Spin, spin, spin, spin

August 15th, 2006 at 6:00 am by David Farrar

Good God Clark is trying to spin the issue of the pledge cards so badly, she could set herself up as a wind turbine and power a few hundred homes. Where do we start, with her quotes in the NZ Herald

As much as $350 million spent by all parliamentary political parties over 16 years may be implicated in the Auditor-General’s report:

Okay the PM would have us think the Auditor-General is an insane maniac who has come up with some impossible new rule, which invalidates a third of a billion of expenditure. She is wanting people to fall for the TINA trap – There Is No Alternative but to change the law because gee whiz you can’t have $350 million paid back.

The Auditor-General has not said all expenditure during the three months he audited was illegal. In fact if you take away ’s spending, then I would say less than 5% of expenditure has been found to be illegal. And that is at the time where you might expect it to be worse.

She sought to distance parties from any blame in the funding row, saying that the dispute, in essence, was between the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Service – the bureaucracy that administers Parliament.

Most parties, during the three months that AG audited, had 90 – 99% of their expenditure approved as okay. Just one party – Labour – has had a massive amount found not to be okay. Don Brash managed to not spend a cent illegally, while Helen Clark’s bill is reputed to be not just $450,000 but I hear as high as one million dollars!

“What I am taking exception to … is any inference that our party set out to break rules. Absolutely not. People set out to work within the rules.”

As you read this, remember that three weeks before the election they were informed by the Chief Electoral Officer he considered their pledge cards to be election advertising. Even worse they then promised the CEO that they would include them in their return of election expenses and reneged on that promise once they had been re-elected.

She also firmly backed the concept of transparent state funding of political parties as the best outcome from the debacle.

If Helen is not allowed to steal funds for her re-election campaign, then she will legislate to legalise such theft in future.

“It should be remembered that one of the reasons the National Party is so sanctimonious about the last three months of the election campaign is that it had vast amounts of money from the Exclusive Brethren and very large corporates.”

Translation: We couldn’t raise as much money legally as National, so we used the taxpayer instead.

Also remember that her party had a $500,000 donation from a foreign billionaire. And she dares to talk about vast amounts of money.

Oh I’ve just seen that the NZ Herald article itself also labels Clark’s meanderings as spin, and helpfully provides their own translations. I didn’t even realise that when I started reading the article. The claim that $350 million is at risk was so obviously an outrageous spin, that I started blogging at that point!

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33 Responses to “Spin, spin, spin, spin”

  1. tim barclay () says:

    The Labour Party has been rorting Parlimentary Service funding for years and years. She wants to put a line across that. The National Party has traditionally taken a conservative approach to how public money gets used and looked amazed at the antics of Labour. Well they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

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  2. brian_smaller () says:

    Can anyone tell me why I should fund political parties that I don’t support through my taxes? I have never given a single dollar to any political party in my life.

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  3. Graeme Edgeler () says:

    DPF – do we know whether the Auditor-General’s report looked at all spending of Leaders’ budgets in the months before the election, or only advertising-like expenditure?

    [trying to work out spin from Rodney here]

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  4. Craig Ranapia () says:

    The passage I found particularly amusing was this:
    “It should be remembered that one of the reasons the National Party is so sanctimonious about the last three months of the election campaign is that it had vast amounts of money from the Exclusive Brethren and very large corporates.”

    Not to let facts get in the way of a good paranoid conspiracy, just look at the information posted on the Electoral Commission website. Labour hasn’t received a penny from “very large corporates”, foreign sugardaddies like Owen Glenn, A. Nonymous, and plenty of useful full-page adverts from lobby groups (and unions) with a stake in the passage of Labour party policies? Yeah right… It’s about time that someone kept fisking the meme that Labour is a poor victim of the corporate glove puppets.

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  5. Craig Ranapia () says:

    Oh, and I think it’s time someone started asking Helen Clark this question:-

    “Do you have any confidence in the Auditor-General, the former Solicitor-General you just appointed to the High Court and Court of Appeal, the Chief Electoral Officer and head of the Electoral Commission, or the officials in Parliamentary Services who’ve expressed concerns about such spending for years. After all, you seem to think they’re all blithering incompetents.”

    I guess it’s really nice to trash the Parliamentary Services Commission, who can’t respond in kind. S.O.B.

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  6. Allan Speedy () says:

    I have just read the article by Professor Jack Vowles in the Perspectives section of the Herald. I am appalled. Is this really the standard of intellect in the pol studs department? A switched on teenager could have written a better discourse. Clearly another university hackademic.

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  7. TomS () says:

    Nobody cares – except for the screaming hypocrites in National. So whats new over the past few years?

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  8. Michael (The Right Wing One) () says:

    I’ve just read Vowles column as well – he is clearly the worst Pols Lecturer in the world as he hasn’t even learnt that Parliament doesn’t give any money to Political Parties – it gives it to MPs to carry out their MP duties.

    In fact, the rules specifically prohibit using taxpayer money for political purposes of fundraising, membership and votes.

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  9. ross () says:

    “Don Brash managed to not spend a cent illegally”.

    Right, so the $112,500 that National overspent on broadcasting was legitimate, a sum that has left several broadcasters out of pocket?

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  10. ross () says:

    “As you read this, remember that three weeks before the election they were informed by the Chief Electoral Officer he considered their pledge cards to be election advertising. Even worse they then promised the CEO that they would include them in their return of election expenses and reneged on that promise once they had been re-elected”.

    Some evidence to back up these statements would be helpful.

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  11. Jim D () says:

    Ross, David posted evidence of this some time ago.

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  12. noddy () says:

    Jim D – no DPF posted snippets of the police investigation. One thing that was clear is that the Labour party was still seeking clarification – in the light of advice they had received. The dates on the letters DPF chose to post were most telling, given this all happened in the short period of an election campaign

    Labour made no attempt to hide the spending and the CEO seem to have included it in the total spend figures anyhow.

    Whatever you think of the spending on the pledge cards (and frankly, I think Labour could/should have forgone a lot of that spend) the statements highlighted by ross are misleading. In the end, as I have been saying for a long time, *all* parties have been pushing the lmits of election spending laws. I prefer transparency, knowing who is funding what, so I prefer the Labour, NZ First, Green, Act (this time) returns to Nationals.

    I guess the perceived “guilt” or otherwise depends on one’s political leanings.

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  13. DavidW () says:

    Ross
    You seem to like technicalities,

    If the broadcasters are out of pocket, the money hasn’t been spent. No issue here move along. QED

    Now lets go back to justifying Labour ripping off the taxpayer and abusing it’s position as the governing party. How about defending the bus stop adverts and the whole WFF publicity campaign – millions of $$$, a classic case in point of clear abuse of the governing party spending taxpayer money for party gain.

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  14. culma () says:

    I am sick to death of the sight of Helen Clarks face, and the crap that flows forth from her vile duct!

    Please indicate to me an account or fund I can forward a donation to have even a small input to stop this. If I can advance even a $100 to a legal fund to fight this crap please someone email a response. Thank you.

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  15. Ross Miller () says:

    For the ‘other’ Ross and Noddy and Tom S and any other Labour apologists. Arn’t you all just a tad uncomfotable trying to defend the indefensible? Are you really comfortable in associating yourselves with sleeze and corruption? Do you really think that Labour icons like Michael Savage arn’t spinning in their graves over what has happened?

    And the sad thing is that your blind obedience to the Party line forever now ensures that your personal integrity is suspect.

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  16. Larry Quiche () says:

    Seriously, would a National Government be any different givne the same circumstances? And David, as a party activist, wouldn’t you recommend the same approach? Isn’t this kind of stuff what politicos love?

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  17. ross () says:

    “For the ‘other’ Ross and Noddy and Tom S and any other Labour apologists”.

    For the record, I voted National at the last election, both party list and elecorate. Now that’s out of the way, it would be useful to see the evidence that Labour was told before the election that their pledge card spending was election advertising. I have never defended corruption and never would. But it cuts both ways. Brash should pay what National owes just as Helen should pay what labour owes.

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  18. Murray () says:

    They were told ross, the communications and Labour saying they would treat it as such were all made public some time ago.

    Your failure to read them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    culma, Darnton vs Clark has a donation button.
    http://www.darntonvsclark.org/

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  19. book'emDano () says:

    …it would almost make me happy if liarbour puts the retrospective legislation in place… it just adds political wood to the fire and to the growing impression that this is an ideologically bankrupt and corrupt government (I separate out the labour polys from the main of party members that likely are uncomfortable with what HC/MC are doing) that is more concerned with staying in power and spin than anything else.
    -but I must admit it does piss me off to no end- bring on 2008 and remember everything…..

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  20. side show bob () says:

    Heard the old cow on the radio the other morning, boy you would think butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. She has spouted spin that long now she probably beleives the bullshit she talks as the gospel truth. This misguided woman is long over due for retirement, when can she leave for the UN?. Does she need help to pack?.

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  21. noddy () says:

    David, maybe you can explain this quote: “Mark Blumsky included a “phony” questionnaire. At the bottom of the page was the statement the information was being collected by the MPs for “electorate and related political activity”

    Were you, as Blumsky’s electoral agent attemping to get round the PS spending rules?

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  22. DavidW () says:

    Ross
    Fact: National has stumped up without compaint or defense for all (repeat ALL) items pinged by the AG.
    Fact: National detected its own error in the GST on advertising and indeed were the ones to bring it to the attention of the Chief Electoral Officer.
    Fact: National has attempted to repay the GST error but has had enabling legislation blocked by the Government.
    Fact: Labour refuse to acknowledge that they have made any errors either by accident or intention.

    Do I have to go on. I have oscillated between candidates and their parties over a lot of years but have to say that on this issue, the situation is as clear cut as any I have seen and frankly the accumulation of rorts, lies, spin and abuse of position are cause for absolute disgust in the mind of anyone with a sense of morality.
    I have been trying to avoid using the term ” a sense of right” as someone will undoubtedly have a go on the right vs left divide rather than on the right vs wrong determination, but in reality I am really frightened by the degree to which the point at which “wrong” kicks in is being moved away from where I was raised to consider it should properly be.

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  23. burt () says:

    By April 2000 Helen had broken one of the pledges in her 1999 pledge card. By the next election that had all been broken and the witch campaigned on the line ‘we have kept these promises’…. lies lies and more lies. Everything since then has been about staying in power and this little outburst is to be expected.

    How can a woman of such low principals, integrity and intelligence stay in power for so long – if only her supporters would actually wake up and think about her antics and her total prostitution of principals for personal gain.

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  24. David Farrar () says:

    Noddy – I am not Mark’s agent. While I remain good mates with Mark and we chat from time to time , I am not employed by him, or on his electorate executive.

    As for Clark’s griping, well she is trying to suggest that List MPs should not be allowed to communicate with the public. The survey Mark put out is no different from those put out by many National MPs. And there is very little advocacy on them – in fact it asks opinions on issues of the days, bills before Parliament etc.

    And the surveys done by List MPs are worded differently to electorate MPs to make it clear they are not purporting to be the electorate MP.

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  25. ross () says:

    Murray,

    Please show where Labour was told, etc. about the pledge card being election advertising. I’ve tried searching on google without any luck.

    DavidW said that National has attempted to repay the GST error but has had enabling legislation blocked by the Government. It doesn’t need legislation to repay the error. It just needs political will.

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  26. gd () says:

    People We must understand that the Socialists supporters like the Socialist party are bereft of good morals and ethics.For example they have no concept of the principle of self interest.We can spell it out to them until the cows come home and they wont get it.They like their party believe that if its legal its OK and if its illegal its still OK because if we get caught out we will change the law to make it legal.Legal and ethical and moral are different but dont expect these dipsticks to understand that.And this is why this country has gone to hell in a hand cart and why those who have good morals and ethics will fight these barbarians to the death

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  27. DavidW () says:

    Ross
    National have been clearly advised that to pay the money would be illegal. Rock …. Hard Place

    They attempted to make the payment of the GST overage legitimate and the Bill was voted down by Labour. Of will there appears to be suffucient, of willingness to intentionally break the law precious little. Compare and contrast with the pledge card spend.

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  28. gd () says:

    And so to all you Socialists supporters Pray tell why you support your favourite party refusing to allow a law change that would see illegal monies paid back.Is this another example of your support for the princilpe of rapimg and pillaging the tax payer. If so you have the morals and ethics of pond life Just like your pollie mates.

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  29. noddy () says:

    gd, as far as I am aware Labour supported National’s attempt to legislation under urgency, the Green’s opposed it.

    How an old hand like yourself would not know that is beyond me. At least I can be sure that your morals and ethics would not allow you to deliberately lead us astray.

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  30. gd () says:

    Noddy To me socialists are anyone to the left of the far far Right of the National Party who I support on the basis that those on the left of the Nats will one day see the error of their ways.Just thought I clarify that.

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  31. JillOff () says:

    National’s idea of democracy is for only ONE party to be in a position to actually buy elections.

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  32. Keith () says:

    And Helen’s idea of democracy is to make elections redundant.

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  33. phil u () says:

    “..those who have good morals and ethics will fight these barbarians to the death..”

    (it’s good that gd isn’t a ‘frother’…eh..?..)

    (i think he’s talking about the moderate wing in national..
    he dosen’t like them..eh..?..”bloody waverers!”

    (phil(whoar.co.nz)

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