The country owes a debt of gratitude for rallying opposition to Labour’s heinous Electoral Finance Bill.
From the Sunday Star Times
John Boscawen is articulate, suave and so loaded that he has spent $140,000 and rising of his own money fighting the government’s Electoral Finance Bill.
And as the biggest individual bankroller of opposition to the hugely controversial bill, Boscawen is also being painted as a symbol of the right-wing, big-money forces that the government is trying to stop from buying the next election.
This weekend and tomorrow the multimillionaire is spending another $25,000-$30,000 on newspaper advertisements urging the public to bombard the leaders of Labour, the Greens, United Future and New Zealand First with emails and phone calls as the government and its allies prepare for their final push to get the bill passed this week.
Justice Minister Annette King said Boscawen had not been upfront about the fact he was a former “bagman for the Act party“.
“In some ways this reflects some of the campaigns we have seen in the past. Why wasn’t he honest enough to say `I’m John Boscawen and I’m an Act supporter and I’m an Act financial backer and obviously I’m proud of that’,” she said.
Boscawen, an associate member of the Business Roundtable, said he had not hidden the fact he had been a fundraiser and office holder for Act. But he said his campaign was a personal one, not a party one. “This is a huge amount of money for me. My motivation is very, very simple. This bill goes to the heart of democracy.
“What the government is proposing, it’s trying to put restrictions on people speaking out in opposition to them,” says Boscawen, who lives in Auckland’s Paritai Drive and says his main business is managing his share portfolio.
He said he had organised all four public protest marches, had paid for placards to be printed, had bought newspaper advertising promoting the marches and had paid for hundreds of radio advertisements over seven radio networks urging people to attend.
He had also paid for a Canadian call centre to telephone 82,000 homes in Auckland to drum up support for the last protest march which took place a week ago, and had hired a full-time secretary to help him in his fight against the bill.
Boscawen said he was also footing the bill for a legal challenge being mounted by himself, Grey Power, the Sensible Sentencing Trust and Rodney Hide against Attorney-General Michael Cullen.
And if the bill is passed next Thursday as the government expects? From the beginning of 2008, Boscawen would not be prevented from continuing his campaign.
But he would have to appoint a financial agent and be barred from spending any more than $120,000 over election year.
But Boscawen says he has a cunning plan to get around that cash barrier. He is considering registering as a political party, which requires him to have 500 financial members. That way his spending limit would be a rather grander $1.2 million