Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Electoral Finance Bill

Many have commented on this Bill and quite rightly have pointed out how flawed it is, how Labour need it to finance their elections because they are broke, how it stifles freedom of speech, the raiding of the public purse, etc.

I take a completely different approach to my objection. Essentially I believe that in no way, manner or form should public money, that is money we are compelled to pay through our taxes, the amount which is determined by the government of the day, fund any politician's election campaign.

If you really think about it, the EFB allows a government to ensure that they will always have enough money in the public bank to fund their campaign. A very flamboyant government might decide that they would like to run an American style campaign and spend billions on marketing themselves at your expense - and then make, no force, you pay for it.

This is not so far fetched. Labour have overtaxed us for 8 years and have billions available. They have already started to get verious ministries to produce plans to promote the 'successes' they have had with their policies, eg health and cheaper GP visits, working for families, etc. This is essentially campaining, but because there will be a parliamentary crest on the adverts, it will be legal for them to do it.

My second objection to the EFB is that politicians are applicants for the job of being a parliamentarian, for being the people who work for us to run our country. In the real world, in the commercial world, an applicant for a job, especially such a high paying job with such prestige, must get themselves trained at their own expense, make themselves presentable at their own expense and compete with others who have to do the same. In other words they have to fund their own campaign to get the job. So why should politicians be any different?

If they claim to represent a group, or a group wants to represented by a person, then that group should pay the costs of getting that person the job of representing them.

The argument that all groups should have an equal opportunity to be represented is fine, so if the group of like minded people is large enough, then very little money needs to be spent to ensure that they will have enough votes to get their representative elected. If wealthier groups have more money to try and attract others to their group so that they can have greater representation, so be it.

I also believe that a country is a bit like a company and we are all shareholders in that company. When there is such a huge difference in what some people pay for their shares (ie more tax), they should be awarded more shares in the company - after all it is their money that is being used to run the country. So maybe richer groups should have a greater say in how their taxes are spent.

Was Democracy ever meant to be mass rule? If so, then there will always be a majority of the less the wealthy dictating to the the wealth producers. This means that under a democratic system, the people who fund a government will always be under represented.

Is this fair? As a person who pays the taxes I would say not.

So what am I to do? If I use the analogy of staying in a hotel to represent what I can do, then it is quite simple. If the hotel is very expensive and does not provide the service that I would expect for paying so much, I can move to another hotel that promises more for less. And 3000 Kiwi's are doing just that every month and moving permanantly to Australia.

What will happen to New Zealand? The rich will leave and be replaced by people who are happy to live in a workers paradise because it is just so much better than where they came from - but it will always be the workers that stay on as the succesful entrepeneurs, in time, will be looking for better hotels - and the rich who foot the bills will always want to leave.

So, to come back to my original argument. The rich deserve to be represented and possibly in an unfair manner (to some). So if their money buys a few more votes, well they can pay for it themselves and they should have more say in how their taxes are spent as they pay the bulk of the money into the public purse. And the masses - they will always have adequate representation through having a sheer majority of numbers.

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