from Ross Muir

The review, announced by Minister Kris Fafoi will consider, among other things, taxpayer funding for political parties.

We (Taxpayers union – to which I belong) will be fighting this for four key reasons:

Morally wrong: Taxpayers should not be forced to fund political parties that they find reprehensible. We expect our money to be spent on services, not party political propaganda.

Corrupted process: Kris Faafoi says he will be reaching out to political parties for ideas on this review. But elected political parties – the very same ones who will vote on this reform – have a vested interest in cementing their place in Parliament and maximising their revenue. Of course politicians on the left and right will jump at the chance of getting taxpayer money, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Entrenches power: Elected political parties already have a massive advantage over political outsiders thanks to their Parliamentary funding. Giving money to the private wings of these parties will only serve to further disadvantage outside voices during elections.

Erodes grassroots democracy: If political parties are given taxpayer money, they will be less dependent on membership dues and cake stall fundraisers, reducing the incentive to act according to their members’ values. That’s a disaster for democracy. Guaranteed taxpayer funding for political parties will result in a less accountable, Wellington-centric political environment. 

This is a two-edged sword, and there are fish hooks on both sides.

The ideal would be to decree that all media must give equal coverage (uncensored) to all parties that can muster a certain number of followers (high enough to eliminate the cranks).

NOT proportional on their membership or seats held, but equal.  This means that parties such as New Conservative get exactly the same coverage as National or Labour.

If this was the case, then the taxpayer could justifiably foot the bill for it, for it would give a better chance of obtaining a government less affected by the media bias.

The media would not dare tell the barefaced lies they do at the moment, for they would be exposed by the uncensored rebuttals – with proof — by the genuine parties that deal in facts and so the media would lose credence (viewers, readers = advertisers, income).

The media may bleat about ‘freedom of the press’, but it would not take much legal skill in a courtroom to ditch that — and the party policies would be paid adverts under the proviso that they do not necessarily state the views of the publisher/producer.

That would be heaven, but I bet that no party would have the guts to enact it.