Key Points:

Parliament will vote itself automatic increases to election spending limits under the Electoral Finance Bill.

Labour and National have been at war over the bill, but appear to be in accord on lifting the total amount a party can spend.

The present spending limit for a party is $1 million plus $20,000 for each electorate seat contested - a maximum of $2.4 million.

The limit for individual candidates is $20,000.

Those limits have not been adjusted since 1993 when they were set in the Electoral Act.

The Electoral Finance Bill extends the period during which election spending is regulated from three months to virtually all of election year.

National MP Christopher Finlayson last night proposed an amendment to the bill to index spending limits so they rise with inflation for political parties as well as for registered third parties, which are limited to $120,000.

He also wants to index donation limits.

But Justice Minister Annette King moved her own amendment to index spending caps to inflation, without indexing donation limits, and that was passed without National's support.

She said indexation had been proposed by the 1986 Royal Commission into the electoral system, and it was recommended by the Electoral Commission in its submission on the bill.

National MP Lockwood Smith made a comparisons between Hitler's treatment of Jews and what he called Labour's demonising of the Exclusive Brethren.

Addressing his comments to Ms King, Dr Smith said he had been disgusted by her saying the legislation had been motivated by the activities of the Exclusive Brethren last election.

"Demonising a religious group is what Hitler did to the Jews in the early stages ... That was not the final solution but it was the early stages of demonising a small group of people.

"I just ask you to take a more open view of all this."

The bill imposes a limit of $240,000 that a party can receive in anonymous donations of over $1000. No individual will be able to give more than $36,000 anonymously.

The bill also imposes a $12,000 limit on how much an individual can give anonymously to a registered third party.

Ms King said the Government would change the bill to avoid the "crayfish clause", that would have allowed people to donate items other than money to parties via the Electoral Commission.

Debate on the amendment will continue today but the bill will not receive its final reading until next week.

Meanwhile the Herald has learned that more than 80,000 Auckland households were telephoned from Canada between 3.30 pm and 8 pm last Friday with a recorded message urging them to march on Saturday against the Electoral Finance Bill.

Businessman John Boscawen said he paid about $9000 for his message to be phoned by a Canadian computerised call centre.

He targeted electorates of Labour ministers, the Mt Albert electorate of Prime Minister Helen Clark and pockets of National supporters.