Despite the predictable criticism from the left that the NZ Herald has a right-wing bias (or "Tory rag" as Jill Pettis loudly and repeatedly interjected in the House last week, reminding Whanganui voters why they made a wise decision in rejecting her in 2005), condemnation of the Electoral Finance Bill continues.
John Roughan writes a weekly opinion piece, which is seldom right-leaning. However he joins the chorus of concerned media with his column at the weekend. Here's the link:
He quotes Helen Clark, the counters her rationale:
""The National Party benefits enormously from big money in New Zealand politics," she said on Monday in response to the Herald's front page editorial on Monday.
No doubt National does benefit more than others but it has not won an election for a while. Money is not magic; it is only as effective as the popular resonance of the message and the credibility of the messenger and it has an in-built limit. To spend too much, conspicuously or anonymously, is counter-productive.
Money, Labour forgets, is not the only political advantage. Left-leaning governments enjoy a much easier ride from interest groups in the state sector, authoritative academics and generally from the media."
And indeed, the Labour government has enjoyed, generally speaking, an armchair ride from the MSM throughout its term of government - until November 2007, where the worm has turned!
He also debunks the Brethren connection:
"But the last election was too close for her comfort and she blames seven rich, religious, moral conservatives. Three of her demons in each one.
She means to prevent it happening again. The Electoral Finance Bill is the Exclusive Brethren bill.
As usual when governments legislate with a vengeance, the cure threatens to be much worse than the disease."
The cure is worse than the disease - could there be any more accurate criticism of the EFB?