Electoral Finance Act lawsuits

May 15th, 2008 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

Yesterday and today have had the occupying the time of the High Court, but with two different lawsuits before two different Judges.

I popped into court for some of yesterday to hear counsel for the National Party, the and the make their cases over the ’s application to be a third party. The hearing though really was just on the technical issue of whether the section which states a person can not be a third party if involved in the administration of a party’s affairs means legal persons (including organisations) or just natural persons.

This was pretty dry, and a few grumpy journalists who spent all day in court told me they blamed me for the most boring day of their life :-)

I expect the Judge to rule in two to three weeks. If he rules it means legal persons, then the Electoral Commission will consider the issue of whether or not the EPMU is involved in Labour’s administration. If he rules natural person, then the EPMU gains registration unless National appeals.

I found it interesting that the EPMU QC made an two errors of fact [see update below] while I was there. Neither are particularly important though to the main case. He said that a party’s spending limit is $1 million rather than $1 million plus $20K per electorate they contest. More significantly he said if a party overspends their limit they can face an electoral petition. This is incorrect. There are no electoral consequences at all for over-spending on the party vote (hence why Labour did it last time). Merely prosecution. It is only over-spending on an electorate campaign which can result in an electoral petition.

The EPMU in its counterclaim has asked the Court to rule that the Electoral Commission was wrong to even allow members of the public such as me (I was officially referred to as a busybody in the EPMU affadavit which become the mode of address the National lawyers used when greeting me at the break :-) ) object to an application, saying there is no requirement in the Act for people to be able to object. The Electoral Commission disagrees (saying it could lead to “absurd” outcomes) saying they have the power to go beyond the minimum requirements in the Act. If the EPMU won on this point, this could lead to significant changes in how the Commission operates – not just for third parties.

As I said, much of the arguments were on whether or not person includes organisations when judging third party ineligibility on the grounds of involvement in a party.

If National loses, then it means any organisation can be a third party, no matter how involved in a party. One example of this was pointed out to me by a senior official in ACT. ACT originally was an incorporated society called the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers. It then morphed into the ACT Party. However I am told the A.C.T. Incorporated Society still legally exists, and is controlled by the board of the ACT Party.

Now if the ruling goes against National, the ACT Society could register as a third party, despite being controlled by the ACT Party Board. Ridiculous, but that may be what the law is – time will tell.

Today sees the High Court consider an application from Crown Law to strike out the lawsuit from and the President of Grey Power and Director of the Sensible Sentencing Trust (and ).

The plaintiffs are asking for two things basically:

  1. A ruling that the Attorney-General was wrong when he said the Electoral Finance Bill did not breach the Bill of Rights.
  2. A finding that the Electoral Finance Act is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

Crown Law is claiming parliamentary privilege means the lawsuit should be struck out. So the arguments today will mainly be on parliamentary privilege not the Electoral Finance Act.

UPDATE: Andrew Little has pointed out to me that my statement regarding the EPMU QC should be amended. He referred me to the written submission which in regards to the party spending limit correctly states it is $1 million plus $20,000 per electorate. I think it is fair to say that in oral submission this was merely shortened to $1 million (which isn’t technically inaccurate if no electorates are contested) and at worse is a mere paraphrasing.

I do still hold the view that there was an error by referring to electoral petitions in relation to party spending, as such petitions can only relate to candidate spending. This point is unrelated to the first point of what the spending limit is. However I am going off memory and did not take written notes, so I have indicated I am happy to do a correction if I am incorrect. Having said that I do recall the statement reasonably clearly as I commented to the lawyer next to me that it was wrong, and he concurred. Regardless I would stress that the error is of little significance in this particular case, and I wouldn’t take my mentioning it as an indication as to which party the Judge will concur with.

In a political sense, I do think it is a real issue that there are no electoral consequences for party vote overspending, and if National wins and does a full review of the Electoral Act, it is an issue I hope will be considered.

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95 Responses to “Electoral Finance Act lawsuits”

  1. Julian (160 comments) says:

    Good on you for spending so much time (and hence money) on this. It’s important that someone challenges these anti-democratic moves.

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  2. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    I’m sure Unions will be able to register as a Third Parties – they support the Labour.

    But just wait until the uncle of the cousin of the neighbour of the National Party president’s tennis partner tries to similarly register. There’ll be no end of claims of collusion, big business, secret deals yada yada from the desperate ideological one-tracks to our left.

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  3. Bryan Spondre (554 comments) says:

    EFA = The Elections F**ked Up ?

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  4. democracymum (660 comments) says:

    Keep up the good work David.

    Did I hear right that Madeline Setchell (who now apparently works at Victoria University in communications) was yestereday responsible for updating journalists on whether Mary Anne Thompson’s credentials were bona fide.

    There’s an interesting irony for you…

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  5. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    The “champions of free speech” spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to stop a democratic body exercising it’s rights at election time.

    Truly one could not make it up.

    [DPF: The issue is whether they have the "right" under the EFA because they have chosen to join a political party. Just like if you choose to become an officer in a political party you would not have the right to be a third party]

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  6. Julian (160 comments) says:

    Sonic, the EPMU is Labour in drag. You know it as well as everyone else here does.

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  7. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    But Sonic, did you not support the EFA, on the grounds that it doesn’t negatively affect free speech? only that evil, vast right wing conspiracy type, “paid speech”.

    I thought the EFA was all about improving accountability, and stopping the vast right wing conspiracy from “stealing” elections. Surely it couldn’t possibly be used to stifle the freedom fo speech of the left? surely not.

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  8. big bruv (13,316 comments) says:

    Sonic

    I don’t suppose you have stopped to consider that it is your corrupt party that made the rules in the first place, all that the Nat’s are doing is ensuring that your corrupt party plays by those rules.

    Imagine, a country where the theft of $880k is made legal….one could not make it up!

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  9. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    3 little points

    1) I’m not a member of the Labour Party

    2) I did not write the EFA

    3) I’m not the one trying to shut down freedom of speech, David is.

    Perhaps a billboard with Robert Mugabe saying how much he supports Mr Farrars actions might be in order?

    [DPF: Sure - see how much you can raise for one. And it is the EFA which may restrict the EPMU's ability to campaign, not me. And even then they can still campaign as much as they want - so long as Labour authorises it out of their spending cap. If they did not choose to be a member of Labour, this would not be an issue]

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  10. big bruv (13,316 comments) says:

    Sonic

    3 Little counter points

    1) You may as well be given your blind support for dear corrupt leader.
    2) As one of its biggest cheer leaders you may as well have.
    3) Yes you are, your idea of free speech is one that only allows the govt of the day to campaign while denying those who oppose them the same right.

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  11. Frank (320 comments) says:

    DPF: “The plaintiffs are asking for two things basically:

    1. A ruling that the Attorney-General was wrong when he said the Electoral Finance Bill did not breach the Bill of Rights.

    2. A finding that the Electoral Finance Act is inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act.

    Crown Law is claiming parliamentary privilege means the lawsuit should be struck out. So the arguments today will mainly be on parliamentary privilege not the Electoral Finance Act.”

    The question is how far does “Parliamentary Privilege” extend? Is it above the Law?

    Crown Law appears to be doing just this? Why should Crown Law endeavour to usurp the power of the Courts? They are not empowered to determine legal issues including how particular statutory provisions should be interpreted? This is the function of the Courts”.

    So I refer you to the Bill of Rights Act 1688, section 1 having application in New Zealand by virtue of the Imperial laws Application Act 1988. the relevant law states:

    ‘That the freedome of speech and debates of proceedings in Parlyament ought not to be impeached orr questioned in any court or place out of Parlyament.”

    It was Crown Law and Dr A R Jack, Chief Legal Officer, of the Commissioner’s Office, that approved the police decision not to prosecute parliamentary parties that broke the Electoral Laws. This led to the passing of the EFB to legalise unlawful expenditure by political parties. This in my view is corruption and bribery under the Crimes Act 1961.

    This in turn removed the Darnton V Clark case from the jurisdiction of the High Court. Parliamentarians became judge and jury thus usurping the powers of the High Court. They used their position in the “Service of the Crown” to advantage themselves to the disadvantage of others.

    They like Mary- Anne Thompson perverted and defeated the course of justice?

    Can you, readers of this thread, show errors in my reasoning?

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  12. Julian (160 comments) says:

    No one is disputing your first two points.

    It’s not freedom of speech they’re trying to prevent, it’s Labour/EPMU spending more than they are legally entitled to under the legislation. You can obfuscate the matter as much as you like.

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  13. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    sonic, your masters assembled this turd-quality law and have to be subject to it – just like everyone else. it’s called common law

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  14. insider (1,000 comments) says:

    Sonice

    don’t you have any concerns about the EPMU trying to deny you me and everyone else the right to take complaints to the EC?

    [DPF: To be fair they are just saying there should be no right to complain regarding registrations, not regarding breaches of the law]

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  15. GPT1 (2,090 comments) says:

    Sonic – DPF has said before that the Unions should be able to contribute to a campaign the same as any other group in this country. Now that this ridiculously restrictive law is in place it has to be applied. Frankly, the court action just goes to show how stupid the damn law is.

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  16. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    The natural and legal persons case is largely political – the Nats are rightly doing what they can to keep the EFA in the news – this is bad for Labour.

    It’s a bit of a stretch to claim that the EFA was to prevent parallel campaigns. A better summary is that the EFA’s basic assertion is that non candidate non registered political party campaigns on the issue of party political preferences ARE parallel and therefore need to be regulated.

    It seems to me that if the Commission’s view of the law is correct (it’s a view I am comfortable with as it construes the statute narrowly) then registered political parties will be able to co-ordinate registered third party campaigns i.e. we will have system of parallel campaigning. Each co-ordinated RTP campaign is worth 5% of the RPP’s spending cap (in many cases) Other than practical issues, there is no limit to the number of RTP’s in the RPP’s solar system.

    If the National Party wins in the contention that not only natural persons but legal persons too are prevented from being involved in the administration of the affairs of a registered parliamentary party, then this is likely to preclude trade unions (legal persons) affiliated to the Labour Party from themselves registering as third parties.

    This victory will be pyrrhic – they could simply incorporate the “EPMU campaign 2008 Inc” under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908, such an incorporation isn’t a natural or legal person involved in the administration of the affairs of the Labour Party and therefore could become a RTP.

    I thought that the EPMU contention that the Electoral Commission was acting ultra vires regarding the objection process is very weak – it seems to be against the general trend in administrative law. This may however be an argument about making it more difficult for others to get standing in such matters.

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  17. helmet (807 comments) says:

    Sonic you’re normally fairly sharp but the angle you’re taking on this issue is disingenuous and you know it. You’re appearing a little bit too trollish.

    Labour made the EFA and ensured us that it was a sound piece of legislation. People are just showing them how stupid it is. Besides, it makes more sense to get the shonky law tested on your enemies than your friends.

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  18. ghostwhowalks3 (387 comments) says:

    The EB , at the last election did run a parallel campaign to national , but were advised by national-secretly- to hide behind the existing law and only attack labour/greens and use dummy addresses to hide the fact they were acting in concert.

    The new EFA actually makes a path for the EB to register, spend up to the limit AND ask for votes for national.
    Thats if they arent allready behind Family Fist or similar
    With John Key in charge , they wont be doing that

    [DPF: And once agin you are wrong on the facts. A third party can not ask for votes for a party without a party's permission and it counting towards the cap.]

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  19. Inventory2 (10,108 comments) says:

    I’m still laughing at the irony of the EB, demonised by Trevor Mallard (“chinless scarf-wearers”) even though they broke no law, having a good old chuckle at Trevor’s legal “difficulties”!

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  20. Inventory2 (10,108 comments) says:

    GWW – there’s nothing to stop the EB setting up a whole batch of Incorprated Societies, with the express intention of registering as Third Parties to campaign against Labour and the Greens. Let’s do the maths – 5000 EB; 250 IS’s @ 20 EB each (well above the minimum threshhold); 250 x $120K…..need I say more? And hey, it’d all be legal under the EFA!!!!!!!!!

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  21. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    The “champions of free speech” spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to stop a democratice body exercising it’s rights at election time.

    Truly one could not make it up.

    So scumbag, would that generiosity extend to groups that support National?

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  22. sean14 (62 comments) says:

    Good work DPF.

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  23. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “Scumbag?” is it now Bevan.

    As I said the sight of “free speech campaigners” trying to shut down a democratic body in the high court is as funny as it is hypocritical.

    Imagine if the campaign to legalise cannabis staretd reporting hash smokers to the police, just to “show how wrong the law is” and you’ll get some idea of just how stupid this makes you look David.

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  24. Linda Reid (396 comments) says:

    The law should apply to people equally, and Helmet is right – better to test it on your enemies than your friends. The left are offended that we expect them to follow the law they wrote.

    And this law is very offensive. It’s made life a hall of a lot more difficult for everyone who is involved in the political process, and the restrictions (length of time, definition of an advertisement, spending limits on third parties, etc) are ridiculous.

    What happened to the idea that King might actually pass some amendments in the near future?

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  25. Socrates (86 comments) says:

    “Imagine if the campaign to legalise cannabis staretd reporting hash smokers to the police, just to “show how wrong the law is” and you’ll get some idea of just how stupid this makes you look David.”

    Not really… Cannabis law is criminal law… The EFA is a political law… There is a big difference…

    What I find laughable is those in favour of the EFA getting in a lather over people who have always been opposed to it, using it to show how wriong it is…

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  26. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    I find a little bit sad to see people who claim to be principled breaking every principle they claim to hold dear for momentary political advantage.

    Still at least we can have a nice hollow laugh the next time that David et al proclaim themselves to be champions of free speech eh readers!

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  27. Manolo (13,386 comments) says:

    “I find a little bit sad to see people who claim to be principled breaking every principle they claim to hold dear for momentary political advantage.”

    Surely, you must be talking about Mallard and his unathorised used of a car as political propaganda.

    Choose your words more carefully sonic or they come to bite you in the bum.

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  28. unaha-closp (1,115 comments) says:

    Sonic,

    Still at least we can have a nice hollow laugh the next time that David et al proclaim themselves to be champions of free speech eh readers!

    Good news Sonic a party has promised to repeal this law you find so offensive to free speech. All you have to do is vote National. Tell all your friends.

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  29. Mark (497 comments) says:

    What is being done only highlights how bad this law is Sonic and the effect on free speech.

    Your only pissed off that the law is being applied to Labour and it’s supporters.

    You just thought you could just continue to break the law and get away with it. But Labour passed the law and now they are reaping the consequnces.

    It must be a bitch being a leftie.

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  30. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    If this case succeeds and trade unions are banned from expressing the democratically expressed will of their membership at election time will Mr Farrar put up a billboard protesting himself?

    Or is it that far from the issue ever being “free speech” it was always about making sure the Nats could rely on lots of lovely third party loot at the next election?

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  31. Inventory2 (10,108 comments) says:

    So as far as Mallard goes, if the cost of a BILLBOARD must be included in a candidate’s election expenses, does the cost of a VW van being USED AS A BILLBOARD have to be treated likewise? If so, Mallard’s electorate spending from now until the election will be have to be very, very light!

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  32. NX (602 comments) says:

    trying to shut down a democratic body in the high court is as funny as it is hypocritical.

    Arrrh…but the ‘democratic body’ is really just an extension of the Labour Party. Why is that point lost on you?

    It would be like the ‘blue-greens’ trying to register as a third party.

    If you can’t see this point, then that’s intellectual dishonesty on your behalf.

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  33. NX (602 comments) says:

    If this case succeeds and trade unions are banned from expressing the democratically expressed will of their membership at election time will Mr Farrar put up a billboard protesting himself?

    ^why are you trying to pin this law to David Farrar… He didn’t write it.

    News flash for Sonic; Labour are responsible for the EFA.

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  34. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Thats right NX, trade unions have no independent existance at all.

    They are not democratic bodies whose membership gets to choose their leadership and their political stance.

    It’s only right that the great “champions of free speech” who run this blog force them to spend tens of thousands of their members money to defend their right to comment during election year.

    It’s not that they just hate unions, oh no it’s a matter of “principle”

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  35. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    And NX, Mr Farrar and the National party are responsible for tying to ban unions expressing their opinions at election time.

    Don’t worry, we’ll all remember this the next time you lot pretend to be for “freedom of speech”

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  36. unaha-closp (1,115 comments) says:

    Has John Boscowan asked Andrew Little for assistance in mounting the legal challenge? Perhaps the EPMU could carry one of those Mao adverts in its inhouse publications.

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  37. NX (602 comments) says:

    They are not democratic bodies whose membership gets to choose their leadership and their political stance.

    I know jack about unions, but I believe they’re involved in the administration of the Labour Party & membership recruitment. Isn’t Andrew Little on the Labour ruling council or something.

    Anyway, your point isn’t valid because I’m sure you can find plenty of National Party affiliated groups who democratically elect their leaders. Take for example local candidate electoral committees or whatever….

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  38. PeterG (21 comments) says:

    As I said the sight of “free speech campaigners” trying to shut down a democratic body in the high court is as funny as it is hypocritical.

    Imagine if the campaign to legalise cannabis staretd reporting hash smokers to the police, just to “show how wrong the law is” and you’ll get some idea of just how stupid this makes you look David.

    No it would be more like legalise cannabis campaigners dobbing in the PM for smoking pot. Such an act would show that the law should not exist, and is in fact held in contempt by those that enact it.

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  39. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Ok peter let me try a better analogy.

    It’s like a bunch of people screaming blue murder for over a year about “free speech” gloating over a court case that is trying to deny free speech to a democratic body..

    Perhaps this shows that the principle of “free speech” is in fact held in contempt by some of those who claimed to defend it?

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  40. RRM (9,472 comments) says:

    It does seem a bit rich that, on the one hand, Our hero Mr John Key, his homeboys and various other zealots trumpet “This EFA is supression of free speech” while counsel for the National Party make submissions in court seeking to prevent a worker’s group making political comments in election year…

    One can only assume that dirty union members do not count as “people” worthy of the right of free speech that Our Hero Mr John Key espouses…?

    Edit: Or is it actually an admirable thing to take a stance of “we oppose this law absolutely, but we’ll run with it where it suits our purposes”???

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  41. NX (602 comments) says:

    Mr Farrar and the National party are responsible for tying to ban unions expressing their opinions

    NO. They’re responsible for using a law (the EFA, you might have heard of it) that Labour enacted through parliament. Subtle difference.

    Sonic, I suggest your anger is totally misplaced. What is happening now was predicted by many commentators such as DPF & newspaper columnists – all while you were defending the law. A law you’re now complaining about. OH… the irony.

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  42. PeterG (21 comments) says:

    It’s like a bunch of people screaming blue murder for over a year about “free speech” gloating over a court case that is trying to deny free speech to a democratic body..

    Perhaps they are ‘gloating’ about it because the feel that if a group so close to the govt, is forced to feel the pinch of this law, then those who enacted it, might (ha!) decide to repeal it, thus providing free-er speech for all….

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  43. Graeme Edgeler (3,267 comments) says:

    I might just state that today’s hearing is vastly more interesting – stories of judges and court officials being arrested, a former English Attorney-General threatening to bring in the Army etc.

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  44. unaha-closp (1,115 comments) says:

    Don’t worry, we’ll all remember this the next time you lot pretend to be for “freedom of speech”.

    Not a chance.

    Who is going to remind the electorate? Not the unions obviously they’ll be gone, the EFA is going to ban them. It’ll be down to a couple of blog commentators and talk back radio.

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  45. tom hunter (4,430 comments) says:

    GLOATING?

    I think it was RRM on the Mallard thread who also mentioned the word “gloating’.

    Rubbish! This is not some diluted little emotion like gloating.

    No, No, No. This is – as Craig Ranapia repeatedly said during these debates last year – KARMA – baby.

    Or if we put it in terms that NZ socialists can understand I’ll use those ‘fightin’ words of Willie Jackson in parliament eight years ago – it’s UTU!

    Only time will tell as to whether National can apply that other famous phrase that could only have been expressed by a sophisticated, subtle, knowledgeble, smart, well-educated left-winger of renowned debating capabilities:

    “We won, you lost, eat that!”

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  46. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    I’m pleased that RRM and sonic are both in agreement that if this court case is successful that the EFA will be responsible for suppression of freedom of speech. This seems to have been a point that a lot of people on the left didn’t believe prior to this court case.

    Out of interest, has the National Party ever stopped a Union from expressing their views in election year before? If not, do you think the difference might be the EFA which they objected to?

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  47. freethinker (681 comments) says:

    IV2

    If Mallards van is included and wasn’t second hand he is almost certainly already over the limit.

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  48. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Oh no labrator, Mr Farrar and the National party will be responsible.

    And we will not forget, have no fears about that.

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  49. NX (602 comments) says:

    Oh no labrator, Mr Farrar and the National party will be responsible.

    Two words Sonic: Intellectual dishonesty.

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  50. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler:

    You will not be permitted such scant Court reportage.

    We want a blow by blow account – the smell of cordite; the flare of nostrils; the whites of their eyes; the roar of the crowd.

    We need a sketch piece on the pugilist QC’s and Counsel.

    Come come we need you to let the inner Mencken out.

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  51. tom hunter (4,430 comments) says:

    Two words Sonic: Intellectual dishonesty

    For crying out loud NX, if you’re going to get anywhere with these people you have to use words they understand.

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  52. Socrates (86 comments) says:

    Sonic
    How about this:
    A political party (say national) on the opposite side of the political spectrum from yourself, which is at the time the major party in government, introduces and passes a piece of legislation around elections that you feel is unfairly restrictive of free speech and is drafted in such a manor that favours the party passing the law. All through the process of passing said legislation through parliament you make submissions on how this law is wrong, but are overlooked.

    When the law is passed, do you:
    A: Go, well it’s passed never mind lets give up.
    B: Mount a series of protests to highlight what is wrong with the law?
    C: Use the law to highlight how stupid it [the law] is?
    D: Do both B and C?

    We know what David did.

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  53. David Farrar (1,856 comments) says:

    Sonic keeps ignoring the issue. The fact the EPMU is a union has nothing to do with the issue. Many unions have already registered. So has the CTU.

    The issue is that the EPMU has chosen to join the Labour Party, and as a consequence of joining has involvement in the Labour Party. And the EFA places limits on persons who choose to get involved with political parties, in terms fo third party activities.

    If the EPMU was not an affiliate member of the Labour Party, then there would be no issue at all.

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  54. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    I am short on time now, but two points which I would like to address are as follow.
    Firslty it would seem that people are trying to imply that there is a singular and universal meaning for the phrase “freedom of speech”. Now I am largely taking my view from a quick scan of this thread/blog but it seems that both sides are largely arguing I perceive it in X way therefore I am right.

    Another things which annoyed me a lot was this comment.
    “What is being done only highlights how bad this law is Sonic and the effect on free speech.

    Your only pissed off that the law is being applied to Labour and it’s supporters.

    You just thought you could just continue to break the law and get away with it. But Labour passed the law and now they are reaping the consequnces.

    It must be a bitch being a leftie.”
    I myself am left wing yet I do not approve of the labour party breaking laws. In fact I myself am quite annoyed when any party intentionally breaks a law. You seem to be under the misconception that ones alignment in the political spectrum is based purely on a sworn loyalty to a party. There are people who evaluate parties based on how they suit their political ideals/views not simply based on where they may be on the spectrum.

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  55. John Boscawen (146 comments) says:

    Chris Diack, the Crown finished their submisisons around 12.45pm and my barrister had about 15 minutes before the lunch break. We resume at 2.15pm. The strike out application should be completed by the end of the day hopefully. This is our first day in “public”.

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  56. Socrates (86 comments) says:

    And also:

    This whole mess could have been avoided if the Labour party had acted with honour and integrity two years ago. They could have said “Well we think that the laws around spending in election campaigns need to be tightened. As such we propose a bipartisan approach, where we will consult with the public and parties in parliament to draft a piece of legislation that will receive unanimous support. We will do this because we believe free speech should be protected and this law must be passed in the most open and fairest manor possible.”

    Did they do that? No. They secretly drafted a piece of legislation then managed to get just enough support to pass it.

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  57. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    Oh no labrator, Mr Farrar and the National party will be responsible.

    Hmmm, so you’re saying that our democratic right to challenge the law in court should not be used. That’s at odds with your statement about free speech being impinged. How do you resolve those two assertions you’re making?

    And we will not forget, have no fears about that.

    Who is the “we” you’re talking about. You said earlier you’re not part of the Labour party so are you part of the EMPU? Is this why you are so full of vitriol about the issue?

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  58. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “This is – as Craig Ranapia repeatedly said during these debates last year – KARMA – baby.”

    I agree. This is a venal, hollow crusade by the same old neoliberals who couldn’t give a toss about anyone’s rights so long as it’s not theirs that are being impinged upon. And what’s their most cherished ‘right’? Well the right to rule on behalf of the 2-3% of New Zealanders that earn over $100,000 per year (which usually includes themselves).

    This isn’t to say that financial success is bad, in fact it’s great. But when these “born to rule” types start perverting the principles of democracy with secret trusts and deceptive parallel campaigns with wealthy non-democratic groups, that’s when they need reigning in, and that’s when it’s time for the people to stand up for democracy. This is what Labour, NZ First, the Greens and UF are doing with the EFA.

    The Plutocrats like Davida Farrar, and the hollow men backers behind his “Coalition for Free Speech” can’t stand it.

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  59. Mark (497 comments) says:

    Yes Roger, it those evil backers of National that forced Labour Party to but the EFA into law to stifle free speech for 1 year in 3.

    It was National and that ‘tory’ rag called the NZ Hearld that pointed out the flaws with the EFA but Labour and it’s allies passed it.

    Now people have to follow the law.

    Seems strange but I remember roger, sonic and other lefties all for this law last year. Whats the problem now then. Are you going back on your words and saying the EFA should never of been passed then.

    Losers.

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  60. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Given those options Socrates I’d certainly not be enough of a hypocrite to use a law I thought was wrong.

    I leave that level of “intellectual dishonesty” to David and his ilk.

    “our democratic right to challenge the law”

    They are not challenging the law, the are using it to try and muzzle the unions.

    There is a phrase that covers that, what is it again?

    Oh I recall, Intellectual dishonesty

    [DPF: And for the 28th time, only unions which have chosen to join Labour. If they did not join Labour, then there would be no issue. And oh yeah I hope you will be refusing your tax cut when the Govt passes a law to reduce tax rates]

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  61. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Philip John: I agree. This is a venal, hollow crusade by the same old neoliberals who couldn’t give a toss about anyone’s rights so long as it’s not theirs that are bein … blah blah blah

    No, what it is is the rest of New Zealand trying to abide by the laws the Labour Party and the Green Party wrote to legislate themselves an advantage without a care for the rest of New Zealand or for the rights of general New Zealand.

    You cannot blame people for working within a defective framework, a framework set there by the one party that stole an election, have used public service funds to fund their election campaign, have more corruption amongst their ranks than a month rotten apple …. bah.

    What’s the point. The only thought in your mind is “Labour good, National bad.” Any form of reason or honesty is wasted on a venal fuckwit like yourself.

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  62. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    DPF

    “The fact the EPMU is a union has nothing to do with the issue.”

    The level of naivety required to believe that would not be found outside of a 1970s porno. [Young woman says] “So you mean I have to take all my clothes off to use the time machine professor?”

    Good to see DPF treating his readers like idiots. Reveals what he really thinks about his gullible band of righteous followers.

    [DPF: And again Roger plays the man not the ball. I have encouraged or signed up many a person as union members when I felt it was in their interest to do so. I have even given free professional advice to a union. The fact I have raised no issue at all over the unions which have not joined the Labour Party speaks for itself]

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

    I find it highly amusing the twits of the left are crying croccodile tears, they made their bed without checking for shit between the sheets. Sonic would have us believe the unions are pure as driven snow and they would not stoop to using every dirty trick they could muster to get their own way, I say give me a fucking break.

    I think Sonic has being watching to many terminator movies, next he will be saying “I’ll be back”.

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  64. Adam (555 comments) says:

    I think when sonic was referring to “we” it was in fact the village idiot nome showing up.

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  65. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    Edited:

    the are using it to try and muzzle the unions.

    diddums.

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  66. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Sorry Labrator, could you remind us of which Terminator movie has the phrase “we will not forget” in it?

    I’m not angry, in some ways I’m relieved I’ll not have to listen to more hypocritical garbage from you lot about “free speech”, I must say it is unusual for political parties to shoot their own fox, but there you go.

    David and the rest of you have revealed that the motive behind you “free speech crusade” was a tawdry attempt to gain a momentary political advantage for the National Party.

    I think the people that should be angry are not those of us who said all along thatthis campaign was merely a way to protect National’s big money donors but those who bought into Mr F’s rhetoric and donated their time and money.

    Not nice to be played for a fool is it?

    [DPF: Funnily enough Sonic doesn't speak for the many people who have donated time and money to fight the EFA. Because he actually supports it. And as he knows the original EFB had no clamp down at all on anonymous donations, and I am on record as having asked the Select Committee for a total ban on anonymous donations. But hey Sonic likes to lie, so no surprise he keeps it up]

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  67. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Not nice to be played for a fool is it?”

    Kissing Klark’s arse all day like you do, you’d know better than most..

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  68. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    You really do have an active, if rather disturbing, fantasy life eh ratbleater.

    Anyway could you push off now? the grown-ups are trying to talk.

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  69. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Rb – Classic, lol

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  70. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Obviously I’m not including Pat in the “grown-ups”

    ;)

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  71. unaha-closp (1,115 comments) says:

    Sonic,

    8 months of vociferous complaint against the bill, hundreds of anti-bill submissions to the select committee, pleading with the Greens to grow a back-bone (that’s a laff) and eventually a promise to rescind the law when elected. Was all just cover so that…

    David and the rest of you have revealed that the motive behind you “free speech crusade” was a tawdry attempt to gain a momentary political advantage for the National Party.

    …this action against the EPMU can take place?

    Wow, seriously delusional with a large dollop of paranoia. Seek help or soon you’ll be raving about conspiracies and forces of darkness.

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  72. Bykmad (19 comments) says:

    This is pitiful. Sonic, Rogernome, you are like kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar (or is it more like the Labour Party with its hand in Treasury’s cash box). This is about yet another Bill that Labour and its cronies have thrust upon the People of New Zealand, that is very poorly worded. Statutes have to be clear directions, not open to interpretation or favoritism. The EFA is a blight on this Country and when analysed, would have to be one of the most poorly worded legislations EVER enacted. To blame National for using Labours own Act against Labours supporters verges on the pathetic.
    The EFA appiles to EVERYONE. That means EVERYONE.
    And NO, I am not a member of any Political Party. I am a Kiwi who is VERY concerned about the future of this Country. At the moment, we continue on this track, we will end up as a Banana Republic that cant grow Banana’s.

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  73. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    “Because he actually supports it. And as he knows the original EFB had no clamp down at all on anonymous donations”

    Actually we have the Greens to thank for clamp-down on anon donations (they were the ones that had the relevant provisions inserted during SC). I actually agree that there was much to oppose with the original pre-Select-Committee EFB. But all we have left now are small glitches – the worst of which is the requirement for election advertisements to include the name and home address of the promoter. Of course just the full name would have done for small spenders, and large spenders could leave their contact details with the Electoral Commission – so any complaints could be followed up. So this is annoying but hardly a major problem .

    So now the right’s Anti-EFB campaign has been reduced to a fiasco involving venal little stunts like the one described in DPF’s post.

    Regular readers may remember DPF advocating for no restrictions on third-party spending at all. He only advocated that their spending be transparent. Yet low and behold, he’s now trying to find interpretations of the law that stop certain ‘undesirable’ independent, democratic third-parties from campaigning all together.

    There’s a word for that, and we are allowed to mention it here. Starts with H doesn’t it DPF?

    [DPF: You are really really in a world of your own. Since the EFA was passed there have been 466 articles on it, according to the NZPA database. That is an average of over 20 articles a week. And guess what - every single article has basically been negative on the EFA. Yeah the campaign against is it such a fiasco it has only managed 450 articles, and over a dozen editorials from basically every newspaper in NZ calling it an bad law.

    This is what Roger calls a fiasco. It just shows how demented he is, in a world where reality is something other people subscribe to. It also shows why no-one at all atkes anything he says seriously

    Roger also lies saying I advocated no third party restrictions at all. Note he supplies no source for this. He has 24 hours to find a source for his allegation or take demerits for blatant lying]

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  74. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Sonic, you talk such shit. I have approx 30 staff working for me. Last election we were served a stop work notice by the union for a meeting. The staff attended a hall with Labour Party decorations and hoardings; They were TOLD they would vote Labour and a Labour MP spoke to them for some time. They are predominantly Pacific Islanders but were quite clearly instructed who to vote for.

    Don’t come the raw prawn telling me about democracy and the will of the members.
    Its also absolute abuse of the provisions of the ECA.

    “If this case succeeds and trade unions are banned from expressing the democratically expressed will of their membership at election time”

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  75. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    Can i ask people who swear at other people on the internet exactly why they do it? Can’t you make your point without resorting to this? Does it make you feel tough? Would you do it in person?

    It’s not godly behaviour, to say the least.

    This is an honest enquiry. I’m genuinely interested.

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  76. Inventory2 (10,108 comments) says:

    Oh dear roger nome; sitting on 80 demerits already too. However will you manage two weeks without Kiwiblog?

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  77. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    would you call yourself someones enema in person? Does it make you feel dirty?

    Seriously though – I suppose to add emphasis to something

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  78. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    DPF: Roger also lies saying I advocated no third party restrictions at all. Note he supplies no source for this. He has 24 hours to find a source for his allegation or take demerits for blatant lying

    Your patience is astonishing. Why you give these brainless wastes of oxygen so much of your time and energy I will never understand.

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  79. labrator (1,750 comments) says:

    Sorry Labrator, could you remind us of which Terminator movie has the phrase “we will not forget” in it?

    Now your reading comprehension has dropped so low you don’t even know who said what even with the reference right in front of you. The only time that usually happens is when people are so mad that they just start ranting. Or maybe you’re just trying to thread jack again? You’ve failed to answer any reasonable questions on your logic and trying to sound like a bastion of free speech by being anti-democratic court proceedings. You really know no shame.

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  80. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    Thanks for trying to answer my question, Patrick, I appreciate it. I think, however, that the difference between my handle – which is intended to be light-hearted and make people smile – and calling someone, for instance, a fuckwit, on the internet, is pretty clear. There’s no humour there. Just abuse.

    I have visions of a rather spindly, insubstantial geekboy – someone who a moderate wind would blow over – sitting there and writing that. Put bluntly, talk is cheap. And in their case, it’s cowardly too. It’s easy to use words you’ll never have to back up.

    And if you need to swear at someone to, as you say, ‘add emphasis’, then I think your vocabulary is probably in desperate need of expanding. Certainly the more erudite and informed commenters, on this site and others, never have to go there.

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  81. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “which is intended to be light-hearted and make people smile”

    You sad dishonest and pretentious fuckwit. Pascal is right. You’re nothing but another smug smearing hypocrite and coward yourself, and the day you make me smile with your dumbfuck witless try hard attempts to be funny is the day pigs orbit the sun. You’re repugnant not amusing.

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  82. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Capills, “if you need to swear at someone to, as you say, ‘add emphasis’, then I think your vocabulary is probably in desperate need of expanding.” I dont believe that to be so, in fact the only tiime I’ve sworn tonight is telling Sonic he’s full of shit (because he is)
    If you are directing it to me I can also assure you I am no “rather spindly, insubstantial geekboy – someone who a moderate wind would blow over – sitting there and writing that”, in fact quite the contrary as a ex rugby player at 105kg – so CE I would never have any problem backing up anything I have said.
    “Certainly the more erudite and informed commenters, on this site and others, never have to go there.” – or resort to toilet humour perhaps?

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  83. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    Redbaiter: See, this is exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about. It’s so disappointing… I’ll pray for you though.

    Patrick: Actually I wasn’t directing my remarks at you. Just at the people who abuse other people with swear words a lot, which I don’t recall you doing. Anyway, I’m sure you really are a fine figure of a man. Keep it up!

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  84. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    Now I’m concerend at where you voted in the front page poll

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  85. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    Hahahaha! Touche, my friend!

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  86. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “It’s so disappointing”

    Good. Like who the hell gives a damn if you’re disappointed you self important poseur? Flitting in and out with your pathetic try hard attempts to be funny that are just so nowhere. Go way you tiresome bore. You’ve got nothing to say of import about anything.

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  87. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    This one was slightly better, Redbaiter. No potty words in this one. We’ll make a man of you yet!

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

    This HAS to be tomorrow’s random quote:

    “Imagine if the campaign to legalise cannabis started reporting hash smokers to the police, just to “show how wrong the law is” and you’ll get some idea of just how stupid this makes you look David.”

    Either way, I’m having it for MWT.

    By the way i posted a selection of ‘ordinary kiwi’ comments about Labour and the EFA http://monkeyswithtypewriter.blogspot.com/2008/05/what-people-think-of-efa.html – which indicate that far from being a beltway issue that the electorate (amongst them some pretty disaffected ex-Labourites) are sorely upset by this law.

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  89. 1984 (89 comments) says:

    Sonic, Roger et al, please note

    “The Electoral Finance Bill does not diminish ‘free’ speech,” Professor Davis wrote in the Weekend Herald.

    “It restricts speech that is ‘purchased’ through advertising – and only in an environment that is electorally sensitive.

    “I would be concerned if ‘free’ speech was being constrained but limits on the rights to ‘purchase’ speech are justified to protect our democracy from money politics, …..

    So just remember DPF is only regulating ‘purchased’ speech in line with the provisions of the act.

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  90. clintheine (1,563 comments) says:

    Sonic “”The “champions of free speech” spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to stop a democratic body exercising it’s rights at election time.

    Truly one could not make it up.””

    Ahhh and the EPMU banning the public from making submissions isn’t??

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  91. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,811 comments) says:

    I look forward to the courts ruling. A good result at the end of the day would be for the EPMU to take a hit for its support of the EFA.

    What goes around comes around.

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  92. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Tick tock tick tock.

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  93. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    As you requested DPF:

    I would in fact have no restrictions (except those of transparency) until the last 90 days.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/04/parallel_campaigning_made_easier.html

    DPF would have no restrictions on third party campaigning for about 92% of the time – so my quote was 92% Correct ;-)

    So the purpose of my quote stands. In principle DPF is very ‘liberal’ in his approach to third party campaigning. In practice he doesn’t seem to want an independent, democratic, leftist organisation to be able to campaign at all. So what’s it called when your actions contradict the principles you espouse? Can’t quite think of the word at the moment……

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  94. roger nome (4,067 comments) says:

    Also, DPF is wrong to give the impression that the response to the EFA has been entirely negative.

    Media Release: For Immediate Release
    19 November 2007

    Coalition for Open Government welcomes revised Electoral Finance Bill
    The Coalition for Open Government welcomes the revised the Electoral Finance Bill, saying it is greatly improved by the changes announced today.

    “We are particularly pleased to see that the bill now abolishes secret trusts and tackles anonymous donations,” said Steven Price, spokesperson for the Coalition.

    The Coalition also welcomes the tightening of the definition of “election advertisement”, and believes the bill now strikes a much better balance between freedom of expression and the need to protect the democratic system from the corrupting influence of big money.

    The Coalition notes few people will have to undergo the administrative burden of registering, because it will only apply to those who want to spend more than $12,000 on electioneering (though the threshold for electioneering about constituency candidates is $1000). What’s more, hardly anyone will want to spend so much money that they’ll be affected by the $120,000 cap.

    “The bill is not about trammelling people’s right to free speech,” said Price. “The revised bill clearly supports democracy by requiring greater transparency of donors and levelling the playing field so that groups like the Exclusive Brethren can’t use their big chequebooks to swing elections.”

    The Coalition is also glad that the bill now:

    * restricts overseas donations;
    * further increases the penalties for almost all the electoral offences;
    * no longer requires people to sign statutory declaration before engaging in electioneering; and
    * allows third parties like Forest and Bird to protect the identities of their donors who aren’t trying to influence the election.

    However, the Coalition calls on parties to tighten the rules for anonymous donations even further.

    “The bill makes real progress in dealing with the huge sums given to political parties in secret,” said Price. “Still, we think the restrictions on anonymous donations should be tighter.”

    Under the bill, a political party would still not have to tell the public the name of someone who gave it $30,000 in an election cycle.

    “A simple solution would be to get rid of the new process by which anonymous donations can be funnelled through the Electoral Commission,” said Price. That would effectively ban all anonymous donations over $1000.

    But surely the Coalition for Open Government is just another discredited partisan organisation? Maybe not

    The Coalition for Open Government was originally formed in 1979 and played a leading role in achieving New Zealand’s Official Information Act (1982). The Coalition has re-formed in 2007, to work for a strong new election finance law. The Coalition has the blessing of the original group and includes one member from it.
    The government plans to rewrite the election finance laws in 2007, and the Coalition will evaluate the Government proposals, monitor the legislation process and mobilise public support for the strongest possible new law.
    The group’s patrons are Lloyd Geering, Patricia Grace, Anton Oliver and Paul Harris.
    Lloyd Geering ONZ PCNZM CBE is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, where he taught for many years and was foundation professor in the Department.
    Patricia Grace is an award-winning writer of novels, short stories, and children’s books. She was awarded the Queen’s Service Order in 1988.
    Anton Oliver is an All Black and Highlanders rugby player, from Dunedin.
    Dr Paul Harris is a former Chief Executive of New Zealand’s Electoral Commission

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  95. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Philip John, that is bullshit and you know it. Here was the statement you made:

    Philip John: Regular readers may remember DPF advocating for no restrictions on third-party spending at all.

    You were not correct. You have not supplied any proof to back up your twisting of the truth. For once, just for once, be a decent human being and say these simple words:

    “David, I am sorry. I was wrong and lied about what you had said. For that I’m sorry.”

    And then move on. Try to have at least SOME integrity. Try. Rather than trying to find some semantic bullshit to cover up your slanders and lies – just be a real man and apologise. You don’t have to be a spineless coward your entire life.

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