulation by replacing the role that private (and thus unequally distributed) sources of wealth can play in the electoral process with a ‘clean’ source of funding – the general taxpayer. Further, such measures may be designed to provide funding to parties or candidates which otherwise would struggle to raise private funds, thereby enabling a greater range of voices to participate at the election. A variety of different forms of public assistance measures are available: direct payments to electoral participants on a ‘dollar-per-votes’ basis; post-election refunds of the expenses incurred in campaigning; matching donations for small, individual donations; tax credits to compensate small donors for their gift; the provision of broadcasting time or other campaign benefits to qualifying contestants.

…publicly funding political party election campaigns would remove all money influence from the political decision making process.

Based on the current spending caps we are talking about a $20million cost per election to remove big money from NZ politics.

It’s time to seriously discuss publicly funding election campaigns.

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  1. They (MPs) are in the top 1% in terms of income in NZ according to a Government review, with Jacinda from announcements, taking home the 4th highest salary in the OECD.
    This review is more about extending their income package for an extra year, than public service…based on their performance (lack of)…

    To publicly fund this circus anymore is looking for trouble with the voters. All political parties would hire campaign managers at $100,000+, with an army of helpers at $50,000 each (let’s say 20 to 30 helpers per party at $50k each)…and what do the voting public get in return?…Nothing…

  2. No.

    If we have a one-party system like … I said here, “Only if we can have a one-party system.
    Elect MP’s by region. No colours. Just debate the policy up or down.
    So that the policies, good policies survive longer than the MP’s.

    And then there’s probably no need for list MP’s too.”

    Then we will have no need for political partys. Then each candidate stands for policy only and their ability to ‘deliver’ within that system or not. If not then we can dump them without the baggage of the party apparatus trying to screw the scrum for the party! Get rid of the tribal mentality by getting rid of party politics!

    Then we ‘could’ look at having an upper house. With a term limit of 2 or 3 terms in the upper house. I recks. Because our current system is no longer fit for purpose. Eg, the last 20 years!

    • I agree with you there Denny. Political parties destroy democracy they should be outlawed . If people were selected regionally from a population where a large percentage would know the candidates personally , and those elected ten went off to Wellington to work out with their contemporaries what to do to run the country without any pre ordained agenda a far more rational and effective government would result.
      i’m sure that the original Westminster system was like that in theory anyway; but over time it has been compromised by the growth og special interest lobby groups that have developed into political parties to the detriment of functional democracy. There winners and losers instead of representatives.
      D J S

  3. A combination of improved transparency – all donations from identified individuals – none from business or unions (and no other funding and no other fundraising) and matching funds (up to $100 per individual).

  4. I have no problem with your idea Martyn. So much money is pissed away by the state, may as well throw in 100million for the elections.

  5. The government is showing signs of losing their way with getting us out of covid . Most commentators seem to agree Jacinda has a shallow pool of talent to work out a pathway. Andrew Little is looking at Hospital reform then there is 3 Waters and Local Council reform then there is the Wetland changes that please nobody. These cahangs have been years waiting to be attended to and many of the changes sort are idlogical rather than cost saving .. Let us sort out covid know where we are heading and how much we need to pay back and keep the wheels turning

  6. Publicly funded yes. Find a system that doesn’t lead to graft.
    And Denny you must be simple if your think it could all be made simple.
    We can’t have a whole lot of individual sheepdogs barking at each other. They would have to coalesce along the lines of the required policies.
    I bet they wouldn’t sound as clear and intelligent as this tui – Woof Woof.I think RIP.

  7. On a side issue from public political party funding for elections.
    Why are the police and the Electoral Commission so lax when it comes to parties and candidates that violate electoral laws?
    Both party and individual candidate violations abound, but very seldom are there any prosecutions and the punishments in any case amount to a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.
    There also seem to be a number of loopholes in the laws, as exploited by Billy TK.
    There needs to be a much tougher stance by the EEC and the police on those trying to subvert the electoral system for their own ends.
    If this doesn’t happen our electoral system risks becoming as irrelevant and powerless as the Russian electoral commission.

  8. The funding is all public in the way it comes from someone’s pocket. Either business donations pay which means indirectly the customers pay and the owners of the business directly, or all tax payers pay. At the moment the wage earner doesn’t pay directly. Business would miss out trying to fund their party of choice to their advantage but end up paying nothing directly. If the public is happy that business doesn’t pay directly it would be a fairer way to do it. Wouldn’t it.


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