Legalising the Pledge Card

November 5th, 2007 at 9:51 am by David Farrar

The SST reveals the second part of ’s plan to skew the election rules for the next election.

The Auditor-General found last election that Labour had spent $800,000 of taxpayer money illegally. Labour is about to introduce a new law which will over-turn the Auditor-General’s (and Solicitor-General’s) interpretation of the electioneering and substitute a definition which will allow it to spend its parliamentary budget on another pledge card.

At the exact time that Labour and allies are seeking to restrict the money than can be spent by everyone else, they are throwing open the gates on their parliamentary spending. Under this new law, Labour could totally legally spent $2 million on advertising from its parliamentary budget in the week before the election, and not only have the taxpayer pay for it, but not have it count as election advertising under the Electoral Finance Bill.

The net effect of the Electoral Finance Bill and the Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill will be to legalise Labour’s illegal expenditure in 2005, and to criminalise what was legal expenditure in 2005 by other parties.

Now what do you call a country where the Government breaks the law, and then changes it so they can do the same thing again – but legally – while at the same time making illegal the previous legal activities of their critics?

This is one of those rare times where it is not hyperbole to label this as corrupt conduct. The Chief Electoral Officer, the Electoral Commission, the Auditor-General and the Solicitor-General all found the pledge card to be electioneering. A non-corrupt Government doesn’t vote with its mates to change the law to overturn the decisions of those impartial bodies of state.

Labour even voted to retrospectively amend the law last year to prevent a law suit on the pledge card, which would have allowed a High Court Judge to rule whether or not it was electioneering.

Can anyone really argue that an election pledge card should not be treated as an election expense? Well it won’t be under Labour’s two proposed laws.

Labour and other parliamentary parties will be able to use taxpayer funds to do full page newspaper ads the week before the election. So long as they do not explicitly ask for votes, they will be legal under labour’s new law.

On the day before the election Labour could spend one million dollars of taxpayer funding on say four fullpage advertisements in every newspaper in New Zealand. They could detail all of Labour’s proposed policies if re-elected, and all would be not only legally funded by the taxpayer, but would not even count as part of Labour’s election spending.

I hope National, and presumably at least ACT, fight this law with everything they have got. The Government plans to pass the law without even referring it to a select committee it seems (as not yet introduced and plans to pass by year end). They don’t want to have the public have a say. It’s up the the public and the media to demand they get a say.

Tags: ,

180 Responses to “Legalising the Pledge Card”

  1. Monty (965 comments) says:

    why am I not surprised at the further corruption of the electoral system by Clark. After the EFB i thought what else could they do? Well this seems to be the answer.

    Labour is totally corrupt and this proves the point. Why is this not front page news. How will the trolls that infect this site defend this?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. David Baigent (172 comments) says:

    Should this move by the Labour led government come to pass, New Zealand voters will have unavoidable evidence that self serving corruption actually does exist in this country.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Sounds more like Venezuela or Zimbabwe, than it does New Zealand – how things have changed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Flagging Red Dog (27 comments) says:

    I would like some thoughts from other Labour supporters on this issue.
    As it is continually blighting the polls for us, does this electoral Finance Bill have to be ramrodded through so relentlessly? If we don’t park it up for a bit our polls will be further damaged.(Roger watch them all attack me for this but it is a concern I have)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Lance (2,541 comments) says:

    Oh.. I await the slimy excuses from the usual suspects. Saying that Labour are indeed righteous for doing this and evil National need suppressed anyway possible.
    Let the BS begin…………

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Wodger127 (38 comments) says:

    Appalling, but unsurprising given the caning Labour got after the last election from public officials, and the public back lash.

    Ram through some enabling legislation (I’ll be surprised if the EFB changes in any significant way) and carry on.

    DPF – I think it would be good if you could re-post the scans of Mike Smith’s letters to the Chief Electoral Officer around the last election

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2006/05/the_offer.html etc

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. dad4justice (7,934 comments) says:

    “Labour is about to introduce a new law which will over-turn the Auditor-General’s (and Solicitor-General’s)”

    Ok , one for the red team legal eagles or should I say sparrows ? Anyway , question, will this rort have the approval of Sir Palmer of the inept law commission ?

    I am rather confused as a constituent , as never in my life have I seen such an abuse of statute law !!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Tane, roger, robinsod, sonc (where the hell is he.?.)… i’m with lance on this one. what have you got to say?

    the NZ voter (and i include myself in this assessment) have really been dummed down. where are the street marches, grafitti, windscreen flyers and parliament-front protests?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    where are the street marches, grafitti, windscreen flyers and parliament-front protests?

    Unfortunately the Centre Right is not well known for protest action, typically we bend over and take it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Yvette (2,739 comments) says:

    As a sidebar, but reflecting the same dishonesty and corruption, note the heavy emphasis on blaming Treasury for the about turn on tax cuts – Treasury had misinformed us on their affordability, and that surpluses had become ‘structural’ – means: so frequent and large it is no longer possible to avoid the conclusion we are grossly overtaxing the population.

    But we will now use their money to bribe them with tax cuts, and of what is left we’ll use what we like [what this corrupt law is about] to publicise it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. insider (1,022 comments) says:

    The other worry from this story is that spending ‘approved’ by Parliamentary Services will no longer be able to be challenged.

    No offence to the PS people, but does anyone seriously think they will stand up to being heavied by H2 and co?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. clintheine (1,568 comments) says:

    Silence from the usual bunch of nohopers I see.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Inventory2 (10,162 comments) says:

    Thread-jack alert – roger nome is here!

    rakaunui(moderation):Off Topic, comment will be deleted –
    Use the General Debate Thread, if you believe your comment has any value.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. David Farrar (1,869 comments) says:

    Stay on topic people. And it’s not very helpful to demand that certain commenters comment within minutes of a thread starting. If people want to comment they’ll do so without needing encouragement. You can comment in the general debate thread about the significance of any lack of comment.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    rakaunui(moderation)

    Sorry about that, my bad.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    This is a disturbing turn of events. As perhaps more of an outsider to the history behind NZ politics, it is worrying to see how people’s freedoms are being erroded by one party.

    Think the terrorism bill, the Electoral Finance Bill, the legalizing the pledge card action and now this. Imagine for a moment something similar to that had happened in America. Or anywhere else in the world.

    And I’d bet everyone would be decrying them for it. But here?

    National Bad. Labour Good. Do as you will.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    robinsod knows fuck all about my family sir, and quite frankly you are showing yourself to be just as small of a person as he is by making that comment. Mind you when it comes to robinsod, what level of debate should would one expect from a 15 yo twerp anyway – whats your excuse Roger?

    rakaunui(moderation):Off Topic, comment will be deleted –
    Use the General Debate Thread, if you believe your comment has any value.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. dad4justice (7,934 comments) says:

    I cannot believe the Solicitor – General David Collins could possibly stay silent on this very serious law issue which is , grounded on coercion ? It is plain as day to see that this is the obvious survival tactics of corruption by a clearly desperate / lost the plot government ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    All this because of a few pamphlets at the last election? I bet the Exclusive Brethren never hoped in thier wildest dreams that they could be so influential!

    It reminds me of the story of a Jewish man in Germany in the 1930′s. He lived in a small shack on the outskirts of Dresden. He was very old, and very poor, he kept a few goats, and had a small garden, which he used to feed himself, He made a point of reading all the anti-semitic pamphlets and propoganda he could, and when he was asked why, he replied “I like to read about how powerful I am!”

    (The jewish colloary is intentional!)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. infused (644 comments) says:

    wow… that’s all I can say…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Inventory2 (10,162 comments) says:

    Well said DPF.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. PaulL (5,969 comments) says:

    So, if we assume that:
    1. The EFB goes through without significant change (likely, since they have the numbers), AND
    2. This new proposal also goes through in the quiet season

    What would it mean? It really comes down to how the media treat it, since nobody else will have a right to complain. This bill would be identified with a particular political party or candidate, therefore complaining about it would require registration before the election period – that is to say, before 1 January. Since the EFB will probably be passed only a few days before that, it seems that most people wouldn’t understand the obligation to register.

    There are a few ways to influence what goes on:
    1. Protest action. This is a great way to achieve publicity without needing to spend money. The media provide the publicity, since they have a privileged position under the EFB they don’t need to register.

    2. Civil disobedience. Ignore the EFB, and carry on a campaign against this new bill. Arresting and charging everybody who does this would be incredibly bad publicity, and therefore impractical.

    My concern is that the potential vote for National + coalition partners is not much (if any) higher than the potential vote for Labour + coalition partners. It won’t take much to tip this, and the combination of these two bills could well be enough.

    I thought National got a parliamentary budget as well. Would this not also allow National to advertise in a similar manner? That is to say, this is effectively the public funding of political parties that Labour originally wanted, but being done under the radar?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Mal (29 comments) says:

    David, seriously, surely the time has come for action to expose the corruption of this regime. Could someone please tell me why the toady media have no balls any more to attack the government or has the corruption become so imbedded everyone’s running scared. I am sorry to say that while there are outstanding and inciteful comments on Blogsphere the rest of the world continues in blissful ignorance at the behest of our corrupt so-called leaders. When are we going to see leadership from a new quarter to counter the evil being perpetrated against the citizens of this country. If words in this blog counted for anything surely we would see democracy starting to reap the rewards it is supposed to afford the citizens. But I am starting to see the frustrations that must have been felt by the so-called “terrorists” now facing the wrath of any angry government who will go to any length to shut down criticism reaching it’s precious electorate of paid sycophants(beneficaries). Buying votes is the only major growth industry left in this country and it’s controlled by the greatest monopoly of them all, H1 and H2. This evil has to be removed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Josh (54 comments) says:

    If Labor’s entire package of frankly obscene electoral law “reforms” goes through I would support an active program of civil disobedience.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “This is a disturbing turn of events. As perhaps more of an outsider to the history behind NZ politics, it is worrying to see how people’s freedoms are being erroded by one party.”

    The problem is that the labour party believes that National already has its war-chest sorted (many, many millions), where as Labour doesn’t have the funds to fight National (it isn’t in the pocket of the insurance companies and property developers etc).

    I suspect that the Labour party wouldn’t mind so losing an election on policy and campaign content – that’s what representative democracy’s all about. But to lose an election due to not having the right big- business connections would be the anti-thesis to democracy, it would be a plutocratic outcome. So, this isn’t an excuse for Labour’s actions, but rather what I see as the reasons.

    This could all be fixed by having state funding of parliamentary campaigning. We already have this with the broadcasting budgets – all it would take is an extra 4 million ($1 per New Zealander) or so on top of that to clean up the electoral process – a small price to pay for proper democracy.

    On top of this, restrictions to third party campaigns could be completely done away with until the last 2-3 months before the election – where it could be solely left for the parties to fight it out. That way third parties would have plenty of opportunity to get their messages out, but they wouldn’t be able to flood the media with their partisan propaganda right before the ballots are cast.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. dad4justice (7,934 comments) says:

    The New Zealand Media are all lickspittles for NOT stating the bloody obvious , Auntie Helen’s regime is corrupt . How many more examples do you dumb arse ‘s want ? She must step down now . What a disgraceful women she is !!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    josh – i agree. i sustain a guilty conscience for having overdue library books… but would banish that fear if any of my action(s) could expose these corrupt Labour cowards for what they are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    roger, give up on that ‘big business’ line. it’s tired and doesn’t work any more.

    in fact it is labour that the biggest business backer to ever grace the political landscape – treasury.

    a parliamentary majority + treasury is truely the most unbeatable – if corrupt – combination of campaigns resources.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    KK-

    Just giving an honest evaluation of what I see as the situation. If the changes I suggest were taken up labour wouldn’t be engaging in this blatant chicanery – they wouldn’t need to.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. dad4justice (7,934 comments) says:

    Yes I agree KK, the big business line doesn’t wash with this crew anymore Mr Nomed, as kiwi’s are sick and tired of the disgraceful antic’s of a repugnant government .

    Labour are history, as everybody thinks they are a total freak show of misfits

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    The head noddys in Liarbore must be masochists you would think they would stop while they still have a few voters left. I guess we should be grateful that we do not have a large standing army, the temptation would almost be to much for Dear Leader.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Flagging Red Dog (27 comments) says:

    Roger I agree to a point about public funding of elections but how would the Unions be able to support our cause under this approach?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. ghostwhowalks (389 comments) says:

    Doesnt the existing ( or revised ) total Election spending rules still apply

    So if they ‘spend’ leaders budget in the ‘week before the election’ then the other funding given to parties explicitly for election spending has to remain unspent.

    lets just get the anonymous trusts that fund 80% of national to decide who wins.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. David Farrar (1,869 comments) says:

    Ghost – no it doesn’t as the EFB explicitly excludes parliamentary spending from the totals.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Ghost, change the record please, why not let informed voters decide who wins the election, not the masses brainwashed by a Government controlled media and restrictions of freedom of expression.

    That’s how democracy works, everyone puts policies forward, argue over which one is best and the PUBLIC decides.

    Now we have the incumbant party legislating for the control of the information the public uses to make the decision!

    There are none so blind as those who will not see!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. grumpyoldhori (2,413 comments) says:

    Amusing, it seems that a lot of nat supporters
    believe that a parliamentary majority should only apply when laws go through that they agree with.
    The last time I looked we we governed by
    parliament, not by appointed civil servants.

    So I take it when we next have a Nat government, they will only pass laws that the
    majority of voters agree with?
    For example if they give away assets owned
    by all kiwis to foreign corporations.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Flagging Red Dog:

    The unions would be free to campaign outside of the 2-3 month period, as would National’s property developer mates who want all schools buildings privatised (all aboard the corporate welfare gravy train. toot-toot!).

    [DPF: The EFB will have an 11 month period not a 2 - 3 month period]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Insolent Prick (417 comments) says:

    Roger/Phillip John:

    I congratulate you on trying to engage in the debate.

    Do you really think it is acceptable for a governing party to use legislation to benefit itself just because it hasn’t done the hard work in raising funds to fight an election?

    If you say that the motivation for the EFB is that Labour has no money, but National has lots, is that really a justification for gerrymandering the electoral process?

    Many times in the past Labour has raised more in anonymous donations than National. Frequently in previous elections it has out-spent National. National hasn’t reacted by corruptly changing the law to suit itself.

    If the woeful state of the Labour Party is the real reason why Labour is changing the law to suit itself at the expense of everybody else, isn’t that woeful state a sign that Labour deserves a long period in opposition to recover?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. unaha-closp (1,133 comments) says:

    To Paraphrase the great Rogernome:

    I suspect that the New Zealand people wouldn’t mind so having an election on policy and campaign content – that’s what representative democracy’s all about. But to have an election without the opposition being able to advertise its policies would be the anti-thesis to democracy, it would be a plutocratic outcome. So, this isn’t an excuse for Labour’s actions, but rather what I see as the results.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Insolent Prick (417 comments) says:

    Hori:

    Great to hear that you think it’s perfectly acceptable for a government to ram through fundamental constitutional change to massively benefit itself at the expense of everybody else. In any other country that kind of gerrymandering would be shouted down internationally.

    I can tell you, buddy: if the National Party ever passed a law outlawing free speech, regulating who could say what, while giving huge amounts of government money to the National Party to say what it wanted, then there would be riots in the streets. And I would be joining the riots.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Roger, do you honestly believe that the Labour party is taking the first steps in doing away with our democratic process because they feel that National spends too much money? In the name of fairness?

    No, sorry. My inner cynic thinks they are doing this simply to stay in power. Not so they can fight a “fair” election.

    If they wanted to fight a “fair” election they would have drafted the EFB to clean up anonymous donations. But they didn’t. (The why is a whole different matter … )

    Instead, they drafted a bill that penalizes everyone but themselves, and now they are proposing a second one that would explicitly legalize anything they wished to spend.

    There’s nothing fair about it. No intention of cleaning up our democratic process at all.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. David Baigent (172 comments) says:

    roger nome, A bit of a Freudian slip with your little throw away line.

    “….(all aboard the …. welfare gravy train. toot-toot!).”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. unaha-closp (1,133 comments) says:

    Hori,

    The last time I looked we were still a democracy, not governed by appointed civil servants. Putting through laws that the voters dislike – real stupid, unless they are confident real stupid people will continue to vote for them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Many times in the past Labour has raised more in anonymous donations than National.”

    Really? but the only election year since 1996 in which Labour received more donations than National was 2002 – and even then it was only slightly more (and we all know that big business doesn’t like Mr English). In 2005 National received twice as much in donations, and 80% of that came through anon trusts.

    http://www.elections.org.nz/parties/donations_summary.html#gen2

    “If you say that the motivation for the EFB is that Labour has no money, but National has lots, is that really a justification for gerrymandering the electoral process?”

    It seems you have a comprehension problem IP – I said i saw it as a reason, not an excuse – anyway “gerrymandering” is the the wrong word to use.

    “isn’t that woeful state a sign that Labour deserves a long period in opposition to recover?”

    If by that you mean that any party that can’t attract massive policy buying donations from shady plutocrats is woeful, then yes, labour needs to go back to the drawing board and think about how it can get the plutocrats on side.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Insolent Prick Says: “Do you really think it is acceptable for a governing party to use legislation to benefit itself just because it hasn’t done the hard work in raising funds to fight an election?”

    You have pin pointed the offense, and it is highlighted by the Crimes Act 1961: Members of Parliament cannot advantage themselves to the disadvantage of others. – (Other Political Parties, voter).

    That is the basis of my complaint lodged with Police Commissioner Howard Broad. It is the only way to test the waters.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. deanknight (263 comments) says:

    Hardly “corrupt conduct”.

    It’s a routine part of “dialogue” between the legislature and supervisory bodies such as courts and officials to amend legislation in response. Something called parliamentary sovereignty I believe…

    Now, you might have an objection to the substance of the proposed law and it’s effect on the democratic process. But that’s a different point. The process by which the amendment arises, though, is not unusual or objectionable.

    [DPF: You think amending a law which will affect election spending without even referring the law to a select committee is not unusual and objectionable?]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. dad4justice (7,934 comments) says:

    “anyway “gerrymandering” is the the wrong word to use.”

    I didn’t know kiwiblog had a grammar coach gnome ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    If by that you mean that any party that can’t attract massive policy buying donations from shady plutocrats is woeful, then yes, labour needs to go back to the drawing board and think about how it can get the plutocrats on side.

    Roger, surely if Labour the superior party, then they would be able to win the next election on merit alone, and not need to legislate themselves an advantage.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. unaha-closp (1,133 comments) says:

    Now, you might have an objection to the substance of the proposed law and it’s effect on the democratic process.

    The objection is that the bill institutionalises “corrupt conduct”. The process by which it arrives is irrelevent.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “If they wanted to fight a “fair” election they would have drafted the EFB to clean up anonymous donations. But they didn’t. (The why is a whole different matter … )”

    I think the problem there was possibly that increased public funding of elections was an unpopular idea with the public, so they concluded that to have sufficient funds to carry out a decent campaign they would need to retain anon donations. what the public doesn’t seem to realise is that it wouldn’t actually take very much of an increase in public funding to make the parliamentary campaigns completely publicly funded.

    So anyone who wants clean elections should campaign for complete public funding, so that the anon-donations can be abolished.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Linda Reid (407 comments) says:

    The ability to raise funds to fight an effective election campaign is at test of whether the party’s policies and people are of a standard to attract support. It keep the party leadership in touch with their member.

    Public funding removes the need to keep in touch and gives the existing large parties a massive advantage.

    It is also, IMHO, just plain wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. milo (538 comments) says:

    Roger Nome – thanks for your thoughtful posts.

    The main thing I take issue with is the idea that money buys elections. I just don’t think it does – look at ACT spending milllions for stuff-all in the way of results. Also, I don’t think the monetary advantage really does lie with National. Maybe it does temporarily, but Labour has had pretty strong anonymous donations in the last ten years.

    State funding has its pitfalls, but is worth debating. Recently, it was rejected by parliament.

    But the bigger worry is the style of government. Labour seems to believe the ends justify the means. Where will it stop?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Ithink the problem there was possibly that increased public funding of elections was an unpopular idea with the public, so they concluded that to have sufficient funds to carry out a decent campaign they would need to retain anon donations.”

    If that was the case Labour wouldn’t be so worried about being outspent by National. Although i do agree that it isn’t the biggest determinant of where the votes go, I think it does have an impact at the margins with the “soft-votes” or “swing votes”- and these are the votes that the parties really fight hard over.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    oops – that last post should have been…

    “The main thing I take issue with is the idea that money buys elections. I just don’t think it does – look at ACT spending milllions for stuff-all in the way of results.”

    If that was the case Labour wouldn’t be so worried about being outspent by National. Although i do agree that it isn’t the biggest determinant of where the votes go, I think it does have an impact at the margins with the “soft-votes” or “swing votes”- and these are the votes that the parties really fight hard over.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    If that was the case Labour wouldn’t be so worried about being outspent by National.

    Labour only have themselves to blame for their funds running low. They were caught out last time overspending and quite rightly have been made to pay the money back. Mr Williams and Ms Clark only have themselves to blame, the tax payer should not be required to bail Labour out when it was there own illegal activity trying to rort the system that has left them with an empty account.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Insolent Prick (417 comments) says:

    Admit it Roger/Phillip John. Your heart really isn’t in defending this one, is it? You’re making a valiant attempt, but you simply don’t believe Labour’s lies over this, do you?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Roger: I think the problem there was possibly that increased public funding of elections was an unpopular idea with the public, so they concluded that to have sufficient funds to carry out a decent campaign they would need to retain anon donations.

    No, that is entirely unecessary. The public is not required to fund any political party that decides they want to exist. What is necessary is the crackdown on anonymous donations that Helen Clark and Labour promised but never delivered. That would clear up a lot. It is not the public’s position to involuntarily fund political parties.

    Now, what is your position on this bill in general? Do you believe it to be a good thing or a bad thing? And why?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Flagging Red Dog (27 comments) says:

    Roger, What is the point of them doing that outside the 2-3 month period. The time to make a noise to support the Government is just before an election like 2-3 months, in fact I think the Eb did their pamphlet drop about a week or so before the 2005 election day, thats when the unions would do it best isn’t it ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. andymoore (74 comments) says:

    It’s just disgusting isn’t it mate.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    Nothing should be a surprise from this corrupt govt. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the legislation also has a clause that states Labour will receive a one off payment of $800,000 to compensate them for paying back the money they stole now it’s legal for them to do it again.

    Now what is significant about Nov 5th ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Very good point FRD – my suggestion certainly isn’t perfect. I do think it’s better than what we have now though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. GK (97 comments) says:

    The matter of free elections is this, If party X is any good then vote for them, if they are not then don’t.

    No amount of dollars denied National or purloined by Labour is going to change the fact that its one vote for each person.

    All Labour have done by their course of action has shit in their own hat.

    People aint stupid all the time.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Now what is significant about Nov 5th ?”

    That’s going straight on your SIS file burt, andI’m sure the police will be able to build a case under the TS Act with that little nugget. You’re a gonner mate.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. Inventory2 (10,162 comments) says:

    roger nome – if the key to cleaning up the electoral funding minefield we currently have is the banning of anonymous donations to political parties, then why hasn’t Labour taken this on in the drafting of the EFB?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Flagging Red Dog (27 comments) says:

    Also why does the third party business need to remain like it is as it seems that the EB’s are not stopped at all now by the EFB anyway especially when I thought that was the reason for the bill? This now is unclear to me because Mark Burton et al said in the house that that was why it was brought in but it was obviously wider in intent to clear up the pledge card money that we should be able to spend anyway.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Also why does the third party business need to remain like it is as it seems that the EB’s are not stopped at all now by the EFB anyway especially when I thought that was the reason for the bill?”

    Basically, the bill was just incredibly badly drafted. The word is that it’s going to be substantially altered though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. david (2,548 comments) says:

    burt,
    I suspect that the $800k has gone back into the PS pot (no- not the piss pot but it might as well be) and is available along with whatever additional has been voted into it and is thus available to be spent all over again.

    We would like to think that it would have gone back into the Consolidated Fund like fines and all other Gummint Income and could not be rorted a second time but I think not.

    If I am right then it makes Roger’s cry of poverty ring a bit hollow now wouldn’t it?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. longbow (130 comments) says:

    this country needs a change. be it labour (definitely not helen n michael) or national (john has yet a long way to go). if helen wins next election again, i’m leaving. i gave her and her government another chance after 2005 election. i was wrong.

    i’d like to see how helen and her gang ruling 1 million people on benefits in the end.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    Roger, you said:

    “The problem is that the labour party believes that National already has its war-chest sorted (many, many millions), where as Labour doesn’t have the funds to fight National (it isn’t in the pocket of the insurance companies and property developers etc).”

    and

    “the only election year since 1996 in which Labour received more donations than National was 2002 – and even then it was only slightly more (and we all know that big business doesn’t like Mr English). In 2005 National received twice as much in donations, and 80% of that came through anon trusts.”

    The subtext of what you are saying is that money wins elections. Correct me if I’m wong, but didn’t Labour win in 1999, 2002 and even 2005, when, as you say, National received twice as much in donations? How do you reconcile this glaring inconsistency?

    The thing that has really annoyed me about all this arguing over the pledge card/EB/EFB/National’s GST and so on and so forth is the constant assertion that money wins elections, and the complete inability of anyone pushing that assertion to produce evidence to back it up.

    I also resent the implication in the ‘money wins elections’ line that I’m just some sort of half-wit waiting to have my vote suckered out of me by whoever runs the slickest marketing campaign.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    Damn. wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “The subtext of what you are saying is that money wins elections.”

    If that’s what you read into those comments im afraid you’ve got it completely wrong. What I have said is that the size of the election campaign likely has an impact on the 10% of the voting public that are “soft voters” or “swing voters” – the ones don’t have a strong ideological position, who may be swayed by style, presentation and sheer volume. So, no money doesn’t “win” elections, but you would naive to believe that can’t have a very significant influence (i.e. in a close race 1-2% more or less can make all the difference).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Should have been ….

    So no, money doesn’t necessarily “win” elections, but you would naive to believe that can’t have a very significant influence (i.e. in a close race 1-2% more or less can make all the difference

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    “What I have said is that the size of the election campaign likely has an impact on the 10% of the voting public ”

    “(i.e. in a close race 1-2% more or less can make all the difference).”

    So how does money not “win” that election?

    You fail.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    um, you might want to read the comment that was posted above your last one Kimble.

    You fail.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. dad4justice (7,934 comments) says:

    Mr Mason am I on the SIS list ?

    rakaunui(moderation):: There is no “SIS” list. Its just a wind up.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    No Roger, I wouldn’t have to be naive, I would have to look at the last election: It was close, National had a significant dollar advantage over Labour, and Labour got more votes. Your assertions don’t fit the facts.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “wouldn’t have to be naive, I would have to look at the last election: It was close, National had a significant dollar advantage over Labour,”

    All that means is that if National and Labour had spent the same amount, Labour probably would have won by more ….. My point still stands

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    Look, we ALL believe that money is important in a political campaign. Campaigning costs money. If you have no money, you have no campaign, you have no chance.

    The marginal benefit of spending a few hundred thousand, isnt going to be large, but when you are fighting hard for every single voter it is easy to lose perspective on this value. Limits on spending are put in place for this reason. We dont want access to the political process to be too unaffordable. (A decent level of unaffordability makes sense, though.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Bit of bedtime reading

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10433367

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=1501118&objectid=10433537

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10435443

    rakaunui(moderation): 3 or more links automatically trigger the spam filter. I have just “approved” your comment for you.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    roger nome Says: “So no, money doesn’t necessarily “win” elections.”

    But “Bribes” pledged with taxpayer’s funds are sure fire.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    So money doesn’t win elections, except when it does?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    Labours actions, if undertaken by the National party, would NEVER be accepted by the lefty sychophantic lickspittles trolling this site.

    It just isnt funny anymore that you losers are still supporting this bill. Its pathetic.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. Joker (40 comments) says:

    Both National and Labour have distinct advantages in the kind of people who support them.

    Labour have a huge number working class and middle class supporters(who’s parents were working class Labour supporters) who will vote Labour even if they passed laws which allowed Government to set fire to their children.

    National have had the traditional backingof business owners and hard working individuals who are willing and able to show their support by financial means.

    Labour legislating to neutralise the benefit of that support is as ethical as a National Government proposing that the right to vote is taken away from the South Auckland thickies.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. Spam (595 comments) says:

    Labour using tax-payer’s money: Important publicity of policies.
    National using their own money: Dangerous subversive propoganda promoted by big business with the sole aim of installing a plutocratic dictator.

    We know that Chris Trotter believes in “courageous corruption”. Ever think that the Labour leadership team believes in the same?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    sean14:

    In some elections it probably is a deciding factor, in the majority it probably isn’t. Still it’s important enough to regulate though – in fact for this reason spending is currently regulated. Those regulations need to change with the times though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  86. Spam (595 comments) says:

    Labours actions, if undertaken by the National party, would NEVER be accepted by the lefty sychophantic lickspittles trolling this site.

    Labours actions, if undertaken by the National party, would NEVER be accepted by the righty sychophantic lickspittles trolling this site..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  87. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    The real difference is, if National HAD tried to bring in this exact same legislation, WE wouldnt be supporting it.

    If you refuse to believe that, then ask yourself, why are you supporting a bill that you think we would support if our Party was in government?

    Then ask, how can it not unfairly benefit the government of the day?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  88. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    Thanks Spam.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  89. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    “Those regulations need to change with the times though.”

    Yup, National is in government then, Labour is in government now. Differnet times call for different legislation.

    There is a time for free political speech, and Labour will tell us when that is.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  90. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    This news is hardly new. It has been reported on I’d say around 6 months ago. I’ve posted the link to the article several times. Why are we all getting so excited now?

    Did anybody really think that when I referred to ‘moves to ratify the emergency legislation’ ad infinitum – that I was just plucking it out of thin air?

    Really people, there is nothing to see here, move on…

    So far we have:
    Helen Clark’s pledge to ‘stop anonymous donations’
    Attempt to get state-funded election chests, failed
    Badly drafted Electoral reform without proper public consultation.
    Dubious legal advice about the Bill of Rights, bought with political favouritism (Val Sim/Labour)
    Closed-door party conspiracy to ram through a new law on Election Spending.
    Anonymous donations left untouched.
    Ongoing demonisation of Exclusive Brethren for political purposes
    Select Committee rigged to give a ‘fair’ hearing to Nick Hager’s gut feelings
    But not to the HRC OR Law Society
    Clark claiming “Our advice is it [THE EFB] does not contravene the bIll of Rights’ (see 1st point)
    ‘It is to stop People Like John Key and the Exclusive Brethren rorting the election process.” (Sept 16th)
    Advice from the HRC amd Law Society which claim the Bill contravenes kiwi’s human RIghts, and is so badly worded it should be scrapped. In fact it is such an incompetent piece of legislation that, far from stoppingelection rorting it would ‘encourage, even incentivise’ it!
    Major fall out – Dunne some Greens, Hide
    A court challenge to Val Sim’s legal advice re the Bill of Rights
    Now this SST Report and the attached publicity re the hidden agenda of the Bill to grab more cash for Labour, while limiting cash for the opposition.

    And still we have Party Political whores completely willing to spread their legs for Labour and come into the debate claiming that it is all about ‘stopping National from rorting elections’.

    They really should be ashamed of themselves, they are selling New Zealandd’s democratic culture down the pan.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  91. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    roger nome

    So to summarise your points on election spending… Labour’s $800K overspend in 2005 might have swayed the vote by as much as 10%, and now they want to make that misuse of tax payer funds legal so they can do it again.

    And you still defend them ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  92. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    sorry, ‘selling’ should read ‘flushing’ or else They are selling New Zealand’s democratic culture to the lowest bidders.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  93. kisekiman (224 comments) says:

    How about a bit of prisoners dilemma/game theory to sort out this bullshit? No public funding and all parties are faced with two choices, each party’s spending limit is capped at the level of the lowest individual party’s fundraising efforts OR the party which raises the most money can spend more of it by giving equal portions to other parties. Watch Labour do fuck all and hold it’s hand out under that scenario. You get effective grassroots campaigning or equal spending in the media, either way the taxpayer wins.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  94. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    Burt – brilliant. Caught out by his own arguments

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  95. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    Roger:

    We’ll have to agree to disagree then. But what you are essentially saying, that we must regulate because 10% of voters can’t be trusted to think for themselves, stinks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  96. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    vto

    No not brilliant at all. I’m just not so partisan as roger so I can look at it for what it is rather than what I want it to be. But thanks anyway. Bet he digs himself an ever bigger hole trying to defend the situation then he’ll run away claiming victory for the “intelligent” left.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  97. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    Tane, just let it go.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  98. Billy (125 comments) says:

    It’s not all about you, Tane. I had a very excellent post pointing out errors in Robinsod’s punctuation deleted this morning.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  99. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    So why dont more speak up and speak out Well some of us are in work situations where we have to deal with the pollies and civil servants as part of our day to day life. Sadly it has been made very clear that speaking up publicly in our own names will have a detremental effect on the organisations we represent.

    The usual suspects who dont know the game is played will rubbish this but its a fact. We also face pressure from within our organisations to ‘not rock the boat” such is the creeping corruption that has occurred over the past 9 years.

    For old timers who have been around 30 plus years this is by far the worst environment some of us have every had to work in A toxic combination of hatred and spite and a win at all cost mentality

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  100. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    How to rort the public The Helen Clark way.

    a) put sycophants into positions of authority
    b) tell them what advice you want them to give you.
    c) follow that advice,
    d) blame them if you want to change the advice.

    Will she do another pledge card “I’ll have to see what te advice is.”
    Why didn’t she give tax cuts
    ‘The Advice was not to’
    Is the EFB in contarvention of the Bill of Rights?
    ‘Our advice is it isn’t.’

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  101. Stanley Climbfall (108 comments) says:

    If you think National are going to do anything about it you’re an idiot. It’s kinda like the smacking law – if it was passed and they got in, they wouldn’t give a shit about changing it. It all depends on what gets them into power and the best way they can go about not offending anyone.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  102. casual watcher (289 comments) says:

    This is a great opportunity for the Nats to stand up and make some serious political capital by championing opposition to this Bill. There is considerable resentment still simmering over validating legislation and this reopens the wound. With enough pressure on the minor parties they could even force an election. Have they got the balls ? I am personally not convinced but I will donate as soon as they prove me wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  103. Bogusnews (450 comments) says:

    I think the last election shook Labour to the core. They were presiding over a bouyant economy, the media were very much in their pocket extolling their virtues whereever possible and burying anything negative in some obscure business page where only a few people would notice.

    In spite of this, Cullen had to dish out sack fulls of bribe money(student interest free loans, WFF etc etc), they spent a fortune on advertising, stole another 800K for more and still only barely scraped back into power.

    Clark and Cullen are smart enough to know that this time around it could be even more difficult. The visible anoyance of the politically correct by the majority against their smug agenda’s is really starting to show.

    So I suspect she sees the media aren’t quite stuck in her pocket as much as before, people have woken up to her chicanery and a chill wind is blowing up her majority.

    I think she now knows that cheating (or at least much more blatent cheating) is the last card she has to play.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  104. KevinOB (265 comments) says:

    The Speaker of the House, whose reputation dare not be impugned, is implicated in this. She has the responsibility for the Parliamentary Office. The Auditor Generals’ opinion, which I have read fully, is commonsensical, well reasoned and sound. Last election the Parliamentary Office chose to let the members make their own interpretation of the standing orders. Strangely, National read them properly and the others not. Peters is still taking advantage of the situation. To suggest that by regulation they can absolve the Speaker of her responsibility, particularly as she is a partisan appointment, is a new low in this mini dictatorship. Perhaps Fiji is right to be concerned about our power structure. If this semi-coup is to be done by regulation the Courts may be invoked and certainly the Governor General should be pestered to invoke his powers. Itś time to pull the plug. If the Nats had their former guts they would boycott parliament till a general election was held. Guy Fawkes season is here. Christians should be praying for the removal of this government..

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  105. Bogusnews (450 comments) says:

    Hear hear KevinOB

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  106. Castafiore (263 comments) says:

    Theft
    THEFT
    GRAND LARCENY

    1/Take the money and run first.
    2/Avoid answering the warning from the Auditor General.
    3/Get Heather Simpson to collude with Williams and Clark to falsely tell the electoral commission the story.
    4/Change the story after the election.
    5/Avoid giving the police the incriminating evidence.
    6/Get past the 6 month electoral law chargeable crime period.
    7/Ouch – Get pinged by the Auditor General.
    8/Quickly force thru validating legislation.
    9/Ouch – Have to pay the money back.
    10/Bring out the EFB to steal the right to voice dissent. and legalise spending Government money for elections.
    11/Bring out Appropriation Bill to allow pledge card funding again next year.

    Theft
    THEFT
    GRAND LARCENY

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  107. Castafiore (263 comments) says:

    Come to think of it Mike Williams even looks a little like Mugabe.

    Mind you if you copy someone so much you will look like them and act like them.

    Welcome to New Zealand the closest country to Mugabes Zimbabwe.

    New Zealand the Zimbabwe of the South Pacific.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  108. Monty (965 comments) says:

    Will this corrupt government stop at anything to get elected. Their tactics are now the same as any corrupt babana republic would use the get themselves “democratically elected”

    But inspite of their best efforts, the public must wake up to the corruption and roll Labour. But why are those from the left who are ashamed of this disgrace not speaking up. Or is it because it comes from Labour it is alright?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  109. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    “Or is it because it comes from Labour it is alright?”

    That is it EXACTLY, Monty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  110. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    So let me get this straight – several posters address me directly asking for a response. I respond to them, and you delete my comment saying it has no relevance to the thread, but keep theirs up? Honestly mate, that’s pretty shit.

    [Rakaunui(moderation): Tane, this is what your comment was. I regarded it as off topic then and still do.]

    Tane, roger, robinsod, sonc (where the hell is he.?.)… i’m with lance on this one. what have you got to say?

    I’ve got work to do dudes, and I’m frankly sick of talking about the EFB. It bores me to tears. I’m flattered, though, at your constant interest in my opinions. Would you like my cellphone number so you can call me up every time you wonder what I’m thinking about an issue?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  111. Castafiore (263 comments) says:

    That Hurt.!!!!
    Sorry Guys I’m off to the Doc as Mike Williams gave me a right hook for likening him to Mugabe.

    Its the new swift (boat) retribution technique now employed by Labour Party members, called “Shock and Awe”
    Preferred methods in order of preference – take then legalise
    – punch then promote.
    – megaphone then dont charge.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  112. vto (1,128 comments) says:

    yes ive noticed similar mr tane

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  113. PaulL (5,969 comments) says:

    Tane, I can see only one post that mentions you by name before your complaint. And that only asked where you were, not for some specific comment.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  114. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    Tane

    Have you an opinion on this legislation or are you only here to say “Labour Good, National Bad” ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  115. Bogusnews (450 comments) says:

    gd..

    An excellent post. I don’t work directly for the public service, but do work alongside them in numerous assignments. I have heard what you are saying on many occasions.

    The “gentlemens agreement” which kept the Pollies and the state service at arms length has completely disappeared. Clark now sees the state service as her minions, demanding their loyalty to labour.

    What genuinely scares me is that many NZ’ers have no concept of where this type of mentality, mixed with “win at all costs” and “it’s us against them (the public)” inevitably ends up.

    Mark my words, the EFB is the first step of a campaign whose scope will broaden hugely to crush opponents should Labour get back in. The next logical step will be to use the State Service to neutralise any dissent. How easy would it be to have the IRD suddenly decide to audit you, or CYF hear news you were nasty to your child.

    And if you say that could never happen here, then ask yourself, before Labour came to power, did you ever believe that websites promoting freedom of speech would have to be set up in NZ to counter the iniquitous EFB?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  116. Inventory2 (10,162 comments) says:

    While we’re talking about election funding and Labour’s plans to ride roghshod over the principles of fairness and decency, is there any news from the High Court as to the progress of the proceedings to rule Val Simms’ opinion on the EFB vs Bill of Rights?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  117. NX (603 comments) says:

    Dr. Brash got stuck into Labour over their election practices labeling them corrupt. He got lampooned @ the time, but he was right on the money.

    John needs to show some Brashness. What Labour is attempting to do is outrageous. If G W Bush did this, we’d never hear the end of it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  118. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    What genuinely scares me is that many NZ’ers have no concept of where this type of mentality, mixed with “win at all costs” and “it’s us against them (the public)” inevitably ends up.

    I second that fear. Successive governments have been able to promote small-world-myopia within the voter community to the extent that we’d need baby sacrifice on prime-time TV news to get a pushback.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  119. rfhoward (491 comments) says:

    I hope Labour will go too far and end up crueling themselves.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  120. WebWrat (516 comments) says:

    The water is about 90 degrees and the bloody frog is just sitting there!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  121. Inventory2 (10,162 comments) says:

    There was an interesting article about Zimbabwe in one of the papers last week. It used to be known as “the Food Basket of Africa”, and Mugabe, when he first came to power, was regarded as a leader who was going to take Zimbabwe to new heights of prosperity.

    We all know what has happened in Zimbabwe. Having worked with Zimbabwean emigrants for a period of time, I still cannot comprehend the abuses that some of them have been subjected to. Mugabe started off with good intentions, but as Lord Acton so rightly surmised “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Mugabe will apparently hand over the reigns after the next Zimbabwean “election”, and will live out in days in South Africa, in wealth which we could only fantasise about – leaving behind a country in ruins, 8000% pa inflation, an AIDS epidemic, rampant poverty and a legacy of abhorrent human rights abuses.

    I’m not for one moment suggesting that New Zealand will be the “new Zimbabwe”. However the attempts by the government to regulate free speech, to retrospectively validate election spending which was ruled illegal by statutory bodies, and to give the government-of-the-day an open chequebook with which to woo public approval scares the heck out of me!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  122. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Gosh a lot of heat and not much light in most of these comments.

    Of course none of us have seen the Bill. However the Bill seems to propose an extension of the current understanding of what constitutes electioneering which is the one that applied prior to the Auditor General greatly broadening the definition.

    What I am most interested in is what has been National’s proposal to put in place some rules that provide certainty for MPs in the use of their allocations on publications? Perhaps DPF could enlighten us.

    Does National support bulk funding MP’s with individual MP expenditure being subject to a disclosure regime similar to the OIA?

    The real issue for the taxpayer should be to control the quantum spent by each MP or their Party not complex rules on what can and cannot be done.

    While I am no great fan of Labour it would be helpful to attempt some balance.

    All use of Parliamentary resources by parliamentary parties is intended to advance the interests of those parties. Just get over it. Assume the money is gone – just one of the many costs of democracy.

    Thus Labour did pledge cards in 2005, 2002 and 1999. National did a pledge card in 2002.

    It is right to have a broad definition of what MP’s can do so as to take into account modern trends in communications etc. So if Labour or National or any other party wants to produce a pledge card then so be it, so long as it doesn’t specifically ask for a vote, and states that it is taxpayer funded and the MP’s are bulk funded what is the problem?

    If taxpayers do not like the way MPs use their parliamentary resources don’t vote for those parties.

    In terms of the Electoral Finance Bill its non inclusion of things done in the capacity of a MP is pretty much the same as it has always been.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  123. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Inventory2, that does not scare me. Power corrupts and all that. What does scare me is that there are citizens of this country supporting that very action. Academics, people who have learning and the knowledge of ages behind them, are poo-pooing these changes to our democracy. Those sycophants scare me a great deal more. They’re the ones who would leave a mark carved on your door at night for the secret police or who will turn you over to the Politburo for an extra loaf of bread.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  124. Robinsod (354 comments) says:

    That’s just stupid hyperbole pascal, and it makes you and your cause look foolish.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  125. Brownie () says:

    Well said, Pascal.

    It is a great source of wonder to me why the aforementioned Academics don’t cotton on to this as, going by history, they will be the first ones on the road to the gulags (metaphorically, of course).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  126. PhilBest (5,117 comments) says:

    This is what happens when a government has got an absolutely GUARANTEED 30-40% of the votes because all those people are right in its pocket. Watch the developments of the Fiji constitution by the astute Bainamarama, who is not an evil man. That is why Our Great Leader hates him so much.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  127. David Baigent (172 comments) says:

    Robinsod, I am scared also. In very much the same way as outlined by Pascal.
    I have been around a lot longer than you and I have seen the steady tread of the changes that bring all of NZers still at home, to this point.
    Am I foolish or are you selfish?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  128. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Kevin OB – “Itś time to pull the plug. If the Nats had their former guts they would boycott parliament till a general election was held.”

    Hear hear.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  129. Robinsod (354 comments) says:

    Dave – you have no idea how long I’ve been around. You people are the victims of a ridiculous fear-mongering campaign and are too dumb to realise it. Christ do none of you remember the Muldoon years? Or the surprise asset sales under the 4th “Liarbour” (‘cos they were) govt. You’re teh type of fools who would’ve bought into teh dancing cossacks hook line an sinker. Scared? What a waste of energy…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  130. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Chris Diack – “Of course none of us have seen the Bill. However the Bill seems to propose an extension of the current understanding of what constitutes electioneering which is the one that applied prior to the Auditor General greatly broadening the definition.

    What I am most interested in is what has been National’s proposal to put in place some rules that provide certainty for MPs in the use of their allocations on publications? Perhaps DPF could enlighten us.”

    Why is it DPF’s role to enlighten us about National policy, is he a National Party spokesperson?

    Why is it that an interest in what National would do is now relevant, when the EFBwas manufactured explicitly with out the kind of cross-party consultation we might expect for a piece of legislation designed to affect serious electoral reform?

    Re not seeing the Bill – The judgement of Val Sim is available, and it is on that basis that the widened definition of what constitutes electioneering is widely understood. If you have read that recommendation, you would see why it is being challenged by certain parties.

    Why is it all of a suden the job of National and or DPF (perhapos as a private citizen) to provide a remedy for the complete cock-up which the EFB represents, when the Labour Party and its allies didn’t see fit to consult with either National as the lead oppposition Party, or DPF as a private citizen, (or indeed any other private citizens) before?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  131. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    “fear-mongering campaign”

    To quote Joe Hockey, a Liberal politician in Australia who always seems to get the good lines,

    “The difference is, our fear campaign is based on fact!”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  132. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    In addition, Chris Diack – “All use of Parliamentary resources by parliamentary parties is intended to advance the interests of those parties. Just get over it. Assume the money is gone – just one of the many costs of democracy.”

    I think what many of us are getting at is this this is not a ‘cost’ of democracy, but that htis is a subversion of democracy.

    Your comments come across as a sophisticated and well-worded threadjack, as much as I welcome the substance and tone, it fails to address the issues which are worrying so many, well worry me, anyway… and also fails to address the idea that the dilution of our democratic process is not a party-political one, but a constitutional one.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  133. Robinsod (354 comments) says:

    <p>EFB, Blah, blah, blah – how’s that case going and more to the point has DPF opened the books for KtB? He said he would a few days ago and hasn’t so far – I thought this whole issue was about transparency?</p>

    [DPF: I await your apology. How stupid do you have to be to not even check before lying about something]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  134. David Baigent (172 comments) says:

    Heh, Yes Robinsod I remember the Muldoon years. 1986 I was just going broke for the 3rd time paying 28.4% interest.

    I am rightly more fearful of H1, H2, and a hypnotized caucus than I ever was at any time in my life.

    The sun will not rise again for Helen Clark if she cannot be ruler.

    Now note that fear makes me prepare.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  135. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Robinsod, how can you keep a straight face while comparing the total perversion of our democratic processes with, um, a grass-roots KtB-like organisation?? they’re not in the same universe when it comes to determining the kind of NZ what our kids will be growing up in. you know this. so does everyone else.

    stop obfuscating, deflecting and denying: the party you are constantly backing has abandoned it’s core values and is raping our democracy. you should be outraged… even if they are paying you be feign otherwise.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  136. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Robinsod, to me there is preciously little that a government can do worse than taking our democratic rights away.

    By your comment you are indicating to me that:

    (a) You have no objection to a government stopping it’s opponents commenting on it.

    (b) You have no objection to a government voting itself unlimited funds for electioneering

    (c) You have no objection to a government effectively declaring itself the sole political voice in a nation

    (d) You have no objection to a government validating election rorting through legislation so long as they win and you agree with them

    And that you are willing to aid them in whichever way is possible, because you agree with them and disagree with others.

    If you do not agree with those points, then I cannot see how you can support the Electoral Finance Bill or any of the subsequent bills that the Labour party are introducing. Because in reading the bills that is what they have done.

    This has NOTHING to do with National vs Labour, but it has to do with the fundamental tenants of our democracy. It’s not scaremongering. It’s fighting to keep something which Kiwis have died for.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  137. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    So no, it’s not just stupid hyperbole Robinsod. It’s just the first step that people are taking now. Come back to this thread in twenty or forty years if the Labour party are allowed to continue with what they are doing now. Then we’ll talk again.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  138. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Well said Pascal

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  139. Kimble (4,397 comments) says:

    “It’s fighting to keep something which Kiwis have died for.”

    The Monarchy?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  140. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    DPF – i’m a bit concerned at the spasmodic moderation here. moderation comments like doesn’t pay significant homage to he who brought me into this world – the glorious DPF (All hail thee masterful creator) might prompt a smirk, but may also serve to trivialise the important task of keeping conversation germane.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  141. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Pascal: Well presented.

    I interpret it as meaning that we are not prepared to allow the present Labour led Government to breach the Crimes Act 1961, by trying to bulldoze illegal legislation through the House onto the Statutes, to New Zealand’s everlasting shame ?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  142. Fost (100 comments) says:

    Robinsod – rather than bleat about DPF “opening the books” and sound oh so superior, go to the Kill the Bill site and read the list. I looked at the list earlier this morning so it’s been up at least half a day! FFS you do your arguments no favours by being badly wrong.

    So after fisking your comment – yes it is about transparency – how transparent will it be if Labour are allowed to canvas for votes using funds that they don’t have to account for in their election spending accounts.

    Equally, if this dubious (dare I say it – corrupt) law is passed, yay Labour gets a bit more money to spend – but what makes you think National won’t also spend their parliamentary budget on electioneering also – they get almost the same budget?

    All this law will do is allow those parties already in Parliament an advantage over those that are not – for example, I imagine that you are more likely to support, say the Alliance party, than most others that post here – so you are saying that next election, as they are not in Parliament they can only spend the usual limit, but ACT can spend their limit AND their Parliamentary budget as well? How is that fair?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  143. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Robinsod – “EFB, Blah, blah, blah – how’s that case going and more to the point has DPF opened the books for KtB? He said he would a few days ago and hasn’t so far – I thought this whole issue was about transparency?”

    I’ve thought about it, and try as I might, I really can’t improve on that for its inanity.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  144. Robinsod (354 comments) says:

    Um, I don’t want to rain on your parade but the total donated only adds up to $6260. Yet KtB claims to have donated $10k to the court challenge alone. So, bearing that in mind either the big money donors aren’t on the list or someone’s not being very honest about how much they’ve put toward the court case. Hmmm…. I know DPF is ignoring me but maybe he should answer this one?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  145. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Robinsod …. sad, so so sad….. you are all lathered up of a few thousand dollars in a private concern when nz’s democracy over which of forebears spilled blood is being corrupted beyond recognition. get help man !!!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  146. Robinsod (354 comments) says:

    Nice try KK. Now, how hard is it to make the accounts add up? I’m pretty sure this is astroturfing…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  147. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Now, how hard is it to make the accounts add up

    Robinsod, not hard at all. but i muck up my chq account reconciliation all the time. perhaps i’m not good at maths. however i still recognise the perversion of our democracy when it’s being slithered past a sleepy population. you do to.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  148. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Robinsod – as an intellectual exercise, look at the EFB, and pretend that it had been proposed as it is, by say John Key and a National government while it held a slim majority in the House. Then take into account all that has happened since – including the Select Committee, how the Bill was drafted, the use of a political favourite to rubber-stamp its ‘Bill of Rights’ credentials, the hidden clauses to get more tax-payer cash for the next election, and the vilification of the EB.

    Then hand on heart, tell us whether you would support it, and whether you would be so dismissive and flippant about those who oppose it.

    national would be crazy to repeal this after it goes through. If labour lose the next election, then when the chickens come ho,e to roost, you will have no other recourse than to hang your head in shame when you recount your efforts to defend the indefensible…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  149. Robinsod (354 comments) says:

    “Perversion of our democracy”? Well if you mean dodgy front groups pretending to represent grassroots interests but in reality funneling money from National party corporate backers into expensive legal PR stunts then yes, Kiwi, I sure do…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  150. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Lee C:

    Sorry you have the wrong bill.

    The relevant Bill is The Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill not the Electoral Finance Bill.

    I cannot find an online version of the proposed appropriation Bill. I suspect is its largely technical in nature anyway.

    It’s arisen due to the legal uncertainty produced by the Auditor General and his report.

    And yes National does have some responsibility for the rules that apply to the resourcing of MP’s as a response to that legal uncertainty. I was merely asking what contribution National was making in terms of a proposal that improves accountability and transparency for the use of the funds.

    And yes all MP’s and Parties will use their taxpayer provided parliamentary resources to advance their interests. It is a cost of democracy. You need to be a bit less naïve on this.

    The taxpayer interest is to control the quantum of what is spent, and ensure that you can establish what each MP and Party spends. Then you are in a position as a taxpayer to take this into account when you vote.

    Fost:

    No the Appropriation Bill and the Gazetted Rules and indeed the EFB provide MP’s with no advantages they have not already had.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  151. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    no Robinsod, i’m talking about the perversion of democracy by a Labour government hell bent on re-election whatever the cost, manipulating electoral law and shutting down free speech.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  152. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Robinsod –

    “The net effect of the Electoral Finance Bill and the Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill will be to legalise Labour’s illegal expenditure in 2005, and to criminalise what was legal expenditure in 2005 by other parties.”

    and you are ok with this because?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  153. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    Excuse my language, but Robinsod are you fucking stupid or did you work on it?

    By my calculation there is $17,775 of donations, did you by chance check the second page.

    More apologies I think are warranted. BTW no donor has been omitted at all, so apologise for that while you are at it.

    You and your union gonns can FRO with any accusations, you have been found wanting.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  154. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Chris Diack – thank you for the clarification re the Bill mentioned. I stand corrected. Are they to be debated separately and on separate occasions in the house? Will they each be voted on and passed under the full scrutiny of the media and the public?

    In response: “And yes National does have some responsibility for the rules that apply to the resourcing of MP’s as a response to that legal uncertainty.”
    Have National been consulted on this, or is it protocol that they should volunteer their input? If they volunteer their input, will it receive the same attention that any opinions they might have had about the EFB did?

    And yes all MP’s and Parties will use their taxpayer provided parliamentary resources to advance their interests. It is a cost of democracy. You need to be a bit less naïve on this.”

    I don;t wish to come across as naive, even if I do. But my main concern is that ‘that’s how it has always been done’ is no justification for doing anything, and especially when it is used as a justification for deliberately ignoring informed advice to the contrary. Suggesting that one is naive for suggesting that a convention is open to corruption is just polite bullying.

    Heather Simpson was advised on more than one occasion that the pledge card would constitute and election overspend and they egregiously went ahead anyway. ‘A favour once granted becomes a right’ might be ok in law when you ahave forgotten to return a borrowed book, but when it affects the running of the country, those in command ought to show more adherence tothe Rule of Law, and stop acting like they are runing a garage-sale.

    “The taxpayer interest is to control the quantum of what is spent, and ensure that you can establish what each MP and Party spends. Then you are in a position as a taxpayer to take this into account when you vote.”

    yeah, good one!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  155. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Whaleoil: By my calculation there is $17,775 of donations, did you by chance check the second page.

    Either your calculations are wrong or there is an old version of the document up. It totals to ~$7765. +$5000 and -$5000 again for the refund, on the current document. Can you check you have the latest version on, please?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  156. Inventory2 (10,162 comments) says:

    Robinsod – are you a soccer player perchance? Seems to me like you might have scored an own goal with your thread-jack tonight! Not only have the Free Speech Coalition books been opened and your bluff called, but, as with the Treasury boffins who have provided advice to the good Dr Cullen for all these years, you seem to be a victim of the education system. Bit of irony there, eh what?!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  157. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Lee C:

    The Appropriation Bill and the Gazetted Rules would have come out of discussions from Parliamentary Services. It has a Board or committee chaired by the Speaker upon which all Parliamentary Parties are represented. National MP’s would have been involved in considering the various options to provide clarity and certainty for MPs and their spending as a response to the Auditor General’s report.

    Mr Brownlee’s criticisms would carry all the more weight if National had been proposing bulk funding and an OIA like regime for individual MP expenses and Party expenses.

    Or perhaps they have been adopting a no-change-is-necessary approach or a this-is-labours-problem-let-them-sort-it approach.

    To link this issue with the Electoral Finance Bill is to draw a very long bow since the Electoral Finance Bill makes no substantive changes to electoral law regarding things done in the capacity of an MP.

    Yes the nature the published material can take this material out of the capacity of a MP and into electoral expenses under the Electoral Act 1993. Previously the Electoral Act has been narrowly construed and the capacity of a MP widely.

    Again I make the obvious point. If MP’s and Parties are bulk funded (so your liability as a taxpayer is capped) and there is a disclosure regime why would you care whether a Party spent their taxpayer resourcing on pledge cards or employing extra stuff or polling?

    Why should the rules ensure that 800k of pledge cards is an electoral expense and therefore not allowed but 800k of polling isn’t and therefore is allowed. Both are politically advantageous. As a taxpayer what difference does it make for you?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  158. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Chris Diack – As a taxpayer I like to feel that the government, if advised that it is about to do something illegal, will refrain from it until it is proven it is legal, not go ahead and do it then change the law afterwardds to make it legal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  159. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Lee C:

    The 2005 pledge card was identical in terms of format as the one produced in 1999 and 2002. There was no advice that this 2005 spend was an unlawful use of Parliamentary resources prior to this spend occurring. The unlawfulness issue arise as result of the Auditor General’s report and made more pressing as a result of Darton v Clark.

    What you are probably thinking about is the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer regarding the issue of whether the pledge card was an electoral activity and therefore an electoral expense under the Electoral Act 1993.

    That is still possible for any spend under the Appropriation Bill and the Gazetted Rules and under what is proposed under the Electoral Finance Bill.

    The consideration as to whether something falls outside the Appropriation and is therefore illegal expenditure and whether something is an electoral activity and therefore an electoral expense under the Electoral Act 1993 are two distinct and separate legal issues.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  160. milo (538 comments) says:

    Chris Diack,

    So it was sent in the last week of the campaign, with campaign livery and campaign promises, and yet somehow it wasn’t electioneering?

    If you truly believe that you are fruitloop. The more likely story is that the only people who believe that have sacrificed reason on the altar of loyalty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  161. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Milo:

    “So it was sent in the last week of the campaign, with campaign livery and campaign promises, and yet somehow it wasn’t electioneering?”

    I never said that. Actually we don’t know the status of the card under the Electoral Act 1993 as it was never tested.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  162. dennisr (19 comments) says:

    There is no hope of the media picking up an issue that may result in Labour losing the next election. They will do what they have done in the past; pick up the issues after the election.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  163. Insolent Prick (417 comments) says:

    Chris,

    You are trying to rewrite history. The A-G signaled well before the 2005 election that parliamentary expenditure for electioneering purposes was unlawful. He repeatedly asked for meetings with Heather Simpson and the Prime Minister to clarify this. The A-G met with other parties to clarify the same.

    The Labour Party ignored the A-G’s warnings before the election and spent parliamentary services money–taxpayer’s money–on its pledge card. It then spat the dummy afterwards, refusing to pay the money back, claiming it was unfair that the rules “changed” between 2002 and 2005. That was bullshit. The rules never changed. The rules simply weren’t enforced in 2002. The A-G indicated before the election that the rules would be enforced. The Labour Party called the A-G’s bluff, and never expected the A-G to hold them to account.

    Unfortunately for Helen Clark, Heather Simpson, Pete Hodgson, and Mike Williams, the A-G is as good as his word. He did hold them to account.

    Now you are trying to spin the issue by claiming that the initial rules weren’t clear. That is an absolute nonsense, and you know that. The rules were clear. Some parties chose to ignore the A-G’s warnings. Others did not. Those who followed the rules in 2005 didn’t have to pay back money they unlawfully spent.

    There is no need to change the rules. Unless you’re the Labour Party, and desperate to use any mechanisms at your disposal–including the ability to change the law in your favour–to win the next election.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  164. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Chris Diack =
    “The 2005 pledge card was identical in terms of format as the one produced in 1999 and 2002. There was no advice that this 2005 spend was an unlawful use of Parliamentary resources prior to this spend occurring.”
    Yes I know – ‘That’s how it’s always been done, it’s naive to think it wouldn’t always be done.”

    “The unlawfulness issue arise as result of the Auditor General’s report and made more pressing as a result of Darton v Clark.”

    Didn’t the Auditor General’s report indicate they had been told that the Pledge Card would be considered electioneering, but the Labour Party did it anyway, because basically they didn’t agree with the Auditor General. So, rather than challenge the ruling in the proper way, they broke the rules as it suited them?

    “What you are probably thinking about is the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer regarding the issue of whether the pledge card was an electoral activity and therefore an electoral expense under the Electoral Act 1993.”

    Interesting that The Chief Electoral Officer’s advice is merely a cause of an ‘issue’ when it is ignored by the Labour Party, but the grounds for hastily drawn up legislation when it is ignored by, say the Exclusive Brethren.

    “That is still possible for any spend under the Appropriation Bill and the Gazetted Rules and under what is proposed under the Electoral Finance Bill.”
    So advice ignored, law changed retrospectively to cover the deliberate overspend, and the additional legislation will just set the corrupt practice in stone. That’s ok then is it?

    “The consideration as to whether something falls outside the Appropriation and is therefore illegal expenditure and whether something is an electoral activity and therefore an electoral expense under the Electoral Act 1993 are two distinct and separate legal issues.”

    Ok, well from what I have read of the EFB, (via Val Sim) “an electoral expense under the Electoral Act 1993″ as outlined by the EFB is a recipe for disaster, it is toothless and confused, incentivises corrupt third-party practice, fails differentiate between ‘honest mistakes’ and criminality and it has been suggested, will incentivise corrupt practice. It also badly cobbles together disparate examples from other countries, and where no justification about its observance to the Bill of Right can be referenced falls back on the ‘well usually we just go with Parliament on that one’ line.
    I haven’t looked at the Appropriation Bill, but what do yo think of this idea about the ‘net effect’?
    “The net effect of the Electoral Finance Bill and the Appropriation (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Bill will be to legalise Labour’s illegal expenditure in 2005, and to criminalise what was legal expenditure in 2005 by other parties.”
    I realise they are two separate legal entities, but I can’t help feeling like someone who is being asked to marry one co-joined twin on the premise that the other one ‘won’t listen’ to us on the honeymoon.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  165. burt (7,950 comments) says:

    Chris Diack

    “The 2005 pledge card was identical in terms of format as the one produced in 1999 and 2002. There was no advice that this 2005 spend was an unlawful use of Parliamentary resources prior to this spend occurring. The unlawfulness issue arise as result of the Auditor General’s report and made more pressing as a result of Darton v Clark.”

    Yes exactly it was identical to how Labour won 1999 & 2002, that’s why retrospective legislation went back 14 years. Long enough to ensure that no disclosure of the current major parties past deeds need never be made public.

    As for Darnton vs Clark, yes that gave the self serving power at any price the motivation to pass the retrospective validation.

    As IP said, stop rewriting history.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  166. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Lee C: The Auditor-General drew attention to the fact that they had not considered the pledge card during the previous elections, as not every matter is necessarily subject to his department’s audit. i.e. They were unchallenged and hence the Labour Government thought it had a divine right to continue to put their sticky fingers into the Taxpayer’s Cookie Jar.

    According to the Police Commissioner: “Ignorance is Bliss converts to under the Crimes Act.”Ignorance is no excuse for law breaking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  167. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    Let’s clear the air.

    “Media report: A hearing date for the private challenge, being taken by Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton, was to have been set yesterday. But Margaret Wilson’s lawyer, Jack Hodder, has sought a four-week delay so that she can absorb Mr Brady’s conclusions before filing her defence in the private action.

    Re-elected members of the Labour caucus are named as first respondent and Margaret Wilson is second respondent – as minister responsible for the Parliamentary Service which paid out $447,000 of taxpayers money for Labour’s pledge card.

    The action is quite separate from Mr Brady’s inquiry into taxpayer funded spending by all parties before the election, but at the heart of both is whether money spent on Labour’s pledge card was unlawful.

    Mr Darnton is seeking a declaration from the High Court that the spending was unlawful. Mr Brady reached that finding in a provisional report on election spending.’

    remember also Parliamentary Services is exempt from the Official Information Act.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  168. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Thank you Frank.

    Am I getting old, or was Chris Diack’s contribution just a very polite, very detailed threadjack attempt?

    It had many hallmarks, confused chronology, misinformation, innaccurately used cross-referrals and faintly patronising asides.

    All the same, I welcome his/her contribution, I felt that under it all there was a decent human being trying to get out!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  169. Bogusnews (450 comments) says:

    Indeed Chris D you are rewriting history.

    I remember Mike Williams writing to the AG admitting this was expenditure they had been warned about and that they would have to pay it back.

    Part of the real angst that people felt was because members of the Labour party had admitted this money should not have been spent but still did it anyway, largely because, as I mentioned previously, in spite of the medias best efforts to support Labour, Cullen giving away sackfuls of bribes, Labour knew there were enough sensible people left in NZ to see through this.

    Cheating was their last option. Now they are taking this cheating to a whole new level. The only thing a sensible person will say is that this utterly stinks. If this is the best they’ve got, the Labour has got to go.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  170. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Frank:

    “Media report: A hearing date for the private challenge, being taken by Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton, was to have been set yesterday. But Margaret Wilson’s lawyer, Jack Hodder, has sought a four-week delay so that she can absorb Mr Brady’s conclusions before filing her defence in the private action.”

    “The High Court at Wellington has agreed to urgently hear an application for a judicial review of the Electoral Finance Bill.

    Justice Denis Clifford considered the application in chambers yesterday, plaintiff John Boscawen said. The High Court at Wellington would hear the application on November 27, said Mr Boscawen, a former Act Party treasurer funding the action.”

    How might we confirm which it is?

    Gnome:

    “This could all be fixed by having state funding of parliamentary campaigning. We already have this with the broadcasting budgets – all it would take is an extra 4 million ($1 per New Zealander) or so on top of that to clean up the electoral process – a small price to pay for proper democracy.”

    “I think the problem there was possibly that increased public funding of elections was an unpopular idea with the public, so they concluded that to have sufficient funds to carry out a decent campaign they would need to retain anon donations. what the public doesn’t seem to realise is that it wouldn’t actually take very much of an increase in public funding to make the parliamentary campaigns completely publicly funded.”

    I agree. However, in my deeper moments I think that this is one of the reasons the EFB was drafted. It was Labour ‘spitting the dummy’ after its attempts to secure public funding was rejected. As for the popularity it had with the public, as a reason, that is debateable. Labour have not shied away from ‘unpopular’ decision before when they felt it necessary. In this case, instead of taking the fight to the public and probably enabling themselves to win the argument, they came up with the EFB. Another reason it was drafted?
    It was an attempt to re-cycle the Exclusive Brethren and the National rorting the election line which had rescued them in the previousl election. In a lapse of judgement, Clark gave this to task Burton, and the rest its history.
    This will go on her headstone, which is a shame, givern all the wonderful things she has achieved.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  171. Whaleoil (766 comments) says:

    It would appear that Chris Diack has recovered from licking his wounds at the local body election and found the home whence he came, the Labour Party.

    I would find that hard to believe that Labour has forgiven him for nicking their house in Onehunga and having to expend considerable time energy and money in recovering it through the courts.

    Nevertheless, he has crawled out and started spinning Labour spin, so one must assume that all is forgiven and Chris is back home after his trip around the right.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  172. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    “Chris Diack Says:

    November 5th, 2007 at 9:10 pm
    Lee C:

    The 2005 pledge card was identical in terms of format as the one produced in 1999 and 2002. There was no advice that this 2005 spend was an unlawful use of Parliamentary resources prior to this spend occurring. The unlawfulness issue arise as result of the Auditor General’s report and made more pressing as a result of Darton v Clark.”

    The unlawfulness of the 2005 Pledge Card was recognised and challenged by Steven Joyce. National Party Secretary with The Chief Electoral Officer
    with a letter of complaint on 9 September 2005 just prior to the election.

    The Electoral Commission sent a letter of complaint to the Police on 10 February 2006 re this matter, nearly 5 months later. Under the Electoral Act complaints must be lodged within 6 months of an election.

    I have the complete police report on their investigation into election advertising. It was a complete shambles. Legal opinions obtained from Crown Law were deleted and other missing documents were sought under the Official Information Act to try to fill in the gaps.

    You must also realise that the Solicitor- General, responsible for Crown Law, in an 11 page report, supported the Auditor-General. I also have this full report handed to the Speaker of the House on 6 October 2006.

    A few of the Helen Supporters on this thread should read them both and see what a corrupt regime they are supporting.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  173. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    IP:

    Actually I don’t spin for any Party.

    No re-writing of history at all.

    Yes the Auditor General did issue warnings some of which were included in reports on Government (Executive Branch) communications. None was specifically on the pledge card. If it were so clear that the pledge cards of Labour and National were his target, then his own office missed it. Labour’s pledge card spend in 1999 and the Labour and National pledge cards spend in 2002 passed audit.

    There is little doubt that his report into the 2005 publications substantially narrowed the previous understanding of what was permissible. Note that he also declined to investigate other issues of spending of taxpayer money on electioneering because of evidentiary issues – there is little doubt that such spending did occur.

    As I have said why the faux shock-horror over parties spending to their political advantage – they will do this whatever the rules. You keep asserting there is a fixed objective definition of “electioneering” – the Auditor General’s definition of electioneering is centred on publications for evidentiary reasons only.

    Is taxpayer travel to a tv studio for a political debate “electioneering”?

    Is taxpayer polling for a party campaign “electioneering”?

    Is employing extra taxpayer paid staff in election year “electioneering”?

    The truth is that much of what MP’s do up to and included in the 3 months prior to an election is electioneering. There is no rationale to hammer one form (publishing) and ignore others.

    The approach of the auditor general also raised constitutional issues that he seemed to miss completely.

    Regarding changing the rules – yes the current situation is hopeless with the Speaker essentially signing off all published communications as complying.

    The only saving grace is that at least MP’s and Parliamentary parties are being treated as Government often treats citizens – like naughty children.

    At any rate the whole rules based approach is at odds with the objective to controlling the overall spend by the taxpayer and upping the accountability for what MP’s do with the money. On that score National appear to have offered no proposals for reform what so ever.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  174. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Lee C:

    The Auditor General’s report occurred after the election not before.

    Again there was no advice that the pledge card spend by Labour in 1999, by Labour and National in 2002 was unlawful i.e. outside the appropriation.

    My comments on the Electoral Finance Bill are limited only to the issue of the exemption of things done in the capacity of an MP – this area of the law appears unchanged. My opposition to increased regulation of New Zealand elections and the Electoral Finance Bill is on the record [a small nod to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee of this blog]

    The proposed Appropriation Bill does make legal that which was previously illegal, parliament has already done that.

    Burt:

    You seem shocked that politicians will be politicians – get over it.

    Bulk fund them to cap taxpayer liability, put in place an OIA like regime so that they are individually accountable for their spend and just accept that they will spend to try to politically advantage themselves.

    Bogusnews:

    I don’t think Mike Williams wrote to the Auditor General on the issue of the use of taxpayer funds by the Parliamentary Labour Party quite as you say – if he did I stand corrected, and more fool him.

    Whaleoil:

    Notorious unreliable – the man who gives free speech a bad reputation.

    Frank. Says:

    The compliant from National to the chief Electoral Officer related to the issue of the pledge card being an electoral activity and therefore an electoral expense, not the issue of whether it was outside the appropriation and therefore illegal.

    You are conflating two different legal issues.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  175. Fost (100 comments) says:

    Chris Diack: ” Fost: No the Appropriation Bill and the Gazetted Rules and indeed the EFB provide MP’s with no advantages they have not already had.”

    Partly true, but disingenious – they only got those ‘advantages’ by ignoring the rules hoping not to get caught – For example Labour was told that their spending needed to be accounted for, the Labour Party President replying that it would be, and then they didn’t. If it wasn’t wrong, why has EVERY party paid it back?

    By making this changes to our laws, ALL parliamentary parties are at a decided advantage against those wishing to get in to parliament. Screwing the scrum against all future political parties or are you stating that every single voter’s political views are represented the current parliamentary parties? And that all those parties not in parliament that stand candiates are not a valid political veiwpoint?

    I also believe you are wrong about the EFB – it will put Candiates and MP’s at a huge advantage against anyone that happens to disagree with any position they take on anything, for example the Wellingotn Mayor/City Council would be prevented from spending a very small amount to advocate Transmission Gully as it is a position a political party has taken a position on – United Future, wants it, but the EFB would prevent the WCC from supporting this to any reasonable extent.

    Equally any publicity for or objecting to a development will be caught as long as one political party/candiate issues a statement on the development at some stage during an election year. Worse still, if the statement is late in the process, all the spending prior to the statement being made must be included, declared and if over the limit the person/organisation is then acting illegally even if the week before the statement was made they were not.

    The law should be changed in exactly the opposite way – making any spending regardless of source be part of the election accounts. I don’t really care if the Labour party uses it’s Parliamentary budget on a Pledge Card – their MP’s will have to budget their other spending to allow it – what I object to is that they can spend it and it is completely unaccounted for. In essence a “parrallel campaign” that the National Party/EB have been accused of, but run by the Labour Party for the Labour Party. If the EB’s “parrallel campaign” was so objectionable, why is it okay for the Labour Party to do it?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  176. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Fost:

    Thankfully a more considered contribution.

    My narrow point is just because something that an MP does is within the Parliamentary rules (or outside them for that matter) it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not an electoral activity and therefore an electoral expense under the Electoral Act 1993. Taking the thing and looking to Parliamentary rules to check compliance will be relevant but not determinative of the issue.

    You are correct that the Electoral Finance Bill substantially privileges the political speech of parliamentary actors and political parties and reduces the freedom of expression of non candidates, which are in effect licensed and subject to regulation.

    The most interesting question is whether National will commit to a Government Bill should there be a change of government repealing this. Or will they stay silent for fear that if they undertake to offer a Government Bill to repeal it the Exclusive Brethren ‘millstone’ will be hang around their necks in the upcoming campaign.

    Sadly I suspect that if the EFB is passed in whatever form restricting non candidate free speech those restrictions will be here to stay. Parliamentary actors quiet like their speech being enhanced. It helps to preserve the political status quo.

    Your point about the law not privileging certain types of speech, types of expenditure or funding of expenditure is a strong one.

    That is not however how the various Electoral Acts have operated in relation to electoral activities and therefore electoral expenses. Only some expenses have ever been included, much of the electioneering expenditure has always been excluded. The Courts have specifically recognised this in the various decisions on the Electoral Acts.

    A blanket inclusion of all parliamentary expenditure or some classes within 3mths of an election would be a considerable change in approach and is problematic giving the irregular time of New Zealand elections.

    The other approach is to reduce the regulation of elections, substantially increase or remove expenditure caps and bulk fund MP’s and Parliamentary Parties and subject them to an OIA like disclosure regime.

    This approach assumes that existing parliamentary actors do have a benefit from incumbency but no longer the benefit of secrecy and disguising the actual levels of their expenditure. It recognises that almost all of such taxpayer expenditure will be (and always has been) spent in a manner designed to advantage the parliamentary actors spending it.

    New entrants would have to overcome the advantages of the incumbents as they have always had to do. However incumbency doesn’t ensure continued presence in Parliament as our own political history shows.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  177. Insolent Prick (417 comments) says:

    Chris,

    It’s simply not true that the pledge cards in 1999 and 2002 “passed audit”. That expenditure was NEVER audited. The A-G specifically said before the 2005 campaign to parties that he would be watchful about use of parliamentary services money in the 2005 for electioneering purposes. Labour, United Future, the Greens, and New Zealand First ignored these warnings, and spent the money anyway. You’ve admitted that.

    I don’t know whether you’re deliberately trying to spin, frankly, or attempting to sound intelligent and failing. Because you’re certainly not armed with the facts.

    There is a very clear definition of electioneering. It exists in the current Electoral Act. It includes advertising expenditure by a political party or candidate in the last three months of the election campaign. Clearly it excludes polling, travel, and staffing expenses.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  178. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    IP

    Oh dear oh dear – a bit pedestrian.

    So the 1999 – 2000 and the 2002 – 2003 Parliamentary Service Accounts where not audited by the office of the Auditor General? Perhaps no one noticed the National (2002) and Labour (1999 and 2002) pledge cards in those years. Strange given the Auditor General’s longstanding oft repeated concern over pledge cards.

    I have dealt with the Auditor General’s warnings – primarily given in the context of concerns over Government (Executive Branch) advertising campaigns. Yes he also is on record over his concern regarding the lack of rules regarding MP expenditure. His focus on pamphleteering was driven by evidentiary issues over other forms of electioneering. It was not a concession that these were not electioneering per se.

    His approach is constitutionally flawed. And from an expenditure control point of view dubious.

    Alas your assertion that “electioneering” is defined in EA93 is also factually wrong. Your assertion about what it includes is also wrong.

    You are correct that most forms of polling are excluded from the definition of election activities – depends on the script actually. Travel and staffing are more problematic but can be covered under the definition of electoral activities – depends on the circumstances.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  179. Bogusnews (450 comments) says:

    If what you are saying is true Chris D, then why did Labour pay it back? Why did the AG maintain his position even after Clark and the others brought their big gun lawyers in to argue the point with him and try to force him to change his views?

    You are trying to rewrite history. If there was credence in what you said, the AG report would not have been produced as it was, especially with the massive menace and public derision heaped on the AG by our PM and other dishonest parties.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  180. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    The Auditor General is an independent officer of Parliament he rightfully stuck to his guns. I might think he was wrong but it was his job to call it as he sees it.

    For that alone he deserves credit.

    In essence he handed a mess back to Parliament to sort out.

    I note today from Parliament that National has been attempted to trade its support for the rolling over of the current parliamentary rules for Labour reducing the 1 January restricted period provisions of the Electoral Finance Bill.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.