With the demands for tighter electoral and party funding laws being raised at the moment in New Zealand, it's worth looking at what's happening in Australia to see how such state intervention and rules can often lead to very anti-democratic practices. The Howard Government has just introduced sweeping new electoral laws that aim to suppress any electoral challenge to the mainstream political parties. The new legislation automatically de-registers all nonparliamentary parties and blocks the registration of new ones. In a classic example of a cartel, the legislation was passed with the help of all the other parties including the Democrats and Greens. As the World Socialist Website rightly argues, 'To block parties that have not contested previous elections, or that failed to win seats when they did, makes a mockery of the electoral process'.