NZ First to pay it back

October 27th, 2007 at 1:10 pm by David Farrar

At long last, a year or so after other parties agreed to pay it back, NZ First has explicitly stated they will pay back the $186,000 of illegal expenditure.

But get this.  Their latest excuse for why it has not already been paid back is that the money is in a term deposit which only matures in November.

Hello, it is the simplest thing in the world to break a term deposit.  The only penalty is you gain less interest.  So really what NZ First are saying is we wish to continue to earn money on the $186,000.

When they finally do pay it back, I will calculate what the interest should have been.

Incidentially United Future are yet to pay all of their illegal expenditure back also.

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69 Responses to “NZ First to pay it back”

  1. Dead Duck Dux (181 comments) says:

    This is all good. The momentum against the EFB is also, thankfully, building. But I still go back to why don’t the major parties, like National, make a proactive stance against anonymous donations? Clamp off unlawful use of Parliamentary funding, close inappropriate third party promotion (without compromising fundamental free speech) and eliminate anonymous (or donations masked by trust funds) and we’d have a damned tight system.

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  2. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Winston’s going to have another go at the next election, then…

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  3. kaykaybee (154 comments) says:

    So – no interest for the poor, beleaguered tax payer, but Winston First on the other hand???

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  4. Dead Duck Dux (181 comments) says:

    You just can’t write that bastard off, can you? He’s not so much political dynamo as he’s political didymo: Impossible to kill off, fucking slimy and easy to hurt yourself if you’re stupid enough to step on him.

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  5. burt (8,323 comments) says:

    DPF

    The calculation on what Winston should have paid (all parties for that matter) should be worked out using IRD late payment penalty and UOMI rules from the date of the election to the date the money was repaid.

    It’s disgusting that Winston First waits to get the maximum interest from the party investments before repaying interest free money he was not legally entitled to.

    Self serving scum !

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  6. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    But isn’t that an all-encapsulating reflection of the arrogance of the man?

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    burt observed :”It’s disgusting that Winston First waits to get the maximum interest from the party investments before repaying interest free money he was not legally entitled to.”

    New Zealand First was entitled to the money, what the Auditor-General determined was that it was not entitled to spend the money the way it did.

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  8. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    He’s not so much political dynamo as he’s political didymo

    Brilliant !

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  9. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Interesting response from NZ First on EFB:

    Thank you for your email.

    New Zealand First is in favour of the Electoral Finance Bill which will be amended by the select committee.

    Free speech in New Zealand is and should remain just that – free. One cannot argue that ensuring that everyone abides by the intent of New Zealand ’s electoral law and respects spending limits is an attack on free speech. This is patently absurd.

    Our forefathers’ respected fairness and left countries that were run by people of entrenched power, be it through wealth or inherited privilege.

    We in New Zealand First intend to carry on their legacy and fight at all times for fairness and the right to real free speech.

    Kind regards

    Doug Woolerton MP

    New Zealand First

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  10. burt (8,323 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    I take that point on board.

    So…

    It’s disgusting that Winston First waits to get the maximum interest from the party investments before repaying interest free money he was not legally entitled to spend the way he did.

    Self serving scum !

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  11. kehua (225 comments) says:

    Stick to the patsy questions Doug, it suits you. Winston for Finance Minister? Yeah right!

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  12. Yvette (2,852 comments) says:

    So has Ron Mark anything glib to say now about the proceeds of crime?

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  13. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Our forefathers’ respected fairness and left countries that were run by people of entrenched power, be it through wealth or inherited privilege.

    What bilious bollocks! Entrenched power is apparently obscene if one is subject to it… but if one is supporting power entrenchment laws (read EFB), and benefiting thereafter, then it’s fine.

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  14. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I’d love to see an audit of where the Winston First party found their $186k.

    I wonder how much would have come from large anonymous donations dates on or after the date they declared their support for the EFB?

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  15. john (478 comments) says:

    Do you remember this snake oil salesman when he launched his party, AND WE ALL THOUGHT THERE WOULD BE A CHANGE???? rubbish always wears nice suits (us stupid idiots pay for them) PS a stake in the heart might slow this party boy down

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  16. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Winston Peters is such a stickler for abiding by the rules, that I wonder how he fronted up to this Section of the Electoral Act when agreeing to pay back monies illegally spent on the last election?:

    220 Providing money for illegal purposes

    Where any person knowingly provides money for any purpose which is contrary to the provisions of this Act, or for any election expenses incurred in excess of the maximum amount allowed by this Act, or for repaying any money expended in any such payment or expenses, that person is guilty of an illegal practice.

    This Section is still viable on the Electoral Act.

    So how does Winston Peters evade it? Does he take refuge behind the Validation Act? Does this Act negate the above section of the Electoral Act?

    Yet the Validation Act contains the following Section 6:

    “Nothing in this Act affects the criminal liability of any person”.

    Does the above section have any bearing on the present situation. anyone out there with any thoughts?

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  17. GPT1 (2,123 comments) says:

    Pathetic. Nothing is ever Winston’s fault – in the world according to Winston.

    It is a disgrace that he keeps getting in. Does nothing for two years every election cycle and then beats up on the immigrants (or some other push button issue) for election year to get back in.

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  18. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Well GPT1,,

    Winston is on the way out believe it or not.

    His grey power support is diminishing rapidly and with Labour also on the decline his political presence is going to be miniscule. If he remains anywhere it will be as ambassodorial with no input in Wellington.

    How ever long an ambassodors tenure is, is however long Winston has.

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  19. GPT1 (2,123 comments) says:

    Hinamanu – please be right!

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  20. neontiger (99 comments) says:

    And National’s blind trusts?

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  21. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Neontiger:

    That’s a thread-jacking comment. Can you give us a page reference in the Auditor-General’s report where he commented on “National’s blind trusts”? No?

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  22. Manolo (14,082 comments) says:

    Seeing is believing, and in the case of Peters, the poodletician, even more so.

    Lets wait for that check to be written before NZF can claim obedience to the law.

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  23. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    I find the November claim so totally bogus, right on election time.

    Obviously NZF confidently know something the rest of us don’t.

    No early election ??

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  24. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Manolo:

    Judging by their performance, I think it’s NZL (New Zealand Last).

    We should also cut Peters some slack. Remember it took them quite some time to get legal advice and then discuss it as a caucus. No doubt it’ll also take them quite some time to write out a cheque and then discuss it as a caucus.

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  25. Dead Duck Dux (181 comments) says:

    POC – how’s neontiger’s comment a thread jack? The post was about election expenditure. I introduced the blind trust issue in the first post. I wouldn’t be too sensitive about this. It’s a legimate question…although I am interested in all parties eschewing blind trusts – it’s not just a National issue. People focus on National because by far it is the party that has the most significant anonymous or masked donations. But let’s face it, they all do it. Remember Labour’s Australian billionaire?

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  26. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    DDD:

    Fair enough, I can see your point. Truthfully, I’d forgotten about your opening comment by the time I’d read through to the end. There’s certainly an unresolved debate over what the rules should be.

    I was perhaps taking an overly narrow view of the Auditor-General’s report. But, for me, the issue of NZF paying it back is a case of compliance with the Auditor-General interpretation (which other parties have abided by, if begrudgingly).

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  27. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    It’s a pity they’re paying it back and not litigating the point. The AG’s approach was contestable and, in my view, wrong. I thought Winston was the only one with the vigor to take a real crack at it…

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  28. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “I thought Winston was the only one with the vigor to take a real crack at it…”

    We used to wonder at Winstons vigor, that was the vigor that got NZF so far.

    Now we just wonder what Winston is using his vigor for…..

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  29. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Dean:

    No. It’s not a pity they’re paying it back, as you say, but time to pay it back. NZF took (if we naively take their public utterances at face value) extensive legal advice on the point. Time has marched on and any “appeal period” (at least politically, if not legally) has surely expired.

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  30. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Actually I’ve just had another thought.

    Let’s assume that NZF spent the money. They’ve had a whip-round (in a non-Panty Slut Boy kind of way) and raised the money again. Then they’ve put that into a term deposit (presumably while they’ve taken legal advice and applied delay tactics).

    There’s a slight distinction between earning interest on money raised by NZF members, and penalty interest accrued on outstanding debts to the Crown.

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  31. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    Let us note that the AG did not enforce regulations in 2002 and while Labour and National were warned about this not being the case again in 2005 – other parties were not so warned.

    Thus Greens, NZF and United Future acted in good faith – they were entitled to the money and had used it for campaigning in the past without censure.

    In Labour’s case repayment is like a fine for a knowing breach of the rules, in the case of these 3 parties it’s harsh.

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  32. vto (1,131 comments) says:

    thats bullshit. How about they get charged ‘use of money interest’ like we all get charged.

    at every turn they cheat

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  33. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    SPC:

    How can you sleep at night, having dispensed with the maxim: “ignorance of the law is no excuse”?

    You also raise a red herring. The Auditor-General had, apparently, no particular reason to consider the matter in 2002. It’s not at all unusual in the law for a judge to pass a novel ruling, and then everyone just has to live by it. Or do you see things differently?

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  34. Sofia (869 comments) says:

    I think it is really great that Winston is paying back the money that he misappropriated and, being a man of such honesty and integrity, that he is going to return it with the interest it has been earning from the investment he has placed it in. I will even ignore the fact that to have placed it in such investment he must have had the whole amount all the time, unlike Labour who had to scrap theirs together with a Big Whip Around and fund raising appeals. But although Winston is paying it back with interest, I do hope the media doesn’t react as they did with the recent welfare fraudster who took around $ 3 million or so but invested it wisely enough to make about $ 500,000, which was then seen as a windfall return and he was treated almost as a hero. But no, as long as the media don’t give the public the wrong impression again, or Winston doesn’t make unreasonable publicity gains out of it, I think it is great that New Zealand First is paying back not only the misappropriated money at last, but interest as well. And of course Peter Dunne, being of equal if not greater honesty and integrity than Winston, will now follow Winston’s example. Great.

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  35. vto (1,131 comments) says:

    you fullas are smart and literate. I can see i’m going to have to lift my game to show you that I’m right about things.

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  36. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    VTO,,

    you’re not John Carter are you??

    you know you learnt your lesson witth Banksie,,

    shame on your sarcasm

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  37. Murray M (455 comments) says:

    lol Sofia

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  38. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Sofia:

    I will even ignore the fact that to have placed it in such investment he must have had the whole amount all the time, unlike Labour who had to scrap theirs together with a Big Whip Around and fund raising appeals.

    I don’t think NZ First received its party appropriation and then parked it in a term deposit. Presumably they raised the money again from party faithful when the Auditor-General handed down his ruling.

    On a different point, Peters is sharpening his knife set with this announcement:

    Mr Peters told the convention the announcement had been left till this morning as it was proper for it to be made to the party first. “You see it is you that we are accountable to and that is why we are making this statement today.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4252900a11.html

    So now we know that NZF doesn’t see itself as primarily accountable to the taxpayer for its party appropriations. It’s just the select few who pay the party membership fee that count.

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  39. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Sofia: Honesty among thieves? You have sussed it out correctly.

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  40. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    This wouldn’t be an issue if the law recognised that the definition of cost properly includes the time value of money.

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  41. fatman43us (166 comments) says:

    Woolerton – the fool who will tell us all how to spend our money more wisely ……..on the dregs called NZ First. Hoiw is my use of my own funds to espouse my own views an affront on the electoral process Doug?? Durrr

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  42. natural party of govt (461 comments) says:

    “New Zealand First was entitled to the money, what the Auditor-General determined was that it was not entitled to spend the money the way it did.”

    The idiots should have spent it on private polling instead.

    But the fools thought they would try and inform the public of their policies rather than find out how best to manipulate them.

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  43. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    But the fools thought they would try and inform the public of their policies rather than find out how best to manipulate them.

    Oh yes, that’s what we need. More politcal parties manipulating the voters.

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  44. natural party of govt (461 comments) says:

    “Oh yes, that’s what we need. More politcal parties manipulating the voters.”

    I can recommend an excellent polling company that NZF can spend their taxpayer funded handouts this time around. Its an Auditor General approved activity.

    Unlike informing voters.

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  45. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    POC:

    So now we know that NZF doesn’t see itself as primarily accountable to the taxpayer for its party appropriations.

    Um… I despise Peters, but let’s just keep one foot in RealityTown. The officers of New Zealand First are “primarily accountable” responsible to its members when it comes to the prudential and lawful administration of that party’s funds and assets.

    Having said that, nice to see Winston put on the cyanide lipstick and gave Slugger Trev the kiss of death. Now we know objecting to common assault is ‘do-gooder PC nonsense’ I’m off to bash the next old bastard who provokes me by talking nonsense about what a fine man Winnie The Poo is.

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  46. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Craig:

    Your contributions usually crack me up – and this is no exception.

    I quite agree that NZF is accountable to its ailing grey-haired members for use of party funds and assets. But my choice of phrase wasn’t the best, as that wasn’t what I was referring to. What I meant by “primarily accountable to the taxpayer for its party appropriations” was that NZF is also accountable to the taxpayer for application of taxpayer-sourced funds.

    Oh, and let us know how your common assaults work out. I rather suspect you’ll find yourself in clink in shorter time than Helen Clark’s Waimate-Christchurch speed-a-thon.

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  47. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    How can you sleep at night, having dispensed with the maxim: “ignorance of the law is no excuse”?

    A bit presumptious of you – the “law” had never been so identified as meaning this in the past. In fact it could be argued until a ruling of the sort made by the AG (which he made known to Labour and National alone) the “law” meaning this had not come into existence. And that it had only come into existence for those informed ot this.

    Did the AG make any public statement on the matter prior to the 2005 cmapaign? All law is publicly declared on coming into existence for all. Not just declared to some.

    Try making a compulsory public notification and do so in a way in which many interested parties are not informed and see what happens. It may be a crime. Especially if these parties are financially disadvantaged by this.

    “You also raise a red herring. The Auditor-General had, apparently, no particular reason to consider the matter in 2002.”

    Apparently – some people get a warning and some people don’t. Imagine walking into a bar there is a group of people all drinking under age – some are warned to leave and others not warned are then arrested. Arbitrary enforcement of law brings it into disrepute.

    “It’s not at all unusual in the law for a judge to pass a novel ruling, and then everyone just has to live by it. Or do you see things differently?”

    When a jusge makes a novel interpretation of law – it’s declared to all the public not just certain people and not others.

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  48. vto (1,131 comments) says:

    hina and manu, no I am most certinly not john carter. sheesh. but anyway i wasnt being sarcastic, there are a lot of clearly intelligent people who post on here (and some idiots). They go to a lot of effort to outline their arguments. Maybe I need to do the same. That’s all.

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  49. David Baigent (172 comments) says:

    Peak Oil Conspiracy, thank you for your very clear and simple comment.
    That’s a valuable contribution.

    For the future I’ll look forward with interest to any analysis you may choose make once the Electoral Finance Bill is passed through the House.

    As there will not be any actual case law for the EFB, it would be instructive to examine the changes that the EFB took going from, the draft as presented to the Select Committee and finally the Bill as passed through the third reading.
    thanks db

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  50. Lindsay Addie (1,595 comments) says:

    I saw Ron Mark on Agenda talking about the money and other issues and thought him evasive and was condescending towards the interviewers, though I must add it was good to see Barry Soper give him a hard time.

    Mark is a great big political phoney like his beloved leader……………….

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  51. Yvette (2,852 comments) says:

    “Could we have just a little less of all the hectoring, lecturing, prissy, do-gooder, PC, finger-pointing at Trevor Mallard because he made one mistake?”
    This is not completely laughable so much for what it says, but as who actually said it: Labour’s most hectoring, lecturing, prissy, do-gooder, PC, finger-pointer Winston Peters.

    Who would believe a word he says about paying money back or anything much else?

    I’d like to say something nice about Winston, but he hasn’t announced his retirement from politics yet.

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  52. GerryandthePM (328 comments) says:

    On Agenda Ron Mark was emphatic that they are NOT “paying it back”.

    The AG is wrong.

    The money is not owed.

    However , at some time when the Leader thinks it is appropriate, they will make a contribution, an unspecified amount,…..just so that the Press will have to find something else to ask them.

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  53. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    Your contributions usually crack me up – and this is no exception.

    Thanks for the compliment. :) Still, I understand what you were getting at now, and thanks for the considered response.

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  54. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    This is not completely laughable so much for what it says, but as who actually said it: Labour’s most hectoring, lecturing, prissy, do-gooder, PC, finger-pointer Winston Peters.

    More to the point, Yvette, it’s not laughable at all considering Ron Mark is quite happy to go out and talk tough about law and order (and at the risk of taking a low blow, perhaps a convicted statutory rapist should mount that particular bandwagon very carefully indeed) – if you’re some black thug with a gang patch. When you’re one of Hell-en’s Angels, it seems, there’s quite another standard in play.

    And when it comes to the painfully obvious bad blood between Tau and his former pals in Winston First… well, I always say there are people in this world whose contempt I wear as a badge of honour.

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  55. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    Peak Oil Conspiracy:

    I’m not convinced it’s as simple as that. See my post (and related posts) from last year:

    > http://www.laws179.co.nz/2006/08/shifting-goalposts.html

    And, of course, we must not forget that although the spending was not permissible according to the AG, it was not a case of “overspending”. As a result, paying the money back means that the particular Votes were underspent in that particular year. It’s arguable, therefore, the parties ought to be entitled to re-spend the paid back funds – this time on permissible spending…

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  56. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Dean:

    I’ve looked at your post; you certainly make some interesting points.

    We agree (and therefore presumably disagree with SPC) that the issue is one of legitimate expectation in administrative decision-making. An administrative decision is communicated to the specific parties, not necessarily to the world at large. Whether law is publicly-declared (as with statute law) is beside the point. I note SPC has yet to rebut this point.

    We also agree that your first position (apply restitutionary principles to recover funds illegally expended) probably represents “a conservative view of the orthodox legal position“.

    I’m rather less convinced about the relative merits of your second position (the change in position from the public body undermines the Rule of Law and the public body should be “estopped” from now seeking to recover the funds) – at least applied to these facts. [I’ve downloaded your LLM thesis attached to the post (hopefully you don’t find this objectionable) and look forward to digesting it at some point. Perhaps this will change my mind.]

    I take your point about the “central factual assumption underscoring [your] analysis”: “Citizen A was assured by Public Body B that this grants funding was legitimate, had no reasonable reason to doubt that assurance, and no reasonably available mechanism by which to otherwise confirm that expectation”. This probably covers extreme scenarios where Public Body B communicates a ridiculous assurance that was patently incorrect, so Citizen A shouldn’t be able to t rely on it.

    But my thoughts at the moment still favour the first position. It’s perhaps a stretch – but one can also see possible analogies with force majeure and frustration. I deliberately include both of these so we cover the different scenarios. Force majeure is usually contractual; frustration is implied by law. Both excuse non-performance (of contracts, so slightly different from administrative decisions, I realise) due to external events (in this case, the AG’s decision).

    In other words, why can’t it be the case that one administrative body’s decision-making process is impliedly subject to review by another administrative body – particularly prudential review of the sort carried out by the AG?

    I can think of other cases – but it’s perhaps getting too close to my professional work to discuss here – where an administrative decision is reversed after reconsideration/further information regarding process/legality comes to light.

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  57. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    SPC: The AG in his 6 October 2006 report on the 2005 election.

    3.36: I believed my 2005 report would change the behaviour of MPs and parliamentary parties. My discussions with them during the preparation of that report would have made it clear that past practices in a range of government and parliamentary publicity and advertising were unsatisfactory.

    3.37: I deliberately decided to publish my 2005 Report before the Election to provide a clear signal to MPS and parliamentary parties about the need to be careful during the pre election period…..I thought there was little doubt that it was not permissible to use public money from the Party and Members Support appropriations for electioneering. I expected MPS and
    parliamentary parties to be especially careful in that area”.

    3.40: Accepted conventions or practices have no standing when considering whether public money has been spent lawfully……..

    3.41: If the current conventions and practices allow advertising to take place for electioneering purposes, then these conventions and practices are inappropriate because they have permitted unlawful expenditure to take place.

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  58. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    Peak Oil Conspiracy

    I hope that it’s not going to be presumptious to disagree with your posts.

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  59. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    And I don’t see explaining another point of view as “lecturing” you at all, even if that is how you listen to another point of view on a legal issue.

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  60. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    SPC:

    A more detailed resonse from you would have been nice, rather than sniping tactics.

    Feel free to disagree – but you could at least explain on what basis. I’ve addressed your “publicly declared law” point. That was at the bedrock of your argument. Still no response from you?

    And read:

    A bit presumptious of you – the “law” had never been so identified as meaning this in the past.

    with:

    And I don’t see explaining another point of view as “lecturing” you at all, even if that is how you listen to another point of view on a legal issue.

    They’re both your quotes. You said “the law” as if you had something meaningful to say about it. Even Dean Knight (who, hopefully, you’ll agree knows something about the law) only goes as far as saying that his alternative view of the law is “gaining increasing support in public law”.

    Your comments?

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  61. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    Frank

    I think the AG was being a little disingenuous when he referred to the prior warning. I posted on this previously, including the extract which was the purported warning.

    > http://www.laws179.co.nz/2006/08/retrospective-or-retroactive.html

    I’m not yet convinced the Auditor General’s “warning” (NZHerald: “MPs knew rules on spending, says watchdog”) was enough to displace any reasonable expectation induced by Parliamentary Services. The so-called warning was made in the OAG report: Government and parliamentary publicity and advertising, “Part 6 – Advertising in the pre-election period”. The relevant extract seems to be as follows:

    6.5 During an election period, successive governments have chosen to avoid conducting advertising campaigns that may create a perception that funds are being used to finance publicity for party political purposes. Paragraph 4.14 of the Cabinet Manual 2001 states –
    In the period immediately before a general election, the government is not bound by the caretaker convention…unless
    the election has resulted from the government losing the support of the House. But successive governments have chosen to restrict their actions to some extent at this time, in recognition of the fact that an election, and therefore potentially a change of government, is imminent. For example…some government advertising has been thought to be inappropriate during the election campaign (that is, where it might create a perception that public funds are being used to finance publicity for party political purposes – see the Guidelines for Government Advertising at appendix 2 for general guidance). In practice, restraints have tended to be applied from approximately three months before the general election is due, or (if the period between the announcement of the election and polling day is less than three months) from the announcement of the election.

    6.6 Judgements about when and how restraints should be applied are matters for Ministers and, ultimately, the Prime Minister. The question under the guidelines of whether publicity or advertising has resulted in public funds being “used to finance publicity for party political purposes” must be considered with reference not only to the content of the publicity or advertising, but also to its timing.
    6.7 The Members’ Handbook Guidelines expressly exclude “party political, promotional or electioneering material for the purpose of supporting the election of any person” from the definition of “parliamentary business” in relation to advertising by MPs or parliamentary parties.
    6.8 There is no guidance as to how this should be applied in the period before Parliament is dissolved. However, there is clear potential for MPs’ and parliamentary parties’ publicity and dvertising activities in the weeks and months leading up to a dissolution to bring considerable party political benefit. That potential increases as political content is permitted in such publicity and advertising.

    6.9 It needs to be recognised that government and parliamentary publicity and advertising outside the 3-month period before a general election can have electoral advantage for governing parties and parliamentary parties.
    6.10 It is clearly impracticable for government publicity and advertising to cease completely during a pre-election period. The routine business of government must continue, and publicity and advertising is an integral part of that business. However, the potential for improper benefit exists nonetheless.
    6.11 The basic expectations of the Cabinet Manual 2001 and the Members’ Handbook Guidelines are clear about conducting advertising campaigns close to a general election, and not using parliamentary advertising for electioneering or related purposes. Beyond those basic expectations, the potential for indirect political benefit requires risk management by Ministers and government department chief executives.

    6.15 There is a need for similar guidance in respect of government department and ministerial publicity activities in a pre-election period. In recent months, we have been approached on several occasions for assurance about advertising campaigns at public expense that have been planned by government departments or Crown entities during a general election year. In each case, the content of the advertising was consistent with the Government Advertising Guidelines, had the advertising been scheduled to take place outside an election period.
    6.16 We do not regard it as our role to make judgements on whether electoral advantage might accrue as a result of particular publicity or advertising being undertaken close to an election. In our view, that judgement is one for chief executives and, ultimately, for Ministers.
    6.17 However, the making of those judgements would clearly be enhanced if there were more comprehensive guidance about how to manage the risks involved.

    Okay, so there is an oblique warning about the care that needs to be taken with such spending. But, if anything, the report seems to augment the view that there was uncertainty about what was permissible, leaving room for the conclusion that the expenditure may have been expressly or implicitly approved by Parliamentary Services.

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  62. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    POC

    “A more detailed resonse from you would have been nice, rather than sniping tactics.”

    I quoted your own words back at you and you accuse me of sniping tactics?

    It was you who wrote

    “It’s a bit presumptive of you to lecture me on the law.”

    I replied to that with,

    I hope that it’s not going to be presumptious to disagree with your posts.
    And I don’t see explaining another point of view as “lecturing” you at all, even if that is how you listen to another point of view on a legal issue.

    If simply not agreeing with your sniping remarks is sniping, I wonder if this is really the debate on this issue I want to have.

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  63. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    SPC:

    You seem determined to avoid debating the issue.

    You say:

    If simply not agreeing with your sniping remarks is sniping, I wonder if this is really the debate on this issue I want to have.

    I wonder how you reconcile that statement with what I actually said:

    Feel free to disagree – but you could at least explain on what basis. I’ve addressed your “publicly declared law” point. That was at the bedrock of your argument. Still no response from you?

    Of course, if you prefer not to debate the issue, I quite understand. So far you’ve been quite unable to respond to my points, despite being invited several times to do so.

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  64. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Oh, and it was you who wrote:

    A bit presumptious of you – the “law” had never been so identified as meaning this in the past.

    I hope you didn’t mind me quoting your words back at you?

    Now, since you didn’t get terribly far on the diversionary tactics, could we kindly get back to the issue at hand?

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  65. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    POC

    This all began when you wrote

    How can you sleep at night, having dispensed with the maxim: “ignorance of the law is no excuse”?

    I wrote

    A bit presumptious of you – the “law” had never been so identified as meaning this in the past.

    The law is not by maxim.

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  66. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    SPC:

    Any chance of you commenting on the substantive issue?

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  67. SPC (5,787 comments) says:

    POC

    If you really want to hear my response – and it seems you really really want to. The issue died for me with Frank’s post. I was interested in the issue of law as it pertains to justice for the minor parties – it seems they did have some reason to be aware of what the AG was saying and reason to raise their plans with him to check. So for me, the sense that they were treated unjustly is lessened with that info from Frank re the AG report.

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  68. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,435 comments) says:

    Thanks SPC – I genuinely am interested in debating the issues, which is the reason I visit Kiwiblog, and so I appreciate your response. While I haven’t read through the AG’s report fully, I agree that, based on Frank’s quote, the minor parties have no leg to stand on.

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