A threat to free speech

September 20th, 2006 at 2:07 pm by David Farrar

I don’t have a problem with some sort of cap on third party campaigning during an election campaign, but on Radio NZ this morning Pete Hodgson supported a total ban on third parties being able to criticise political parties.

This should be of great concern to people. In their hatred of the Brethren, Labour may end up banning all criticism during a campaign. Look at this transcript from Radio NZ;

HODGSON: Well, I haven’t seen the draft of any law, I haven’t seen any cabinet papers, but the law would work in such a way that that advertising, one assumes would become forbidden or if it happened, would need to be included in the cap of the party who had benefited. Now, the more likely of those is that you would simply forbid it, that you would simply say you’re not allowed to have a campaign.

PRESENTER: You see, that appears at first glance to be an astonishing attack on the democratic rights of any organisation or individual wishing to express their views at this time?

This could stop Federated Farmers protesting against the fart tax if it was close to an election, Greenpeace unable to campaing against parties that allow GM food etc.

A very very bad sign from a Government that already is known for being intolerant of sustained criticism.

No tag for this post.

62 Responses to “A threat to free speech”

  1. llew () says:

    The trick then, would be, say, for the sake of argument, the Exclusive Brethren, to spend millions on a pamphlet campaign slagging off everyone except Labour.

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  2. GPT () says:

    The government’s reaction to third party campaigns is becoming increasingly hysterical. In an attempt to hobble the spending power of the EB the government is suggesting legislation that is a direct attack on democracy.

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  3. Redbaiter () says:

    ..and the leftists always sneer whenever I describe them as totalitarian… yet here we have an excellent example of the way they think and the way they plan to stifle dissent.. same old same old leftist intolerance.. all for free speech as long as its approved by them first..

    Hodgson’s comments show just how far the Labour government is prepared to go to keep its hold on power.. how obsessed they are with that objective..

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  4. Chiascuro () says:

    Would this also stop a news paper for example writing an article or editorial that is critical of the Government of the day?

    If it does that it’s an amazing attack on free speech. If it doesn’t then clearly there is a huge loophole. Just publish your own “newspaper”

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  5. kiwi_donkey () says:

    I heard a rumour that the EB’s are planning to burn down the Reichstag.

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  6. sonic () says:

    Just to please RB

    Sneerity, sneer.

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  7. Andrew Bannister () says:

    DPF – Just curious, what was Hodgson’s response to the presenter’s comment?

    I am unsure how this can ever be solved, other than draconian legislation banning all third-party campaigning. But that would be insane.

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  8. Sam () says:

    It seems absurd that Labour would allow the EB spending when it is exactly that spending that lost National the election (or at least, Brash’s handling of the associated revelations…). The longer the EB’s associate themselves with National, the better for Labour it would seem.

    …and what of the supposed tolerance and celebration of diversity from the left???

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  9. Sam () says:

    Opps – that first line should read:

    It seems absurd that Labour would NOT allow the EB spending when it is exactly…

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  10. Craig Ranapia () says:

    First, I very much have my doubts this legislation is ever going to float to the top of the order paper in my lifetime. But if it does, I certainly hope the debate and select committee process is going to be run at a marginally more thoughtful (and less hysterical) level that we’ve seen so far from Hodgson and various Labour hacks in the blogisphere.

    I think the script so far runs like this:

    Q: So what does this mean…

    A: If you weren’t a corrupt lying whore of the right-wing money laundering, election buying machine you wouldn’t need to ask.

    Q: And how would this work in practice!

    A: Stop spinning fundie National slag!

    Q; *cough*

    A: Vicious smear campaign against the Labour Party! KILL IT!

    Everone exit stage right, pursued by an attack dog

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  11. Bernard Darnton () says:

    There’s nothing here to be “solved”. In a civilised country people are allowed to express their opinions. End of story.

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  12. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Of course Bernard, things are always that simple aren’t they.

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  13. Andrew Thompson () says:

    when was that on and is there audio ??

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  14. Redbaiter () says:

    Mr. Darnton is dead right.. the left have never been civilized, and every time they succeed in becoming socially ascendant, there’s a backward slide in that commodity..

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  15. llew () says:

    Is it mere coincidence that redbaiter turns up after schools are finished for the day?

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  16. The Swift Man () says:

    Remember that when you are dealing with labourites, you are dealing with the lower classes.
    I am very fortunately bred and educated. One grandfather owned a factory in Onehunga, employing over one hundred people. My other grandfather was regarded as one of the most prosperous gentlemen of the North Shore.
    My great-great grandfather appears in ‘Defenders of New Zealand’ (1887) for his efforts in putting down rebellious Maori. Another great-great grandfather owned the Bayswater peninsular, and established with his brother, the Bank of New Zealand. He also surveyed all of the main roads on the Shore and is buried on Mt Victoria.
    When I turned 16 and the school holidays came, my mother said’ You need to learn about factory processes and the working classes.’ I was dropped off to door-knock for a job in an industrial area. Which I did. One of the women there used to read tea leaves at lunchtime. Put me off tea for life. Another woman had a bowel disorder. She took delight in farting – twice the factory had to be emptied for a few minutes. Another male, 18 years old, got his girlfriend pregnant.
    Remember that when you are dealing with labourites, you are dealing with the lower classes.

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  17. baxter () says:

    Liabours hysterical vendetta against the exclusive brethren seems similar to the early stages of the Nazi’s vendetta against, the Jews. Come to think of, it Klark also expresses prejudice against them too, at the same time she accuses Brash of racism. PAY THE MONEY BACK.

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  18. llew () says:

    LOL – which moron was only yesterday saying that “lefties” always bring up “class”?

    You forgot to tell us which school your parents sent you to, Swifty.

    Must have been pretty traumatic being that close to the peasnts.

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  19. Sam () says:

    The educated liberals of the left are just as removed from the working classes as spoilt brats of the right – only the liberals refuse to acknowledge it. Their concern for the working class (although heartfelt – on their sleeves especially) is patronising at best and morally as vacuous as the supposed greed-mongering of the right. This is why socialism so often tends toward dictatorship as the educated few, who always know better, seek to rule in the best interests of the masses, who are stupid and just plain dirty…

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  20. sonic () says:

    Is it a full moon tonight?

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  21. llew () says:

    ” This is why socialism so often tends toward dictatorship as the educated few, who always know better,”

    You could be right actually, that’s always how I viewed Roger Douglas, Prebble et al, and pretty much how I view many in the current regime.

    But still… I can’t get past ‘Defenders of New Zealand’ (1887), I suspect I can guess which side the “defenders” were…

    Might have to go look it up.

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  22. Sam () says:

    No – just sick of the myth that the Left represent the working classes. If they did they would pay the money back…

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  23. cubit9f () says:

    I really wonder if Hodgson has stopped to deeply consider just what he said. I refuse to believe he can mean it. However, the way things are at present, he could be deadly serious.

    These are the people who thought Muldoon was a clone of Ghenghis Khan. This attitiude has to be of serious concern.

    The gentle Thais might just have the answer. The leader was quick to condemn that move against a very corrupt PM in Thailand.

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  24. SPC () says:

    This is only about campaigning during the official election period – up to 12 weeks. It would only apply to pamphleting into letter boxes, media adverts etc during that period.

    Opposition to government in that way 2y9m would still occur.

    It in no way restricts opinion dissemination on blogs etc in that period.

    The most likely proposal would involve registering third parties for campaigning. All organisations with an existence not predicated on politics – FF/CTU/BRT/professional groups should be allowed registration to speak on their “sector interest” in the campaign, including in a party partisan way.

    A much smaller cap for any individuals.

    What exactly the EB’s (a religious group which is requires separation from politics) interest is I am not sure. We do know the individuals amongst them growing large personal fortunes wanted tax cuts for themselves and was prevented from campaigning in support of National by CAP rules. So they feigned interest in policies of the Greens and Labour which they opposed.

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  25. Cretean () says:

    Can anyone here distinguish between “freedom of speech” and “purchase of speech”?

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  26. llew () says:

    One is free, the other costs. duh!

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  27. Paul Marsden () says:

    Who was it that said…. ‘To influence the masses, first convince the unintelligent’

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  28. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Swift Man, are you alright? Was there a point behind that pathetic monologue, or did you just want to bare all your prejudices and confirm that you really truly are a pompous toss-pot.

    Actully, I just read your post again and realise that it was just a joke. Quite a funny one too. Sorry about the harsh words before.

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  29. kiwi_donkey () says:

    SPC: So who is the arbiter of legitimate sector interests? Will there be a limit on the number of sector groups allowed? Can I set up the Eeyore rights sector group? What will my spending cap be? Will it allow me to run any kind of national campaign? Or will I be told my political views are not serious and cannot be aired, or that there are already enough political groups? Who will make that decision? An independent officer of parliament, immune from political pressure, perhaps?

    It sounds like the only opposition allowed will be the opposition the government approves of. Failing that, all you will get is a proliferation of registered groups on an electoriate by electorate basis to frustrate the intent of the law.

    Here is a test: which of these can have an authorised spending cap? Friends of the Earth, the National Front, the Exclusive Bretheren, the EMPU, the Eeyore Rights Group, the Pay it Back Coalition?

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  30. Paul Marsden () says:

    Swiftman that was very good. Ta for the laugh!

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  31. Craig Ranapia () says:

    SPC wrote:
    This is only about campaigning during the official election period – up to 12 weeks. It would only apply to pamphleting into letter boxes, media adverts etc during that period.

    But not the web – or are you including websites (including the well-hidden owners of an anti-Brash smear site that appeared during the last campaign), and exempting political commentary on blogs?

    And SPC opens another can of worms here:
    The most likely proposal would involve registering third parties for campaigning. All organisations with an existence not predicated on politics – FF/CTU/BRT/professional groups should be allowed registration to speak on their “sector interest” in the campaign, including in a party partisan way.

    Ah, so the CTU’s ‘sector interests’ don’t include social policy, race relations, health policy or anything other than industrial relations? Well, that’s a pretty radical change for the CTU – which I’m sure could point at the history of the labour movement and say the interests of working people are much broader than the industrial relations framework.

    And even more:
    What exactly the EB’s (a religious group which is requires separation from politics) interest is I am not sure.

    OK, then every other church, person with religious affiliations and faith-based organisation can shut the fuck up too. That’s fine with me – but I think anyone who believes that the political and speech rights of citizens shouldn’t be made conditional on their religion.

    As I said, I’d like to see any proposed legislation before commenting. But the proposal SPC and other Labour spinners are pushing raises more questions than it even tries to answer.

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  32. Paul Marsden () says:

    I wonder how much time Labour has spent examining how China invokes its censorship laws?

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  33. Insolent Prick () says:

    SPC,

    Try coming up with a coherent argument for once, buddy.

    What’s to stop thirty unions each registering to discuss industrial relations, labour reform, welfare, retirement, health, education, the public sector, and fiscal policy? The labour movement argues that it’s all within their sector interests.

    And what’s to stop thirty churches from doing likewise?

    Who decides who has a valid sector interest, and who doesn’t?

    Stop and think before you blog. Either you ban third-party organisations, and in the process run a big fat red line through freedom of speech, or you keep it as it is.

    Bloody red herring, as you know. Pay it back, asshole.

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  34. The Swift Man () says:

    My only oblection to Andrew bannisters post is ‘pompous toss-pot’ should read ‘well bred pompous toss-pot’
    lol

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  35. SPC () says:

    kiwidonkey, the who and what amount, would depend on whatever legislation was determined in parliament after the SC process.

    You should recall that partisan party support is usually counted as part of the party spending cap – which is why I refer to sector groups outside of politics, advocating for their sector on policy issues.

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  36. SPC () says:

    Craig of course, it would not include web-sites, it’s a campaign spending limitation – not an expression limitation.

    Generally unions affiliated to the party are covered by the party spending cap.

    The difficulty is when sector interest groups go beyond advocacy for their group or sector. Does this mean they move into the party cap category?
    As the EB found when they approached officials – they could not be pro a party, without becoming part of their cap.

    The thing about the EB, is that though they operated the spending authorisation as individuals, they organsied collectively. One wonders, as to whether a few rich businessmen spent this, or were they fronts for anonymous church fund donors?

    You raise the issue of other churches.
    Can you name any which say or do anymore in the campaign period, than they do 365/365 3/3 anyhow? Or any which has been party partisan (let’s ignore DC which campaigns for itself) Frankly this is a red herring.

    The difference between them and EB is that they spend their church money on helping people, EB spend it on supporting the tax cut party to enrich a few of their rich and powerful members (one expects the lower classes of the ranks supplies the low wage labour).

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  37. SPC () says:

    IP

    If you were not so paranoid about the closing of the third party organisation gate (for all the anonymous money currently channelled National’s way), you would look into the matter a little more closely.

    Unions are often affiliated to the party, thus their spending comes under the cap.

    The whole point about third party activity, should be that, it is NOT subject to the party cap.

    “And what’s to stop thirty churches from doing likewise?”

    Well it’s clear enough, they were not formed as fronts for partisan political purposes and why should they not continue to promote their sector/view during campaign periods? Mainstream groups are usually of mixed political persuasion.

    “Either you ban third-party organisations, and in the process run a big fat red line through freedom of speech, or you keep it as it is.”

    False choice. If the “third party” organisation is party partisan, it risks coming losing that status and coming under the party cap.

    The point for registered third party groups is allowing them to operate as usual during the campaign period. The registration probably based on being non partisan and advocating their group member interest (professional groups/recreation groups etc) on policy issues. Thus they can operate as normal as advocates in the campaign period.

    Groups unable to do this, unable to gain or sustain registration, having their spending referred to the party spending caps.

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  38. kiwi_donkey () says:

    SPC: That begs the question who is acceptable as a party, or a sector group. I repeat the last part of my question.

    Here is a test: which of these can have an authorised spending cap? Friends of the Earth, the National Front, the Exclusive Bretheren, the EMPU, the Eeyore Rights Group, the Pay it Back Coalition?

    And who will make that decision?

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  39. SPC () says:

    kiwidonkey

    If any group is party partisan, their spending comes under the PARTY CAP. Third parties which are not party partisan but merely representing their sector interest are not covered by a party cap.

    Is the EMPU affiliated to a party? If so it’s spending is under the party spending cap. The EB were partisan in 2005 and were not operating on religious or values issues anyhow, so should not qualify as a third party.

    Who are “Eeyore Rights”?

    The others I suppose are OK, but the “PIBC” might be well advised to form a broader lobby from which to launch an advocacy on this issue. “Accountability in government” or such like.

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  40. side show bob () says:

    Dear Leader, “democracy and free speech is the bedrock of our society”………HA ha ha ha ha ……Oops, fell off the bloody chair.

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  41. ZenTiger () says:

    Labour were very pissed off that National took so long to release tax policy coming up to the election – because they wanted to make sure their student bribes and WFF were enough to get them over the line.

    If the rules change again, political parties will release major policy 89 days prior to an election to prevent any third party groups mounting any effective protest against them to avoid generating critical analysis in the media.

    Furthermore, Unions spending caps are understated. They rely on volunteer efforts from members and staff during election times to promote Labour policy and direct people how to vote. That effort, during office hours, still means staff get paid by the union but those “costs” are not part of the spending cap.

    Unions have been getting steady increases in government funding over the last 7 years, giving them more money to spend on electioneering. It would be nice if a journalist to do an in depth review of this, because it amounts for cash for policy. The Labour Govt increase “training funds” and other “initiatives” to unions who then have money to donate back to Labour, or allocate more internal resources to activities that bypass the cap.

    Changing the laws to prevent other sorts of groups from campaigning against specific policy would be a dangerous step, and not a good path to go down.

    At the end of the day, after the dust has settled on personal politics, we can all pitch to see what we believe the best policies are for NZ. If we vote Labour, or National, so be it. It is for their performance as much as their promises that affect our vote in the following election. That may not be perfect, but it isn’t as bad as what Labour are hinting at.

    I find it difficult to trust a third term government on the ropes is acting altruistically. I would want a lot of discussion and slow steps on any such proposals.

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  42. kiwi_donkey () says:

    SPC. Okay, thanks. Fair enough. For Eeyore Rights – see my name :-)

    Actually, I hope we do get campaign finance reform out of this. I do not like anonymous donations, and am not at all opposed to some kind of funding along the lines of the Australian model. However, with the space that Labour is in at the moment, they don’t seem to see these issues very clearly. Or at least, they’ve been flying so many kites it’s hard to know which strings they are still trying to pull.

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  43. SPC () says:

    Any change to current policy would go through the SC process of parliament.

    Third party rules are really efforts to prevent people campaigning in a partisan way outside of the party cap restraint, as EB did in 2005 (their original pro National campaign had to become an anti-Labour anti-Green one to qualify as third party).

    Genuine long term, outside the partisan political process, third party groups should be immune. And so would some groups formed to offer an opine about topical campaign issues.

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  44. ZenTiger () says:

    SPC, you said: “The difference between them and EB is that they spend their church money on helping people, EB spend it on supporting the tax cut party”

    I think you seriously misunderstand the EB motives. If you read their anti-Green brochures you would see some of the Green policies that worried them: gay marriage, legalising prostitution, legalising or decriminalising drugs, pro-abortion legislation, weakening property rights, and a host of other “non-green” issues the Greens believe in.

    Right or wrong, they are obviously worried about what they see are changes that will destroy the fabric of society.

    I don’t think they are particularly pro-National or pro-tax breaks, but more virulently anti-Green (especially their social policies) and anti-Labour (for their view that the government does a better job of regulating lives than parents).

    To a “secretive sect” nothing would be more dangerous than a government setting laws that make it illegal for them to conduct life the way they see fit.

    The EB do like to refrain from politics. They don’t even want to vote. The question you need to be asking yourself, rather than the biased assumptions you make is “how destructive are Labour’s (and Green’s) social policies if it causes the EB to become politically active?”

    I suspect, on a local and worldwide basis they see the writing on the wall for them.

    Changing things democratically, via brochures asking people to think about these policies might seem like a last hope to them.

    All parties are judged on their policies they declare, and the ones they implement. People will make up their own minds, and a couple of brochures will hardly counter Labour’s tax funded $15 million dollars of TV advertising stating “You’re better off with Labour” (which was explaining WFF in one sentence).

    And who could forget the $90,000 of tax payer money spent on 10 days of bus shelter advertisements to explain Cullen’s 2005 budget to voters. It was a solid red poster with the budget review condensed down to “You’re better off with Labour”.

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  45. SPC () says:

    What can I say to that, the original approach by the EB was in a very pro National way – to the campaign officials and to that party. When told that they would have to change their advocacy from it’s pro National form, or be placed under the National cap, they chose to run a negative campaign against Labour and Greens.

    The major National party policy is across the board income tax cuts and business tax cuts. The wealth of some of the EB businessmen is known.

    You cannot cite our situation to explain this political activism, apparently this group also acts this way elsewhere. It is not notably concerned with charity for the good of community, but is supportive of low tax politcal parties. Now why would that be?

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  46. ZenTiger () says:

    ACT is a low tax political party. National is centrist, with their proposed tax cuts hardly revolutionary – a big adjustment in the thresholds, making a difference to middle class NZ not the super rich.

    It is just as easy for me to say they approached National because they were making a choice to support the main opposition to the left wing liberal policies.

    Low tax parties tend to be anti-socialists and have stronger conservative elements. It’s really as simple as that.

    The silence was deafening on the $15 million spending on promoting Labour party more than the actual mechanics of Working For Families policy. Makes the 1.8 million war chest from National seem irrelevant really.

    And Unions do contribute more than just “audited” dollars do they not? The picture is not as out of whack as the left are making out.

    It seems likely Labour are only responding in this way because they thought they could bend the rules, and many are taking exception to that. This was most likely magnified by endless scandals approaching this point, and a degree of arrogance in their self-righteous stance.

    It looks worse when their own ministers don’t want to kick in a few thousand each, so they ask their members to pay up.

    A reasonable approach and attitude would have short circuited this ages ago. Instead we have the circus ride of the last 12 months.

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  47. SPC () says:

    They support parties which might reduce their company/business tax bills. They don’t believe in politics otherwise.

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  48. SPC () says:

    Like others on the right, they knew that funding ACT did not result in enough votes for the investment in taxc cut policy, so they switched behind National.

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  49. Andrew Bannister () says:

    My appologies Swift Man, you’re a well bred pompous toss-pot. ;)

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  50. DavidW () says:

    SPC
    Your response to ZT is about as meaningful as the description “you’re better off with labour” is an accurate description of WFF.

    When we see an attempt at reasoned debate we get platitudes and gross oversimplification.

    Is it because you have no reasonable counter to the points that ZT made? i.e. The Government’s social policies are seen as a threat to the EB’s deeply held beliefs about families, work ethics, social responsibility, marriage, births out of wedlock, education, prostitution, drugs, abortion, and the role of Government in people’s lives.

    these issues resonate to a larger or lesser degree with many who are conservative in outlook and frankly while they were clumsy in the execution, I have to applaud their attempts to make a difference.

    To anyone who suggests that political activisim should start and stop at the ballot box I say “sod off”. If nothing else the current escalation of tension in the political scene will hopefully make more than a few people stop and think “where do I really stand and how does this fit with the people who might wish to make decisions on my behalf?”

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  51. JAUHUB () says:

    When it comes to the EB “issue”, I have just two problems.

    One, they shouldn’t have tried to be secret about it. After all Ratana supports the Labour party, so having a religious group swing in behind a political party isn’t a new thing.

    Two, they should vote, after all if there are 10000 eligible EB voters (anyone know the actual numbers) that would make a difference.

    Personally I think if you don’t vote, then shut up. Voting, to my mind, is the single most important part of our democracy and overshadows all over forms of participation. If you don’t exercise your right to vote then don’t moan about the outcome of an election.

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  52. sonic () says:

    “EB’s deeply held beliefs about families, work ethics, social responsibility, marriage, births out of wedlock, education, prostitution, drugs, abortion, and the role of Government in people’s lives.”

    And not having fax machines, don’t forget that one!

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  53. SPC () says:

    EB also once had deeply held beliefs against any participation in the outside world, especially it’s politics.

    But because they see the personal benefits of parties which cut taxes they now INVEST money campaigning for these parties (or running an attack campaign for them to EVADE campaign cap rules).

    Is this particiaption in the wider world or just part of their business to minimise tax liability to the outside world.

    They are hardly known for their charity work on behalf of those not EB.

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  54. SPC () says:

    David W feel free to ignore the fact that the EB operate in this way elsewhere AND always behind the major tax cutting party seeking government.

    You obviously feel free to applaud those who seek to acquire influence/ electoral advantage by organising monetary resources during the campaign period. Of course they declare themselves that they have no committment to the wider world or a fair democratic process. So if you find ZT’s apologetics convincing, you are simply wrong to do so.

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  55. ZenTiger () says:

    SPC: Can you site any references that the EB get involved in politics just for a tax deduction?

    I note they met with politicians in Australia with a view to funding them. What did they talk about?

    “Ryan confirmed a Fairfax newspaper report he had met with the four members of the group last month to discuss his policies for country Victoria and his position on social questions, including
    abortion and gay marriage.”

    The EB were accused of attacking Green policies in Australia in previous elections. They were not proposing tax cuts. Indeed, the allegedly Brethren used the Australian anti-Green brochures to attack NZ Green policies. The irony is, as the Greens accused the Brethren of an “international conspiracy” is that the Greens borrow policy from their “international network”. It was one of the excuses provided to me by a Green justifying that their policy on CGT, which inferred the family home might be included in the CGT tax was that they didn’t have the resources to check their policy documents they get from their international contacts. Very funny.

    This from Gay Advocate Rodney Croome, who thinks it’s all about anti-gay, and not tax cuts:

    “In Australia most Breth ads are aimed at the Greens, but this is only because Australian Labor is currently so weak on social reform. British and NZ Labour, US Democrats and Canadian Liberals have all been attacked by the Brethren. The one constant within all these attacks is that they are about LGBT human rights. In this light, the Brethren’s ads and pamphlets are not anti-Green interventions that just happen to be aimed at LGBT people. They are anti-LGBT interventions that just happen to be aimed at the Greens.”

    I’d be interested in your sources or reasons for the opinions why they are only involved for tax reasons. I have read they are anti-big government and low tax in general terms, but reducing it to being all about the money is overly simplistic, and one of the main reasons the left seem to have in their refusal to consider the opinions of the right about the importance of stimulating investment and economic growth.

    Well, that’s the way I see it.

    Rodney Croome

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  56. SPC () says:

    ZT It’s been part of the sect’s holy writ, not to get involved with the politics of the outside world – the major way the outside world interfaces with them, is through taxation (personal and business. If one takes them at face value, they are inter-facing with the world. Assuming they don’t see it that way, then it’s simply a means to reduce the extent of tax liability to the outside world. Negative campaigning just being a means of support for tax cutting parties.

    Put it this way, you are taking them at face value in their campaigning. Do you trust politicians? Why trust people who don’t vote, say their way is to keep apart from politics, but seem the most activist religious group involved in politics today?

    Follow the money.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0609/S00241.htm

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  57. ZenTiger () says:

    Sorry for the typos – “site” instead of “cite”, and … oh never mind…

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  58. ZenTiger () says:

    Since I’m already off topic – All these people with there / their grammar and punctuation problems, here is a handy guide: How to rite proper

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  59. ZenTiger () says:

    You use an opinion piece by No Right Turn to justify your theory? No disrespect to Idiot/Savant, but on matters Swedish, that’s really funny. Try reading a few Swedish newspapers to get their impressions on the huge non-event the Brethren had in Sweden.

    Then again, why bother? They spend their own money to campaign in their own way like every other special interest group. You want to pick on them rather than examine the entire system of how people and organisations protest and put forward their views.

    UN funded lobby groups are far more influential and better funded in shaping NZ policy than a bunch of people with a 1.2 million dollar budget.

    They put their view across, sure. They want lower tax, anti-abortion, don’t support Gay Marriage or legalising drugs and they get a little upset when they are subject to hate speech and vilification. We get that.

    But that’s not propaganda. There are blatant examples of real propaganda where ideas are promoted that have little substance. Like any real substance on the reasons given for the attack on the Brethren here in NZ.

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  60. SPC () says:

    I would have thought channelling their campaign funding in Sweden through a British based company indicative of their subversive approach to politics – has anyone of EB explained why they a group which wants limited contact with the outside world and professes not to vote, would want to manipulate the voting behaviour of others? The answer is, they want to pay less tax, self interest motivates them (the rest is simply the argument used to manipulate the voting behaviour of others behind the lower tax party).

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  61. ZenTiger () says:

    That’s your answer SPC. Not *the* answer.

    If they haven’t said, then you don’t know. You only have an opinion. I’ve provided an equally valid counter-opinion.

    You haven’t given me any compelling evidence to change my opinion, and you certainly have your mind made up, so I’ll leave you to it until we have more to talk about.

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  62. ZenTiger () says:

    That’s your answer SPC. Not *the* answer.

    If they haven’t said, then you don’t know. You only have an opinion. I’ve provided an equally valid counter-opinion.

    You haven’t given me any compelling evidence to change my opinion, and you certainly have your mind made up, so I’ll leave you to it until we have more to talk about.

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