The Family Party and the Alliance are currently contesting the broadcasting allocations for the election. There has been some discussion of this on Kiwiblog, where David Farrar has rightly pointed out that minor parties already receive a higher allocation per voter than the major parties, according to current polls.
The problem is not that the Family Party wants more free money, as some have suggested. The problem is that you cannot spend more money on broadcasting than your broadcasting allocation, to quote the Elections website:
Registered parties may only use funds allocated by the Electoral Commission to advertise for the party vote, together with any free time allocated for party opening addresses and closing addresses.
This means that the Family Party allocation of $10,000 is also the limit as to what we can spend on broadcast advertising, which is a major impediment in campaigning. By comparison:
- Act, Progressive and United Future can spend $100,000 each
- Green, Maori and NZ First can spend $250,000 each
- National and Labour can spend $1,000,000 each
All of which is paid for by the taxpayer. As you can see this places the Family Party at a major disadvantage to, for example, Progressive, even though we are polling higher than them. And National and Labour’s massive allocations will ensure they have a much better chance of doing well this election than anyone else, regardless of whether their policies are any good. Each of these two parties has a similar allocation to that of EVERY minor party put together.
In a completely fair system no party would receive state funding, and there would be no limit on spending. This would put all parties on a level playing field, rather than subsidising the incumbents. However we must work within the system we have, and so we must seek a higher allocation if we wish to spend more on broadcasting.
Hopefully the judge can see the logic in this position and will favourably consider our application for more funding, comparable to those parties we are currently polling at a similar level to (Progressive, Act and United Future).