In my submission to the Commission I was in favor of no threshold – I think it’s too paternalistic. Why should parties receiving votes from tens of thousands of people be denied entry to Parliament because they fail to meet some arbitrary, political-elite imposed requirement?
But I have been wondering what impact such a low threshold would have on the lobbying culture in New Zealand. Could vested interests simply fund their own single-issue parties? Would, say, the multi-national pharmaceutical companies found the ‘HealthCare New Zealand’ party and put one of their PR guys into Parliament, who would provide confidence and supply in exchange for abolishing Pharmac? Would that be worth a couple hundred grand every three years?
On the other hand, would it be such a bad thing if vested interests had a direct – but more open – role in government, as opposed to the far more opaque arrangement we currently have?