Sunday, September 28, 2008

National electoral law policy holds glimmers of hope

National has released its electoral law policy which does distinguish it from Labour in a handful of ways, although is also a backtrack from 2005 - again.

First, its press release said it would abolish the Maori seats once the historic Treaty claims are settled, which it anticipates being 2014. However the policy statement (PDF) says "start the constitutional process to wind up the Maori seats". That's not doing much. Better than nothing, but not much more. A future confidence and supply agreement with the Maori Party may be why this policy isn't much more, but why give away so much BEFORE negotiations?

Second, it wants a binding referendum on retaining MMP in 2011. Now I don't care either way for this, but interesting how this is more important than doing away with the racially defined Maori seats.

Finally it will repeal the Electoral Finance Act, reverting to the previous Electoral Act 1993 in the interim, before further reform before 2011. The repeal should be celebrated, and is perhaps the biggest reason to vote National in itself, but what comes next remains vague.

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