11 Aug 2008

Opposition to citizens' group on election funding

8:23 am on 11 August 2008

Plans for a citizens' assembly on the Electoral Finance appear in doubt with a number of political parties opposed to the idea.

In exchange for its support for the legislation last year, the Green Party demanded the establishment of the assembly, to look into the wider issue of election funding.

An expert panel on election finance is due to be announced shortly, to set the terms of reference for the assembly.

However the National Party, which has already said it would repeal the Electoral Finance Act, plans to scrap the idea of a citizens' assembly if wins this year's election.

Deputy leader Bill English says National would consult other parties before embarking on any reforms, but would not continue with the citizens assembly.

The United Future and Maori Party agree the Act needs to be re-written, but say any assembly comes too late to make any real changes.

The Greens say ordinary citizens should have a say in the design of New Zealand's electoral system.