Relative Spends

December 6th, 2007 at 10:45 am by David Farrar

relativeefb.JPG

A reader, Clive, sent this graphic in which he produced. I think it is an excellent representation of the relative spends and limits.

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158 Responses to “Relative Spends”

  1. Grant McKenna (1,152 comments) says:

    Great balls of liar! This really sums up the disparity in expenditure.

    I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Exclusive Brethren.

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  2. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Clive has his colours wrong, the big one should be red.

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  3. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    That certainly puts it into perspective. Of course, our friends will assure us that this is all in the interest of having a fair election. *cough* *cough*

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  4. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Sheeeee-it! When you see it expressed in those terms, it kind of puts anonymous donations, Owen Glenn and the EB in perspective. And to think, the government has voted themselves an open cheque books in 2008.

    And Grant McKenna – neither am I!!!!

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  5. John Ansell (861 comments) says:

    Clive, that’s brilliant. Well done.

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  6. Wycroft (820 comments) says:

    Hmm, praise from the master Clive, I’d be blushing.

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  7. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    But, DFP, the incumbent govt has always had this ‘unfair’ advantage in expenditure during election year, so, there is nothing new here. Governments are voted out on performance, not lack of persuasive power. There is no conclusive evidence that letterbox mailouts really have that much effect on election outcomes.

    I do agree, however, that the third party allocation is paltry.

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  8. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “There is no conclusive evidence that letterbox mailouts really have that much effect on election outcomes. ”

    So why the hatred for the Brethren??

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  9. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    But, DFP, the incumbent govt has always had this ‘unfair’ advantage in expenditure during election year, so, there is nothing new here. Governments are voted out on performance, not lack of persuasive power. There is no conclusive evidence that letterbox mailouts really have that much effect on election outcomes.

    Well if thats the case, then why does Labour feel the need to restrict third party spending?

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  10. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Except that government advertising is not electioneering. God you’re dishonest David.

    [DPF: The translation to that is "waa waa waa". I never said it was electioneering. But you know if the Govt says it needs to spend $69 million just to communicate with the public on various issues, what does that signify about a limit of $120,000?]

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  11. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Tane: Except that government advertising is not electioneering. God you’re dishonest David.

    This must be why their advertising increases by such a large degree in election years, eh Tane? Because it’s not “electioneering”.

    Whether you see it that way or not, the fact of the matter is that advertising the policy changes of an incumbent government is a sign of what they have done for the country. That is, inherently, electioneering just as it is inherently part of governmental communication with the people it’s policies apply to.

    When you couple that with the massive increases in spending by the government departments in election years however it paints a picture of electioneering.

    Are you being intellectually dishonest or just plain disingenious, Tane?

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  12. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Except that government advertising is not electioneering. God you’re dishonest David.

    Then why did the Environment Ministray need Clare Curren, a media strategist, to help push the party line?

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  13. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Kent Parker

    Labout said after they were caught out stealing $800K for election advertising that the additional spending made no difference to the outcome. What you have said above supports the position that advertising spend has no impact on voter choice.

    Are you saying there is no need to limit campaign funding because there has never really been a limit, and it makes no difference anyway?

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  14. Wycroft (820 comments) says:

    Yeah Tane, that’s exactly the conclusion I came to as I drove past bus stop after bus stop in August 2005, emblazend with Labour red, the Parliamentary crest, photos of smiling children rolling about with their father on a freshly mown front lawn, and ‘Working for Families’ and associated taglines. I thought, that’s just advertising, not electioneering. NOT!

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  15. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Tane

    Right back at you:

    Except that government advertising is not electioneering. God you’re dishonest David.

    tin.foil.hat

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  16. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    And where is the National Pary election spending on your pretty little picture? Official and unofficial. And for good measure why not show the $200K DVD spend.

    Balance in a discussion, do any of you know the meaning of the word??

    God you people are blinded by your own narrow view of the world.

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  17. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Tane said “Except that government advertising is not electioneering. God you’re dishonest David.”

    DPF dishonest – sheesh Tane – three words come to mind – Pots, Kettles, Black.

    BTW – are you still spreading the line that National supports the EFB? Thought not!

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  18. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Rocket Boy

    You make a good point about not showing National’s election spend. As for the DVD, the single black pixel for that is quite possibly shown on the graph, perhaps just the text is missing.

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  19. TC (31 comments) says:

    Its just as bad for campaigning in a constituency seat.
    Individual no job for say 6 months while campaigning and $20,000 to spend.
    Sitting MP $60,000 plus salary for six months, $20,000 to spend and electorate allowance up to $64,000 but probably $40,000 to spend informing the electorate.

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  20. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Clive/DPF

    It’s a stunning representation. Excellent work, it should be front page of every major daily paper when the EFB is passed to show the public the hollowness of the justifications for the bill.

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  21. Wycroft (820 comments) says:

    Rocket Boy, the only amount I’ve seen for the DVD is $50,000; where did 200k come from?

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  22. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    redbait,

    I have no idea why Labour has a bee in their bonnet about the EB’s

    bevan,

    What I am saying is that DPF’s illustration above is pretty similar to the way it has always been and there is nothing new and it has never stopped govts from being voted out (They have never to my knowledge ever been voted in!). So, it’s yawn.

    burt,

    What I am saying is that quote: “There is no conclusive evidence that letterbox mailouts really have that much effect on election outcomes”, which I don’t think supports either position.

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  23. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Out of his arse Wycroft

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  24. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Wycroft

    I think the current Labour talking point is to keep pushing the amount the DVD cost up just like amount the EB spent grew every time it was talked about.

    If Key’s DVD cost more than Winston overspent it’s all OK and Winston isn’t looking so bad, just as if the amount the EB spent is talked up above what Labour stole then Labour won’t look so bad.

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  25. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Kent Parker

    So there is no evidence the EB mailouts had any effect – so WTF are we wasting so much of parliaments time with the EFB for. Are there not bigger things to worry about – things that make a difference.

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  26. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Kent maybe I shouldnt have quoted the entire paragraph, nut your comment Governments are voted out on performance, not lack of persuasive power. begs the question as to why Labour constantly refers to big money trying to buy elections and not only feels the need to restrict third party spending, but also attempt to limit the amount of money National can raise (and before you go on about evil anonymous donations, I firmly believe if every donator to the National party was unveiled, all that would happen is Trevor would start using Parliarmentary privelidge to ruin them).

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  27. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    Wycroft: The Dominion Post had the amount at $200K, this included the ‘Heartland Tour’ costs, check the link at:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4311334a23917.html

    Anyone see Key getting mauled by Paul Henry on ‘Breakfast’ this morning??

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  28. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    burt,

    Totally agree. EFB equals ‘Effing Fruitless Banter”. If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it.

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  29. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Wycroft: The Dominion Post had the amount at $200K, this included the ‘Heartland Tour’ costs, check the link at:

    So you were lying when you said: And for good measure why not show the $200K DVD spend.

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  30. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    Kent Parker

    Political life in NZ would have been much cleaner and clearer if Labour had accepted the AG’s ruling and did what they said they were going to do and ‘moved on’ rather than making new rules so they could go in circles rather than “move on”.

    The rules as interpreted by the AG would have been fine for the 2008 election – perhaps not sufficiently slanted to advantage Labour, this is where it all went wrong.

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  31. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    Wycroft – It’s the initial guesstimate they made on The Standard. Reasons their estimate may be too high include that they assumed all footage to be new (increasing materials and labour costs by a huge amount).

    Rocket – I don’t think that the graphic leaves off National to be biased. It simply has Labour as representative of the party level because they get the most funding. National’s allowance would be slightly smaller and would actually make the comparison versus the government advertising spend even worse. The actual dishonest thing to do would’ve been to show National instead of Labour or to add Labour to the government advertising budget, which brings me to…

    Tane (the other leftie who has invoked God on this thread) – Clearly government advertising spend has a purpose other than electioneering, but it obviously has electioneering value. If it is not meddled with in any way (i.e. not increased in election year, no party hacks are inserted into the process) then it still promotes the incumbent as government actions and the policies of the government party. That’s why government advertising immediately before elections is not good. When government advertising ‘suspiciously’ peaks in election years and incidents like the Leigh/Curran debacle start to surface then it’s obvious that the governing party is ‘taking the piss’.

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  32. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    There’s an “and” in my final paragraph that should be an “are”.

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  33. Bogusnews (425 comments) says:

    I think Tane and co are either totally naive or just plain brainwashed. You would have to be a simpleton to think that the state service propaganda will not be carefully construed to make it electioneering.

    Labour was caught out for example getting the medical profession to boast about the achievements of the Labour government when people called in. they shut that down pretty quick once they were found out, but as we only learned about this through a fluke, what other schemes are being enacted that we don’t know about.

    This government CANNOT be trusted with advertising money

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  34. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    This link puts the cost of the DVD itself at $20,000
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4311912a23917.html
    which seems reasonable, given that it was only 12 minutes and just featured Key and his car with a few backdrops. The rest of the $200,000 is the cost of petrol to get round the Heartland.

    Yes, I agree, Burt, but political life is never clean and clear and the right has gained some leverage from pointing out the faults iin the last election.

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  35. Wycroft (820 comments) says:

    I think this shows two things. First, National is being extremely transparent about the cost of its party activities – I recall no such disclosures outside of an election year when Helen is conducting Labour Party business (but perhaps the hacks have just never asked the same questions of Labour; I suspect so). And second, the National Party machine must be fizzing; i.e. fed-up New Zealanders are joining the party and donating in their masses. If party funds are so healthy that they can be spent in this manner outside of election year then the public is hitching its wagon to National in big numbers. I suspect Labour knows this – Mike Williams is probably having the door slammed in his face every day – hence Labour’s clumsy shifting of the goal posts in their favour with the EFB.

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  36. Simeon (142 comments) says:

    If you put another dot in there with how much the Exclusive Brethren Business men spent, then you really see who stole the last election.

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  37. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Wycroft: you are missing that National is wealthy because of the anonymous donations from the insurance industry and the other puppet masters, not because of ordinary NZers. (Just getting in before Tane or Nome turn up).

    Nice diagram, I would suggest that the anonymous donation limit should be represented as well – a total of 240K per annum is it?

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  38. david (2,483 comments) says:

    You make a good point Wycroft. So perhaps Tane can answer the question as to why have National got a “bulging war chest” and “overflowing coffers” as has been so enviously claimed (as if it is something that the Blues should be ashamed of) by coalition and Green MPs both in the House and outside?

    Better still perhaps Tane, the dishonourable Gnome, Kent, Policy Parrot and all the other pitiful Labour apologists might reflect on in terms of popular support. But no I suspect that they wouldn’t get a micrometre past “a few wealthy backers who are buying policy” or “American Bagmen” or even The BRT if they are really, really desperate not to face the truth..

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  39. david (2,483 comments) says:

    Ooops, too late, PaulL kneejerked faster than I can type.

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  40. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    Kent Parker: The $20,000 is the cost of repressing the DVD after taking out the Coldplay song. The math goes like this: 10,000 DVD’s at $2 a shot = $20,000.

    The $200K is the Dominion Post estimate for making the DVD, pressing 10,000 copies and then traveling around the ‘Heartland’ to distribute it.

    If the $200K was on the picture above it would be a dot nearly twice the size of the ‘third part cap’ and that is just for one National Party campaign!

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  41. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Rocket Boy, is the EFB in effect already?

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  42. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    David: you are right. I wasn’t clear enough that I was being sarcastic. Will make that clearer next time.

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  43. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    Oops! yer right, Rboy.

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  44. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    Pascal: No the EFB is not in effect yet. What is your point?

    The picture above is called ‘relative spends’ I am merely suggesting something else (the $200k DVD/Heartland tour) as an another thing to compare the relative spends to.

    I am certainly not suggesting that it is wrong for National to spend their money on the dvd/tour but let’s try and get some honestly in this discussion and some of the numbers and graphs being thrown around by DPF and co.

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  45. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Interesting…..Tane came in and made an allegation against DPF at 11.33am – roundly slagged off by a number of commenters, and he hasn’t been seen since. Is the left losing its appetite for the fight, or has Tane been summonsed for the charm offensive this afternoon should Mallard do the right thing and resign?

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  46. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    It’s interesting all right. I’ve always disliked the idea of being propagandized by the government.

    That said, the solution is clearly to disallow it, or put clearer rules around to what extent the ‘communication of options now available to the public’ is being sacrificed to ‘endorsement of policy’. Put it in the bill?

    Naturally the absence of a big blue dot shows the bias of the author of the graphic.

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  47. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Rocket Boy: The picture above is called ‘relative spends’ I am merely suggesting something else (the $200k DVD/Heartland tour) as an another thing to compare the relative spends to.

    Correct.

    However, it has little bearing on the whole issue. John Key’s DVD expense would fall under his party expenses. (Similar to the big red dot) It is not illegal. It is part of the party spend. Think big red dot. There is absolutely nothing dishonest about DPF’s graphs or numbers. Look at them carefully again.

    It shows the anonymous donation cap. Check.
    It shows the 3rd party spending cap. Check.
    It shows how the largest political party spending cap. Check.
    It shows governmental advertising spending. Check.

    Why do you want to see a specific, National Party party expense added? Why would that make the graph more “honest”? After all, the big red dot is not broken into the various campaigns that Labour would run, nor is any mention made of Unions or the big red dot that represents the $800,000.00 overspend by Labour added.

    (Which would certainly be a few orders of magnitude over the $120,000)

    So, respectfully, again. What is the point in wanting to highlight a particular part of the National Party’s expenditure when we’re looking at totals and how would that make it more “honest”?

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  48. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Labour has the largest allocation of all parties. Why wouldnt you show that?

    If the guy was a greens supporter would you expect him to put up a Green dot?

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  49. Wycroft (820 comments) says:

    Problem is Rocket Boy, the path you’re going down is almost like one of those meaningless conversations like ‘list your favourite 10 rock songs’ or ‘who’s the greatest heavyweight of all time?’ Not exactly, I know, because what you’re pushing for would have an end point – you could conclusively create a diagram with a circle representing the size and origin of every piece of spending in the electoral cycle. But that would be messy, and the power of what Clive has done lies in its simplicity; he was getting a point across. Anyway, what do you think, we live in a democracy all of a sudden? Your point has been taken, but if you don’t see an amended diagram appear anytime soon I think you can safely assume that’s all it’s been.

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  50. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Would a Labour supporter even make a chart like that?

    So in the interests of fairness the chart should be removed until there is total consensus as to its legitimacy.

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  51. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Inventory2, people have lives outside of blogs. It’s entirely possible that Tane is having lunch, visiting a friend or have become embroiled in work.

    However, I see what you’re shooting at and it has reached a point in the political debate where the only defense the Left has for some of the antics of the Labour party are dishonest. They cannot stay around and discuss the point without looking fools. Look at Roger Nome ast night trying to fling faeces like the good little monkey he is.

    (Roger, before you come back with more spurious allegations here – the comment is a humourous reference to the mindlessness of a monkey throwing shit – it is not racism)

    And whilst I’m certainly not one to declare victory even in an online debate, facts certainly seems to be on the side of the opponents of the bill, rather than on the side of the proponents.

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  52. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    Umm Pascal: The big red dot is call ‘Eligible Labour Party 2008 election spend’ and I don’t see a ‘National Party 2008 Eligible spend’, that is why the graph is not honest. {Really did I have to explain that??}

    Wycroft: No the point is that this is just another example of the one sided hysteria that passes for ‘facts’ on this blog.

    Oh and Pascal before you claim victory in this online debate have a look at this….

    http://dogtoe.com/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/arguing_on_the_internet.jpg

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  53. Wycroft (820 comments) says:

    Not really Rocket Boy, it’s probably the best online conversation going on in this country. And, there’s plenty of feisty, not to mention thoughtful, opinion from the Left on here.

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  54. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Rocket Boy, you need to learn to read.

    Quote: “whilst I’m certainly not one to declare victory even in an online debate, facts certainly seems to be on the side of the opponents of the bill

    There is no claiming of victory, just an assertion that facts seem to be on side. Calm down before joining Roger :)

    And none of the minor parties are included either. The Greens, NZ First, ACT, Destiny – none of them. The largest party is used as a baseline example. There is nothing dishonest in that. Are you really that biased that people can’t even use Labour, as the largest party, as an example without incurring some claims of “dishonesty”?

    Come on mate. Reality check maybe?

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  55. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    P.S. Note the graph uses the caps, i.e. maximums. Thus it makes sense to use the party with the largest possible expenditure for 2008 as we are dealing in maximums. No?

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  56. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Pascal, it’s not ‘dishonest’, it’s ‘biased’. The visual message is that Labour spends huge sums on advertising, whilst seeking to restrict all other spending to a tiny dot. It’s the same kind of bias that is present in the big green dot of propaganda, which doesn’t actually say “this is all because of Labour”, but I totally agree that is implied, and have always felt uncomfortable about that kind of advertising.

    The graph wouldn’t have looked much different at all if the red dot was a blue one, but you need to be blinded by ideology not to see that it conveys a totally different impression.

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  57. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    The graph wouldn’t have looked much different at all if the red dot was a blue one

    In three years time that is likely to be the case, and then what is Pascal going to say?

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  58. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Fair comment Pascal – the EPMU may indeed have required Tane to work today! Porr bloke, he’ll do it tough!!

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  59. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    In three years time that is likely to be the case, and then what is Pascal going to say?

    That we deserved it, I imagine. The green dot will also be pwned by National then too, so I don’t expect to see this kind of graph again on this site for several years thereafter.

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  60. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    There’s a dot missing.

    It’s about 1000th the size of the smallest one.

    It represents the value Labour places on personal integrity.

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  61. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    No wonder I got the blues . Will the little red dot spawn another fraudulent pledgecard for my dart board ?

    I think the blinded kamikaze Labour propaganda machine in stuck in kaleidoscope corruption mode .

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  62. pacman (50 comments) says:

    I did the graphic and there are some obvious issues (I did not increase the 69 million into $2008 to account for inflation one). But the reason it is Labours (and red) is their absurd claim that 3rd party spending over $120,000 will distort democracy and drown out their message.

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  63. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    [DPF: The translation to that is “waa waa waa”. I never said it was electioneering. But you know if the Govt says it needs to spend $69 million just to communicate with the public on various issues, what does that signify about a limit of $120,000?]

    So David, you are now on record saying government advertising is not electioneering. Righto then, I’ll bear that in mind for the future.

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  64. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Ah the good old definition of ‘biased’. Saying anything that can be interpretted as bad about the Labour Party and not balancing it by saying that National isnt much better.

    Look you guys are reading WAY too much into the chart. Sure it wasnt likley to have been made by a Labour supporter. As I said, a Labour supporter would never make a chart like that, even with National as a big blue dot.

    But to imagine that this represents some sort of bias and to whine on about blind ideology is to miss the point of the chart completely.

    We could remove the term Labour Party and insert the term Largest Allocation, and it would make a bit of difference to the chart as 99% of people see it. FFS, you would probably complain about the font!

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  65. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    “I never said it was electioneering.” – DPF

    “you are now on record saying government advertising is not electioneering.” – Tane

    Wow, you moron.

    Of course David reminding you he never said that it was electioneering now means that he thinks that NO GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING IS EVER ELECTIONEERING!!!!!!!!!

    That makes perfect fucking sense doesnt it!? Thats the Tane standard of thinking.

    Government advertising is not necessarily electioneering, but it can be. Yeah, that makes more sense.

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  66. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    RocketBoy: Pascal, it’s not ‘dishonest’, it’s ‘biased’. The visual message is that Labour spends huge sums on advertising, whilst seeking to restrict all other spending to a tiny dot.

    Not at all. Look at the graph closely.

    1. Maximum allowed anonymously.
    2. Maximum allowed to registered 3rd parties.
    3. Maximum allowed to political parties (Happens to be Labour and is coloured appropriately for easy identification)
    4. Maximum allowed to the government.

    I’m sure if National had been in government, enacting this legislation and had the largest budget for the upcoming election the dot would have been blue. It’s pure and simple fact.

    To assign bias to that might just be a guilty conscience talking?

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  67. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    IV2, don’t you know I work on the 9th floor? Get with the times boy!

    Actually, I just have quite a lot of work on today and I don’t have the time to get embroiled in a Kiwiblog debate. There’ll be other times though bro, don’t you worry.

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  68. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Pacman: But the reason it is Labours (and red) is their absurd claim that 3rd party spending over $120,000 will distort democracy and drown out their message

    Of course, Pacman as the creator, tells us his intent was otherwise. So Rocketboy, it seems it’s a bit of both, because a reasonable interpretation stands as it is above.

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  69. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent Parker: In three years time that is likely to be the case, and then what is Pascal going to say?

    The same. I’m not biased by voting for a specific party Kent, I interpret everything for myself and come to an independant conclusion. (I don’t vote National as a habit, for one ;) )

    When I looked at the graph the dot showed the party with the largest budget. It seems fairly innocent. If National had the bigger budget, it should have been their colour. Ditto for any other party.

    Why would the colour of that make a difference when it highlights the differences between anonymous, 3rd party, party and lastly government?

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  70. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    “There’ll be other times though bro, don’t you worry.”

    Tane – do all Lairbour fools throw the toys out of the cot when challenged ?

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  71. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    To assign bias to that might just be a guilty conscience talking?

    Not at all. Read what I (not RocketBoy) said carefully. I think the green dot is a fuxor and always have. It sickens me. The absence of any other coloured dots sends a pretty clear political message about Labour. Why is it not an aggregate dot of all party spending and and aggregate dot of all third party spending, if the aim of it is to talk about the relative differences in expenditure between parties and third parties? No, it’s a big red dot with the word Labour right beside it.

    I don’t have a problem with it being biased. I expect it, even. But I’m not going to fail to notice it, or fail to comment on it.

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  72. hemi (20 comments) says:

    dad4justice Says: Don’t worry David my last post on this site as I had it !! Good bye all

    Ah well.

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  73. peteremcc (341 comments) says:

    Putting it at circles actually makes the difference look smaller, because of the nature of a circle (larger at the outside!).

    Would be good to see a simple bar graph too.

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  74. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Ben Wilson: Why is it not an aggregate dot of all party spending and and aggregate dot of all third party spending, if the aim of it is to talk about the relative differences in expenditure between parties and third parties?

    Because the graph was showing maximums? If it was a graph showing averages then certainly, it would be incorrect. But if it isn’t then … erm …

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  75. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Pascal: Then why is it titled ‘Relative Spends’ rather than ‘Relative Maximum Spends’?

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  76. Inventory2 (9,791 comments) says:

    Tane said “IV2, don’t you know I work on the 9th floor? Get with the times boy!”

    Mistaken identity bro – I can’t recall having suggested you were that close to Dear Leader. I’ve always been under the impression that I was supporting your lifestyle through my EPMU dues – no longer though – I’ve broken free!!

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  77. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    I hinu has changed into a hemi.

    Ah well.

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  78. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    Pascal,

    The trouble with the $69 mil figure is that it includes promotions that would be carried out in any year, regardless of elections. What the big dot should quantify is the difference between what is spent by govt on promotion in election year vs other years on the average, with the assumption that the extra spending is for electioneering purposes.

    The other problem with the $69 mil govt spending is that not all govt spending equals labour party spending, since many of the policies being promoted are those supported by National and other parties. Since Labour only makes up 40% of the govt. then only 40% of the $69 mil at the maximum can be counted.

    So, the large dot should be 40% of the difference between election year spending and other year spending, which probably brings it down to a few mil.

    These are other reasons why this graph is a stitch up, but well worth the discussion, no doubt.

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  79. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    Oh and there should be a blue dot representing 39% of the difference between election year spending and other year spending to reflect the National parties share of parliament.

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  80. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Ben: I could as well throw back then why is it titled ‘Relative Spends’ rather than ‘Relative Average Spends’?

    They are relative to eachother.

    Each of them is an actual maximum.

    Maximum for anonymous donations.

    Relative to.

    Maximum for registered third parties.

    Relative to.

    Maximum for a political party.

    Relative to.

    Maximum for governmental advertising.

    (Government is debatable, but they don’t have a limit next year, do they so last election years’ figures seem appropriate? Although, if I recall correctly from Sunday / Agenda / something on TV the numbers for this financial year is already approaching a record high :) )

    See the basic meme though? Maximums relative to other entities maximums. Honestly, it doesn’t seem that difficult to me.

    Yes, it’s a simple graph. But it illustrates it fairly clearly, doesn’t it? You can’t argue or escape from that.

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  81. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    Kent,

    why should the dot be 40% of the difference between election year spending and other spending.

    Given the fact that an incumbant party campaigns on its records and achievements, and the government spends 15 to 20 million more on telling the public about what it has done in election year, surely 100% of the difference should be taken into account.

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  82. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent: The other problem with the $69 mil govt spending is that not all govt spending equals labour party spending, since many of the policies being promoted are those supported by National and other parties. Since Labour only makes up 40% of the govt. then only 40% of the $69 mil at the maximum can be counted.

    Who said the $69 million was Labour Party spending? It’s GOVERNMENT spending.

    Yes, I personally believe that a large part of that is advertising and electioneering by the government to get itself re-elected, but I’m 100% convinced that if you check back through history you will see that no matter who was in government election years the government advertising spend would be larger than in the in-between years.

    However, the graph as it stands is accurate enough. It looks at four distinct entities and shows us how much they can spend relative to one-another in an election year.

    What’s the problem with that?

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  83. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    RocketBoys mocking the retarded is NOT funny.

    What a Creep!

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  84. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Wat over at blogblog has an interesting counterargument:

    http://kiwiblogblog.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/two-can-play-at-that-game/

    [DPF: he's a bit thick. Can't he read English? I said that Clive sent me the graph, yet he raves on about me using circles. I guess he did NCEA English]

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  85. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty: Given the fact that an incumbant party campaigns on its records and achievements, and the government spends 15 to 20 million more on telling the public about what it has done in election year, surely 100% of the difference should be taken into account.

    We’re coming from the same direction in terms of government electioneering, but for the purpose of this graph the government is a separate entity. They should not be confused with the political parties that form the government.

    Their spending is a separate entity when one illustrates the relative maximums that people can spend in an election year in New Zealand.

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  86. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Kent , all this talk about red , green and blue dots makes my head hurt . At the risk of sounding rather naive, would it be not appropriate to ask how big the black dot of child abuse is New Zealand ? Just to put things back into perspective for the selfish/power at ALL costs control freak pollies.

    Hemi, I do hope you are not blowing black smoke ?

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  87. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    “Wat over at blogblog has an interesting counterargument:”

    I don’t read used shithouse paper Tane !!!

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  88. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Tane: Wat over at blogblog has an interesting counterargument

    Ah, and Wat, when using the Exclusive Brethren, fail to mention the $800,000.00 that Labour stole to buy the last election.

    Sorry Tane, but if you are carping on about a third party who failed your alleged attempt to buy an election you should really be honest enough to look at the political party that knowingly succeeded in buying an election.

    Otherwise you’re just dishonest.

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  89. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    Pascal,

    I think the assumption was that the $69 mil somehow becomes part of Labour party election spend, since they are the majority party in parliament. Given that it is shared by all parties according to their representative mandate then I cannot understand why it has been put into an argument surrounding election year spending since it does not represent one distinct entity with respect to that argument. It is obvious that the more rabid have picked it up as evidence of “gross unfairness” in the conduct of our elections.

    Also, the $69 mil covers a 12 month period while the $120,000 covers a 9 month period.

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  90. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Pascal, as I understand it Labour spent less on the election than National. I don’t know how that’s buying an election.

    [DPF: Wrong. The Electoral Commission states that the total expenditure by Labour was $4.633 million and by National was $3.797 million. They are the official figures. Now National also had $112,000 of extra broadcasting money and $17 K of parl spending as electioneering. Labour had around $850,000 of parl spending less the $430,000 already included. So Labour was around $5.05 milllion and National $3.95 million. This of course excludes third party campaigns but no one knows what they cost and Tane was talking anyway about Labour vs National]

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  91. Rocket Boy (163 comments) says:

    Actually Lance I’m mocking people arguing on the internet. Really what we say here really just adds up to a big pile of nothing at the end of the day.

    Joe or (Joanne) average have barely heard of the EFB much less the right-wing ‘revolt’ against it.

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  92. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    Oh, RBoy, don’t say that! I was just getting all filled with purpose and self-importance. Now you’ve gone and burst my bubble.

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  93. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    “Pascal, as I understand it Labour spent less on the election than National. I don’t know how that’s buying an election.”

    The election was close. If we assume what Roger Nome says is true, then the level of money spent can decide close elections. If Labour didnt illegally spend tax payer money, and therefore not underspend National by as much, they wouldnt have won. According to your crews own logic, Tane, Labour stole the election.

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  94. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    I don’t know how that’s buying an election

    How about this then: ‘This healthy fiscal position presents the Government with scope to cut taxes, increase expenditure, and build up financial assets’ – Cullen 2003

    followed with
    ‘the electorate can get stuffed.’ Cullen 2006

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  95. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    But it illustrates it fairly clearly, doesn’t it? You can’t argue or escape from that.

    It illustrates 3 things very clearly.

    Firstly that government expenditure on advertising is much bigger than any other factor. Naturally it is also not equivalent to electioneering, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

    Secondly it illustrates that LABOUR’s spending cap is much bigger than third party spending caps. It says nothing at all about the other 60% of political power holders in NZ. Nor does it put into any kind of perspective how many of these third parties there are. It just lumps them all together as one tiny dot.

    Thirdly, it illustrates that it is important to you to make the first two points.

    Again, there is nothing unfactual about what you’ve put here. It is just similar to putting on the front page of a paper a careful pose shot of John Key with his kids, and one of Clark caught with a nasty snarl or similar, whilst discussing the relative merits of the parties policy on, say, Families. Nothing unfactual about any of it, but clearly biased.

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  96. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    No David, you have to include the EB campaign which National knew about and was the recipient of. That’s another $1.2m on top.

    [DPF: So predictable. They talked about a campaign of that much but no one knows how much they did spend. And regardless the law is quite clear that that campaign did not count as National's.]

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  97. Simeon (142 comments) says:

    Rocket Boy said “Joe or (Joanne) average have barely heard of the EFB”

    That’s right and it doesn’t seem like the Government will inform us on what it is about.

    Why did the Government bring it to the house so late in the term?? It is very obvious.

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  98. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Oh yeah, the old EB campaign.

    How much did Owen Glenn slosh in through other people, Tutae?

    Let’s tot up the union spend on advertising, thus diverting their members’ dues from more worthwhile pursuits like better working conditions etc.

    And don’t forget that $800,000 you had to run the sausage sizzle to pay back…

    Fuckwit.

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  99. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    Tane, the EB campaign is no more part of the Nat campaign than is any expenditure by govt or by any other third party. Under the new EFB rules 10 interest groups could all campaign for National, spend $120,000 each, totalling $1.2 mil and this would not be counted as National spending. In the same respect, money spent by unions is not counted as Labour spending.

    I agree, Ben, the graph, while not infactual, does not convey anything complete or unambiguous.

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  100. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    This of course excludes third party campaigns but no one knows what they cost and Tane was talking anyway about Labour vs National

    Whats the bet he only brings up the EB campaign as third party spending, but neglects any assistance to Labour from third parties.

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  101. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Ben: Firstly that government expenditure on advertising is much bigger than any other factor. Naturally it is also not equivalent to electioneering, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

    Because it is not about electioneering? The inclusion of the government in there tells me it is about communicating in an election year and showing the relative budgets that entity types would have. (If they wanted to show groups they’d have included all the parties)

    Again – how can it be biased when it shows maximums for entities? You are assigning bias to it, which seems to be stemming from a guilty conscience. And if not that, a fear that people might actually believe us evil right wingers :)

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  102. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent: Also, the $69 mil covers a 12 month period while the $120,000 covers a 9 month period.

    Fair point. So the $69 mil should become roughly $52 million. Then we have an approximate showing of the maximum expenditure we can expect from four different and distinct entities in an election year during the regulatory period.

    And that will cover government, party, private and anonymous. Seems good to me.

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  103. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    “the $69 mil covers a 12 month period while the $120,000 covers a 9 month period.”

    is not that unfair bias?

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  104. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    But hang on Kent … let’s consider it again. The period starts 1 January 2008. What is the latest date that an election can be held? So that is the time frame in which to consider everything. More than 9 months?

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  105. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    And that will cover government, party, private and anonymous. Seems good to me.

    Still can’t see what use the graph is, except to stir up rabid right wingers through some subtle association between govt expenditure and Labour.

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  106. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    What is the latest date that an election can be held? So that is the time frame in which to consider everything.

    The problem with that is that it is not determined by 1 Jan. The govt only needs 3 months’ notice do they not? that leaves a lot of uncertainty.

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  107. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent, it is showing us how much different groups can spend on communication in an election year. This is at the heart of the EFB. How can this not be useful and interesting?

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  108. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Kent the only reasons you cant see the use of the graph, are that either your are too thick, unimaginative or that you are blinded by ideology.

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  109. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent Parker: The problem with that is that it is not determined by 1 Jan. The govt only needs 3 months’ notice do they not? that leaves a lot of uncertainty.

    Election expenditure counts from 1 January 2008, no matter when the election is held that year. Is that not what the EFB says?

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  110. g_ (28 comments) says:

    If Tane insists we include EB spending, how much Union spending can be attributed as pro-labour and should be included in their total?

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  111. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    well Nome says that the Unions spent less than the proposed limit in the EFB, if we assume this averaged $50k, then all we need to find outhow many Unions there are.

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  112. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    your are too thick, unimaginative

    Is the same Kimble who said: “If we assume what Roger Nome says is true,”?

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  113. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent, what did your re-read of the EFB including it’s amendments turn up on the start of the accounting date? 1st of January, eh? I see there was a suggestion from National to turn it forward to April, though. Don’t know if that was accepted or not.

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  114. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    If Tane insists we include EB spending, how much Union spending can be attributed as pro-labour and should be included in their total?

    Nome says that the Unions spent less than the proposed limit in the EFB, if we assume this averaged $50k, then all we need to find outhow many Unions there are.

    You people really are tiring. As has been pointed out a thousand times, this is all online. It’s been declared, it’s open, it’s transparent, and it totals a mere fraction of what the Brethren spent. Go have a look yourself at http://www.elections.org.nz

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  115. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    April would be better than Jan and the Electoral Commission is behind that view too, I believe.

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  116. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Being a unionist, you wouldn’t know the meaning of the word tiring, Tutae. You didn’t answer the question about the secret donations by overseas donors to that joke we call Government.

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  117. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Where did you get the $1.2m amount from Tane? I cant see anywhere that shows that the EB spent that much.

    All I find is a bunch of Labourites complaining that they spent it. No proof though. DPF is right, having a war chest is different to spending it. You may find claims that the EB had a war chest of $1.2m, but you having got shit showing that they spent anything like that.

    Your lies are tiring.

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  118. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    Untill you can show any proof that they spent anything like that amount you will have to refrain from making the accusation. Or dont you have any Standards?

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  119. Adam Smith (879 comments) says:

    Tane

    Where at http://www.elections.org.nz?

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  120. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Tane: I believe that is only the proportion that was obliged to be counted as election spend. Similar to the EB, the unions ran other campaigns that weren’t captured by the legislation, and therefore were not obliged to be reported. I have quoted that before on this site, in response to one of your posts. I think there are at least two unions that spend more last election than the threshold will be under the EFB.

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  121. Adam Smith (879 comments) says:

    On election Day I saw at least 2 union vehicles out and about in Wellington Central urging people to vote Labour. I thought that was not allowed!

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  122. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Again – how can it be biased when it shows maximums for entities?

    This discussion is a waste of time. Everyone knows what you were trying to show with this graph. The comebacks are obvious and have been made.

    You are trying to show that Labour gets more than their fair share of electioneering money and is trying to stop others from getting it. Your graph doesn’t show that, even if it at first glance appears to. When you get into it, it actually shows bugger all, which is now why you are wriggling around trying to say how wonderfully unbiased it was. And you can believe what you want to believe on that, it doesn’t matter to me.

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  123. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    “You are trying to show that Labour gets more than their fair share of electioneering money. Your graph doesn’t show that…”

    NO SHIT! Ben I didnt think you could be so stupid!

    To show that Labour is getting more than its ‘fair share’, we would need to put other political parties on the chart and show that they get more than anyone else.

    Ben, your comment is so transparant. You are trying to show that the Raiders simply havent been competitive since they lost Brad Clyde. But your comment doesnt show that!

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  124. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Kent Parker: April would be better than Jan and the Electoral Commission is behind that view too, I believe.

    Aye, it would be and I suspect many would be more behind that than January. Of course, what was wrong with the 3 month period we had before?

    Either way, it looks set to be the entirety of the year if the Labour party and their cohorts get their way. Not much we can do about it, they’re not exactly listening :)

    Ben, I did not make the graph. I am simply interpreting it. You can keep on putting your guilty feelings behind your interpretation, but honestly – the graph does not show that. I do find it peculiar that you are so convinced it’s showing some great wrongdoing. Is that a troubling thought? That you guys might actually be caught in the biggest electoral rort NZ has ever seen?

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  125. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    You can keep on putting your guilty feelings behind your interpretation

    …or to be more specific you can keep insisting I have any feelings about it. I’m not convinced it shows much that a list of 4 numbers would not have shown, but everyone can see what it pretends to show.

    And what’s the “you guys”? . I’m me, not “you guys”, and I’m arguing with you, not “you guys”.

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

    If each worker in the CTU gave up one hour of their time to discuss, promote, persuade or engage in a political dialogue which involved the premise that it is a good idea to vote Labour, at the minimum wage, of $11.50 an hour, that would equate to $4,025,000 worth of labour time devoted free and unaccounted for to the Labour party.

    Is this why in the CTU’s Select Committee submission on the EFB they urged the Committee not to make any limitations on free activities in favour of a party during election time?

    If we were to look at the amount of time that posters who are ‘active in the Labour Movement’ spend blogging in support of the EFB, or to argue against its opponents, and equate that to the minimum wage (though I doubt very muchthey are on that) – how difficult would it be to ‘clock’ the amount of ‘free’ unnaccaountable time taht is being devoted to electioneering on Labour’s behalf?

    Is this why the Unions personnel and time freely given during work hours have earned special exemptions from the EFB?

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  127. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Lee C, I think it’s more likely because accounting for it would be impossible.

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

    As I have said before – I am all in favour of electoral reform.
    I don’t wish to see abuse of the law, whether it is by the EB or the EPMU.
    i would like to see a Royal Commission looking into the prospect of public funding of Parties during election time, but also a formula which can begin to estimate labour costs and the effects of freely given time to elctioneering. This is plainly a loop hol so big that the Unions can drive a truck through it.

    If I am a business man and I ‘pay’ 100 people to promote a party, I am automatically a ‘rich friend’ (sorry, ‘prick’) of the party in question and according to some, should be crushed for the vermin I am. Yet if 100 union members during their work time, do the same thing, they are acting in a ‘transparent’ manner according to the same critic who would label the businessman a ‘prick’.

    Clearly if a level playing field is desired then the means by which we acount for the exploittaion of big capital whether it be union or business, needs to be addressed.

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

    Ben I do not agree, I think the likelihood is that the unions and Labour are ‘in bed’ with each other.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-union. However, I am becoming increasingly aware (due to the way union mentality is oftern represented here and elsewhere) that ‘unions’ are increasingly becoming covers for ‘special interest’ individuals who are as covetous of power and influence as big business is.

    Their channel to power is through the Labour Party, big business is through the National Party.

    If we are to address electoral reform, we should be examining the roles of both sides of the coin.
    As Spinoza saidd:
    “no matter how thinly you cut it, there are always two sides.”

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

    If each worker in the CTU gave up one hour of their time to discuss, promote, persuade or engage in a political dialogue which involved the premise that it is a good idea to vote Labour, at the minimum wage, of $11.50 an hour, that would equate to $4,025,000 worth of labour time devoted free and unaccounted for to the Labour party.
    So what if they give one hour a week for 12 weeks?
    or for 24, or 52?
    Say they do so for the total of say 48 weeks during which other organisations are not allowed to indulge in electioneering:
    $169,050,000

    Clearly these are silly numbers. But it does illustrate how little attention has been paid to the labour-value of ‘free/transparent’ electioneering to the Labour Party.
    But why then are third parties defined as such, but the definition is not apparently, extended to union activities?
    Or am I wrong?
    If so, How?

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  131. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    Ben, I do think you are reading in something that isn’t there (of course, I didn’t create the graph either, so maybe I am just as wrong as you).

    I thought the graph was trying to show why the third party limit is unreasonably low, and why the anonymous donation limit is such a small deal. The intent I think is to illustrate that third parties are in no danger at all of monopolising the political conversation. It compares how much a third party is allowed to spend v’s the size of an anonymous donation, the allocation of the largest political party, and the amount of govt advertising that goes on in a year.

    I personally would have used the anonymous donation cap ($240K or whatever it is) rather than the $1,000, since parties can accept anonymous donations up to that limit.

    Kent, what drugs are you on to attribute a portion of the government advertising spend to National? The majority of that spend goes out on policies that National didn’t support, and a decent chunk to create bus shelter ads in red that say “you’re better off with Labour.” You’re not seriously suggesting that a percentage of that spend should be allocated to National as their election spend?

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  132. pdq (82 comments) says:

    Tane, you are a bore. I think in 2005 the fleet of EPMU cars* driving around central Wellington with loudspeakers advising us that Don Brash eats babies and National is evil would have racked up more cost in terms of fuel (not to mention the damage to the environment – seeing as that’s all the rage these days), depreciation and unionist wages than a few EB pamplets shoved into letterboxes.

    * not singling you out, there were Food & Service cars at it too.

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  133. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    I thought the graph was trying to show why the third party limit is unreasonably low, and why the anonymous donation limit is such a small deal.

    Fine, and I think it didn’t show that at all. Obviously the problem with third parties and anonymous donations is that there are quite a lot of them. Until you show what the aggregate is, or is likely to be, you have shown nothing but a big red dot that appears to be monopolizing something it isn’t. It’s like saying the biomass of elephants is bigger than that of ants, because “look at how big an elephant is compared to an ant”. As for the even bigger green dot, that’s not even apples with oranges, since only an unknown proportion of it could be argued to be for the same purpose of the other 3 dots.

    Which is why I can’t understand what is considered so profound and revealing about this graph. I can only speculate that the colors have something to do with it.

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  134. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Lee C, just have a think about how you might account for that. I mean practically, as in just consider the paperwork.

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  135. Insolent Prick (417 comments) says:

    The $69 million figure is misleading, DPF. And not because, as Kent Parker has said, it counts for the whole year, as opposed to the eleven months.

    Because the Government is on track to spend $100 MILLION advertising its policies this year. There was a Herald article about it a couple of weeks ago, quoting Neilsen Media figures over the last four months, and extrapolating from that. So far the Government’s spending $8 million a month. That’s before we have new campaigns on sustainability, Labour’s “fiscally responsible tax cuts”, “building national identity”, and “families young and old”.

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  136. pdq (82 comments) says:

    Yes IP not to mention the “Working for Families – You’re better off with Labour” $15m campaign in 2005. “Buy NZ Made” as a sop to the Greens and Winston’s flop the Gold Card, yep its a good time to be a creative in the ad business.

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

    Ben Canadian electoral reform has made some inroads into union donations at least,
    are you saying ‘free’ partisan perversion of the electoral process should be allowed because it is ‘too hard’ to stop it?
    Where is the level playing firld claim there?

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

    Besides, Ben, if accounting for union involvement and labour in electioneering is so difficult to do, why did the CTU advise tht it be discounted as a consideration in their submission to the EFB Select Committee?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10470598

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  139. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Ben, so because it is difficult to account for the financial benefits that Labour derive from the campaigns of Unions we should simply discount the value of all those people campaigning?

    Excuse me, but what the fuck? I thought the aim here was to have a level playing field come election day, and while people are bleating about the effect of the Exclusive Brethren you are in effect saying that Union electioneering activity FOR the Labour party should not be counted because it’s too difficult.

    To quote some internet vernacular. NO U.

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  140. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Ben, I classify you and one of the more well reasoned commentators from the left. However your “because it’s too difficult” dismissal of potentially 10′s of millions of dollars worth of third-party promotion of the Government damages your reputation a bit, in my mind at least.

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  141. go NZ (59 comments) says:

    This is a Jolly interesting debate,what? My contribution is this;the EB pamphlets were a fantastic success because it has resulted in Labour introducing the outrageous EFB and upsetting the whole electorate.

    Eat that u lefties,media experts,barstards in the Beehive and EB haters!!

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  142. Kent Parker (449 comments) says:

    PaulL

    The majority of that spend goes out on policies that National didn’t support

    Sure I put the proportion at 39%, which is not a majority of the spend and is about what they got in the 2005 election (total vote count). National is not so impotent that none of the govt spending reflects policies that they have supported in some way or other and will continue to do so once they become govt.

    I agree with Ben in that this graph is being used in some underhand way to illustrate how Labour has the system loaded their way. The govt is a much bigger animal than any single political party and is going to be a lot more expensive to run. While you may argue to the contrary, the govt ministries are supposed to be politically neutral and so in terms of electioneering 95% of the govt spend in election year should be considered neutral.

    I have questions about the EFB regarding use of voluntary labour. If I employ a professional PR person who offers their time free, do I have to account for that as an expenditure (at market rate), or not? Is it a donation?

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

    Kent, if it is ok for the union members, surely it must be ok for private individuals?

    The point I was reaching was that any Royal Commission should invest in some kind of formual by which the voluntary time given can be accountable, otherwise, the EFB as it stands, rrepresents a blank cheque to the Union Movement to electioneer on the part of the Labour Party.
    Which might explain
    i) the Uninon’s strange silence on this huge issue of democratic representation
    ii) why many union bloggers here and elsewhere are so keen to deflect the issue onto the role of ‘big-business’ in elections as the issue in corruption
    iii) why the CTU Select Committee Submission specifically asked for ‘activity’ by unions to be exempt from the reforms of the EFB
    iv) why the Labour Party agreed.

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  144. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Lee beat me to it. Labour benefits enormounsly from union foot soldiers (which Tane et al claim is fine ‘because it’s all declared’.. as if that matters!).

    the EFB is a broken net. Labour will use the holes to let any Labour-supporting fish though while catching and filleting any that fail the loyalty test.

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

    so KK any true examinaition of electoral reform should also include the union role in electioneering.

    Thanks to Labour opening this can of worms which is electoral reform, perhaps we can start to examine electoral corruption across the political spectrum?

    A Royal Commission at least to start.

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

    As I have argued previously. I am not opposed to electoral reform, if it done in an even-handed and unpartisan manner.
    I appears to me that if we are to acknowledge the many strong cases for electoral reform that those from the left have been expressing, it would be surely impossible for them to argue against the ‘Back room boys’ as one refers to them cobbling together strategy designed to pervert the process. What is the difference between say 12 top Union Reps, using subscription money to promote a political party (without asking the members) and 12 business men using their own (without asking their religiohs community)?

    At the end of the day, it is still big money, big time, big effort all towards the same end….

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  147. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Accounting for union donations of cash: No problem. Accounting for individual unpaid time spent talking politics: Silly idea.

    It opens the door to a world of hurt. How much should all the free work in support of parties be charged at, and how are you going to seriously keep track of it?

    For exactly the same reason that free work is not taxed, nor should it be accounted for in campaign budgets.

    I think it needs to be ‘acknowledged’, sure. The countless hours spent in free support of all the political parties are no doubt a big factor in their success. But to me the solution is that there is a counterbalancing allowance from the government that simply makes all these free and unaccountable donations less pervasive.

    I know Nicky Hager made a big meal out of Don Brash getting free helicopter rides around the country last election. I find it hard to think how you can truly stop that kind of thing, though. It is perhaps worthwhile to track the realistic costs of moving candidates around during the campaign, but to do the same for every single supporter? The line has to be drawn somewhere, and I think informal conversations around the water cooler really is well over the other side of the totally impractical line.

    The Exclusive Brethren did step over an existing line. Pamphleteering has long been accounted for. Probably not all the costs are accounted, but the big ones are, like the printing. But the real Brethren controversy was around the lies and evasions about who was behind it, which the rules are even clearer for than the accounting.

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  148. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    … and in terms of big money – it doesn’t get much bigger than a government minister directing how his/her department should ‘focus’ their promotional budget for the benefits of the party.

    kent opined above that 5% of departmental may be designed to secure votes. aside from the possibility of it being more like 10-20%, that 5% still equates to $3.45m of public money.

    this is extraordinary vote buying of couse, unless one accepts Labours argument that anything they spend has no influence on an election outcome while some chap with a placard on lambton quay represents electoral manipulation that must be stamped out.. for the sake of democracy.

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  149. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    KK _ I’d love to see the draft comms and marketing plan/budget the Environment Ministry has for next year. I can just see it: ‘Labour fixed the ozone hole’ etc…

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  150. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    So, Ben Wilson, why hasn’t the Klark regime just tightened up the third party disclosure laws? Why this whole raft of Orwellian shite?

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  151. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    buggerlugs, lol. i’m expecting the IRD marketing budget to be fattened up, and then vanish in a veritable deluge of tax-bribe advertising

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  152. clintheine (1,560 comments) says:

    Tane has been asked to explain many times why he blindly defends where Unions get their money from and he dodges behind nonsense every time.

    We all know that Labour and co benefit greatly from these unions and in due course they get their rewards from all those neat and handy funds that get set up.

    What gets my goat is that Tane and his chums think this is good and legit and money from every day people is bad. Fark no wonder NZ is heading down the OECD ratings!

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

    Ben – [Accounting for free labour from unions during elections]
    “It opens the door to a world of hurt. How much should all the free work in support of parties be charged at, and how are you going to seriously keep track of it?”

    We should not be afraid of opening up a ‘world of hurt’ it has not dissuaded the government from doing just that in their handling of the EFB.

    My proposition is tht some kind of formula should be reached and agreed upon, if the electoral process truly is going to be levelled.

    Union electioneering – fine, if people want to do it on their own time, not while being paid to supposedly do other stuff by thier union.

    If a membership has a certain number what is wrong with working out a formula which endorses a particular and accountable amount of support it can democratically, be expected to give?

    Why should union reps be paid by thier workers to electioneer, when they are supposed to be representing their interests against the imperatives of the government?

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  154. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    PhilBest, I wouldn’t have a clue. I’m not arguing FOR the EFB, I’m arguing AGAINST micro-accounting as part of it.

    Which leads to…

    Lee C, 2 wrongs don’t make a right. It sounds like enough of a balls up without your suggestion being added to balls it up thoroughly.

    Union donations should be accounted for and capped. Accounting for all free work is a truly massive can of worms. Even the more limited free work you want to account for is a totally impractical idea.

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

    Ben I suggested electoral reform desigend to create a level playing field, after the initial setting up of a ROyal Commission.

    Not the EFB, which is hardly a reform, more a legal entrenching of one kind of rorting at the expense of another, so I agree; two worngs do not make a right.

    Why is it a massive can of worms to estimate how much labour time went into an activity then count it against the election spend of the party it is in support of??

    Union members don’t work at their jobs for free do they? they all have a hourly rate, it’s written down on thier pay packets in black and white. If I give one hour of my work time to electioneering while in work time, then It should be accounted for. Pure and simple.

    If you are suggesting that the unions should be exempt from public scrutiny, while the activities of ‘big business’ should not. It would be as easy to argue the original EFB should not have happened on the basis it is too big a ‘can of worms’.

    I’m self-employed for example. Every time I blog, I am robbing myself of my own labour time. I have to accept that. So if I were employed by a union, to write press releases, for example, and spent x hours a week blogging in favour of the Labour Party, how is this anything other than a rort of my employers’ cash and time,, my union members subs and trust, and of the electoral processes need for transparency?

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

    The ‘free’ time given is not ‘free’ at all. It’s just a political version of tax evasion.

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  157. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Lee, there are surely some kinds of advocacy that can easily be accounted for and are totally partisan for a party. If you want to suggest what they are, go ahead. Give me an actual example from the real world. But there’s an enormous grey area in which large number of people that you are claiming are paid advocates of a particular party simply are not. They are just people who have an opinion about which party to vote for and are giving their free time to that end. You can’t stop this gap up and if you try you really will be killing freedom of speech. Like I said, 2 wrongs do not make a right.

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

    you see the whole issue is about transparency. The left are very keen to see transparency when they discuss electoral reform viz a vis the EFB, but they are not so keen to employ transparency themselves.
    Let us look at a hypothetical:
    A union rep who sets up a partisan blog, and spends copious amounts of time posting in defence of Labour policy, while he is obvioulsy in work time. It has to be a hypothetical, though, because the covert nature of his or her advocay means taht he or she will only post anonymously. Where is the transparency they so advocate there?
    So when you ask for a concrete example (though I don’t know why after you have already acknowledged it happens) it is as difficult to pin it sown as it is to work out the secret/anonymous identities behind the National party.
    The contradiction I see in your reply is that if the people you refer to are acting in their free time, then fine, but what if they are at work when they do it? SOmeone is paying for it, surely?
    The other thing, is that we have to acknowledge that the Labour movement is a massive capital interest, and influences governments.
    It is interesting that you are suggesting I ‘really will be killing freedom of speech’ if I suggest limitations on the powers of unions to affect electoral outcpomes.

    is this the level playing filed taht the left have been striving to achieve, or is ‘level playing field’ really code for ‘advantageous to Labour and the ‘Labour Movement’?

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