The Political Parties Integrity Bill, also called the "Grasshopper Prevention Bill" has received overwhelming support from provincial leaders following eight provincial consultations in the last three weeks.The bill is one of the CNURA Government's major legislative reforms aimed at stabilizing national politics by strengthening the country's weak political party system.
Chairman of the Bill's Working Committee, John Keniapisia has led a four-member team to consult with provincial and community leaders in seven provincial centers including Tulagi, Buala, Taro, Kirakira, Auki and Gizo.
Leaders of Guadalcanal and Rennell and Bellona Provinces were consulted in Honiara while, time limitation and financial resources had prevented taking the consultation to Lata, Temotu Province.
The consultation team has not found major contradictory views or skepticism about the bill during the provincial consultations.
Overall, there is support for the reform; especially from community leaders who said they want stability in government and a stable country.
Many said the bill is necessary to control politicians who are often becoming captives of business interest groups as soon as they reach the capital after general elections.
Many Provincial Premiers said they feel the reform is critical and they wanted the CNURA government to proceed with it as a matter of priority.
From the consultations, Mr Keniapisia said it is clear that at the first level of governance, in villages, there is appreciation for the policy rationale for this reform but communities do not have the capacity and ability to contribute constructively to informing the consultation process.
"It is also clear that people would need more awareness on politics and political parties and this is going to be carried out by the Political Parties Reform Commission under this proposed legislation," Mr Keniapisia explained.
Constructive views gathered from the consultations will be used to make amendments to the current draft before being submitted for debate in the November sitting of parliament.
Mr Keniapisia is happy with the consultation which represents the views of the majority of people living outside of Honiara.
"I think it is fair to say that the response from provincial consultations is positive and that there growing support for the political parties integrity bill - because people want stability in their lives,"
Source: Press Release (Government Communications Unit)