22 Nov 2010

Election spending limit recommended

6:18 pm on 22 November 2010

A select committee has recommended a limit of $300,000 on third-party spending on election campaigns and the forthcoming MMP referendum campaign.

The Electoral Legislation Committee issued reports on Monday on two bills - the first dealing with the rules concerning election financing, and the second on arrangements for the MMP referendum.

The bills are the Electoral (Finance Reform and Advance Voting) Amendment Bill and the Electoral Referendum Bill.

The committee says it received many submissions from people wanting an upper limit on campaign spending by third parties, and is recommending it be capped at $300,000.

It says third parties need to take part in the public debate, but big money interests should not have an undue influence.

The ACT Party opposes the limit, saying it will seriously hinder the ability of third parties to run meaningful campaigns.

The committee also recommends the threshold for disclosing the identity of those making donations to political parties should be increased from $10,000 to $15,000.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei opposed the threshold change, saying the threshold should be much lower so the public knows who is donating money to a political party.

Committee chairperson Amy Adams says the threshold would disclose bigger donations, but allow people to support the party of their choice without being named.