16 Feb 2010

Political parties to declare all donations under new law

10:43 pm on 16 February 2010

The Government says its new electoral finance law will require all political parties to disclose the total amount of the donations they receive.

The legislation will retain a limit on what parties can spend, but the limit will rise each election in line with inflation.

The changes are part of a revamp of election finance rules which Justice Minister Simon Power expects will be in place by the time of next year's general election.

Mr Power says the law will also define more clearly what counts as election advertising. It will maintain the regulated campaign period to be the three months before polling day.

Opposition parties want to see a cap on how much lobby groups and other third parties can spend on political campaigns before an election.

The Green Party says if there is no cap on third party spending, the electoral system will be left wide open to groups with money trying to influence the election result.

The Labour Party also says having no spending cap risks the free-for-all on election spending seen in the United States.

Mr Power says there was no clear consensus on the issue during the consultation process, but he will listen to any recommendations from the select committee that will consider the legislation.

In another change, the relationship between the Electoral Act and Parliamentary Service legislation, which had been a key issue of concern in the 2005 election, will be clarified.