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Government's ban on foreign political donations doesn't go far enough, Simon Bridges says

National leader Simon Bridges says he agrees with the Government's ban on foreign political donations, but says it doesn't go far enough.

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The National Party leader talked about the Government’s legislation being passed under urgency. Source: Breakfast

In a bid to stop "interference" in New Zealand elections, the Government yesterday announced it was moving to ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates.

The legislation was introduced in the House yesterday under urgency.

"The stuff in it is good, we agree with it," Mr Bridges told TVNZ1's Breakfast today. "All of that said, it's very minor and if it was a real electoral law you'd expect it to be dealing with things like foundations and trusts."

Mr Bridges called out the New Zealand First Foundation as an example. The Electoral Commission received a complaint last month about the foundation.

But when Breakfast host Hayley Holt questioned him on the similarities with National's foundation, he claimed they were "entirely different".

"We disclose all donations exactly the same as we would if they were to the National Party so there's fundamental differences in the way they seem to operate."

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The move comes after concerns about the risk of interference in New Zealand elections. Source: 1 NEWS

National isn't the only one raising questions about the legislation though. Former National, now independent MP Jami-Lee Ross has also come out saying the law wouldn't stop foreign companies donating through their New Zealand-based companies.

When asked about this perspective, Mr Bridges said he agreed that what the bill does to stop foreign donations "is very minor".

He also said there were issues which hadn't been addressed - suggesting a select committee would help refine the legislation.

But since it's being passed under urgency that won't happen.

"There's no select committee process so the likes of experts, lawyers, people who think a lot about these things can't come along and make submissions to improve the bill, whether that be the way that Jami-Lee Ross is talking about or whether it be the way that I've talked about in relation to foundations and trusts."

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As parliament sits under urgency to pass the bill, there is criticism the move lacks any substance and is just tinkering around the edges. Source: 1 NEWS

The legislation is the fourth time the Government has put anything through as urgency. In comparison, National passed legislation under urgency 53 times in its government, and in it's first three-year term did so 31 times.

"National got things done," Mr Bridges said when asked about passing law under urgency.

"I think Government's are entitled to do urgency. The egregious thing is the select committee process - not having a select committee process where experts and the like can come along is wrong."