The budget publicity campaign

June 11th, 2008 at 9:34 am by David Farrar

have produced out of their Leader’s Office , a pamphlet promoting the 2008 . The NZ Herald reports that it is almost certainly an election expense and will come out of the $2.4 million spending cap:

Wellington electoral law specialist said last night the leaflet met the definition of election advertisement under the .

“It doesn’t say vote Labour, but that is the clear implication.”

It had party colours, the Labour logo, and the party’s tax-cut promises this year and in the future.

He did not believe it could be considered under the exception given to an MP producing material in their capacity as MP.

“This is a Labour Party promotional leaflet.”

It was “almost certainly” an election advertisement and as such should be declared in the party’s expenses.

Any postage costs in sending it out, should also be included!

It may also count as a donation:

Mr Edgeler also said that under the new law, the cost of the leaflet might have to be declared as an election donation by the Parliamentary Service to the Labour Party.

“If I gave the Labour Party $30,000 worth of leaflets it would be a donation – just as if they printed off $30,000 worth and sent me the bill and I paid it, that would be a donation.

“I really don’t see the difference between them sending a bill to me, or getting the leaflets from me, and them sending the bill to the Parliamentary Service or getting the leaflets from the Parliamentary Service.”

It will be very interesting to have revealed the total amount of taxpayer funding spent on election advertising.

UPDATE: It appears the Government was unable to find a happy New Zealand family for their publicity campaign, so they have used an American family!

Well done to Skinny for his detective work. Someone has found another photo of the family which more fairly reflects their situation:

This is very very funny.

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74 Responses to “The budget publicity campaign”

  1. ghostwhowalks3 (368 comments) says:

    …cost of the leaflet might have to…
    ….don’t see the difference …
    Might have and cant see the difference.
    Just run around my head a few times more and ‘it’ becomes a fact..

    hes a lawyer why isnt he quoting the relevant sections of the act on what ‘is’ a donation.
    I hope when in court Edgeler doesnt wast the judges time with mights and coulds

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  2. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    GWW – ‘might’ and ‘should’ are essential given the Electoral Commission’s latitude to exercise discretion

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  3. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I’m not quoting the relevant sections because its not a column written by me. It’s in the Herald with quotes from me.

    EFA section 21:

    party donation means a donation (whether of money or of the equivalent of money or of goods or services or of a combination of those things) that is made to a party…

    Why did I say “might”? Because while I think it is, a Court is yet to rule one way or the other, and I’m not so arrogant to assume that I know that much more about the law than a judge. Were I arguing in court, I’d have have said it “is” covered, and that I can’t see a different, but ultimately, would have left the decision up the judge.

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  4. PhilBest (5,121 comments) says:

    The Socialists are dismayed at the flexibility now being displayed by public servants. They were counting on the “law of commonsense”, i.e., that their stooges in the civil service would always rule in favour of the advance of socialism, which is, of course, the naturally just and right course of things, irrespective of the wording of legislation and minor inconveniences like the rule of law………

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  5. Doug (410 comments) says:

    From the NZ Herald

    The Labour Party’s happy New Zealand family in its new taxpayer-funded Budget advertising is actually American, it has emerged.

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  6. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    It’s an awful leaflet anyway. Too cluttered. Too many colours. Not enough white space. Nobody will read it. And then there’s the irony of Labour campaigning on their tax cuts! Nobody will be fooled by this crap.

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  7. Lindsay Addie (1,517 comments) says:

    Here is the url to the story Doug mentions in his 10:02am post:
    Labour’s happpy family is actually American

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  8. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    The Labour Party’s happy New Zealand family in its new taxpayer-funded Budget advertising is actually American, it has emerged.

    Very funny. So much for buying NZ-made. Hope the Greens are outraged.

    Well done Skinny

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

    SO, have Labour they changed the law to enable themselves to rort the taxpayer or not?
    And the pic is not even of kiwi voters! How symbolic is this leaflet of the arrogance, laziness and incompetence of this shower of gravy-sucking pigs?

    I suggest ‘very’.

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  10. LabourMustBeLiquidated (290 comments) says:

    American family – ahhahahahaha – and i thought labour hated all things american. Or perhaps they are suggesting america as an alternative to australia for kiwis sick of living in a socialist dykocracy.

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  11. goodgod (1,348 comments) says:

    haha Labour are so far divorced from reality it doesn’t know what a NZ family looks like and couldn’t find one to pose for it. Funny how they turned to the yanks to help them out after destorying any relations with them since they entered power.

    Labour: We need a photo of a group of people with a baby who live in the same house.
    Ad Exec: You mean a family?
    Labour: Yeah, forgot the word for a moment there, do they still exist?
    Ad Exec: Could be hard to find one here. You’ve done such a good job over the years.
    Labour: Yes, we know, but we need a human face for our propaganda. What about in America? They have heaps!

    Ad Exec: Excellent idea, I’ll get right onto it!
    Labour: I’m brilliant! No one will ever know!

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

    I’ve got a fiver on this. I give it 10 mins before someone uses the word ‘coldplay’ Who will take the bet?

    (obviously, after this time I used it…)

    Please. Someone. For the love of God! Just put them out of their misery….

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  13. daveski (87 comments) says:

    Err GWW3 … I’m confused. Surely “might” and “could” is the cornerstone of common sense???

    For once, would one of the Standard-bearers just admit that they got the EFA wrong wrong wrong. Mind you, their failure to accept any wrongs is most likely the one reason the punters don’t care what the Nats policies are.

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  14. jafapete (757 comments) says:

    What happened to John Key’s poll ratings after the Coldplay incident? Maybe this could do some good…

    PS I have absolutely no connections with Lee C

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  15. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    So yet again the Socialists have been caught committing a fraudulent act. Using an American family to portray a NZ family is an act of deception and fraud.

    Socialists are fraudsters.

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  16. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    Are the Labour Party really so distant from reality they thought no-one would pick up on that photo?

    This is the information age after all!

    So does the 2008 budget mean you’ll be better off moving overseas then?

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

    you owe me a fiver jafapete. I just hope that the moral indignation that we saw from the left during ‘coldplaygate’ will be similarly applied to this rather blatant and misrreprentative rorting of the electoral process.

    Who will double the bet that it won’t?

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  18. daveski (87 comments) says:

    Second bite at the apple … why the hell would you want a “fair” economy instead of a strong economy? Surely this shows the ideological wasteland we now live in where the economy is about fairness. The stronger the economy the better we all are accepting NZ’s middle of the road beliefs. A fair economy does those at the end of the food chain SFA.

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  19. casual watcher (289 comments) says:

    Bloody brilliant – Rudd is going to mess up Aussie – don’t go there – get to the States instead. This is a message bought to you by the NZ Labour Party – at your expense. When things turn to custard they go in a big way it seems. Key for 60% without even campaigning ??!!

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  20. democracymum (648 comments) says:

    Never mind the American family on the front of the brochure – I have just seen the rest of the brochure on the Herald website.

    Who is that women that they have used for Helen Clark?

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  21. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Have the Labour party paid for the use of that family’s image?

    [DPF: No, but the taxpayer has!]

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  22. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    DPF: It will be very interesting to have revealed the total amount of taxpayer funding spent on election advertising.

    I agree, it would be most interesting. We know that the last election campaign saw some $800,000.00 of funding stolen from the tax payer. And it seems that this election is ramping up for more of the same from the usual suspects.

    Of course, I couldn’t care less where the family is from. It’s a stock photograph from a site supplying photographs. You can pick them up cheap as chips and have a wide selection to choose from. They conveyed the message of “family”; doesn’t matter where they’re from.

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  23. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Actually Pascal it bloody does matter where they come from. It is NOT what it claims to portay and is consequently fraudulent.

    Just like everything else labour does, the reality doesn’t match the image they try to present.

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  24. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    What a balls-up. Big ups to Skinny for outing the government’s spin doctors on this.

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  25. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    Murray: It is NOT what it claims to portay and is consequently fraudulent.

    And every piece of advertising we see was shot, on location, in New Zealand featuring New Zealand actors and New Zealand scenery? This is just a piece of crap advertising that used a stock photograph.

    We’ve got enough fraudulent, corrupt reasons to nail this government to the wall without having to resort to something petty like a bloody photograph.

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  26. Hagues (703 comments) says:

    “Who is that women that they have used for Helen Clark?”

    Talk about using stock footage. Is this not the same airbrushed photo from the 05 election?

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  27. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    Of course, I couldn’t care less where the family is from. It’s a stock photograph from a site supplying photographs. You can pick them up cheap as chips and have a wide selection to choose from. They conveyed the message of “family”; doesn’t matter where they’re from.

    It kind of does if you have political foes. Someone might well produce the same family, shot with the American flag in the background, on an add asking why are Kiwis leaving in droves?

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

    Is Helen’s Government saying that the American budget was a shot in the arm for a ‘Fair Economy’ in America, hence they are using an American family to illustrate that point?

    I’m confused.

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  29. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    I think one should be more careful before jumping to the conclusion that this pamphlet is an party electoral expense.

    Other than letters responding to correspondence, individual constituent advocacy and sending technical information on government programmes everything done by MPs in terms of physical and electronic communications (webpages and broadcast email newsletters) is an election advertisement and will require authorisation whenever it occurs.

    In this context “election advertisement” simply means material that is politically persuasive. Ultimately that is the aim of all physical and electronic publications by MPs. There is no special form or content for something to be an “election advertisement.” Indeed it’s almost impossible to conceive things done by MP’s falling outside the meaning of “election advertisements”

    But nothing (other than the requirement of an authorisation) turns on this.

    “Election advertising” contains two subsets which are “candidate advertising” and “party advertising”. Labour’s pamphlet is clearly “party advertising.”

    But just because its “party advertising” it doesn’t make it a “party activity” or a “party election expense”. At this stage nothing turns on the authorisation statement, but rather whether it’s anything done in relation to a member of Parliament in his or her capacity as a member of Parliament.

    Thus the question is whether is particular politically persuasive pamphlet is within the capacity of Helen Clark as leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Illegality isn’t within her capacity but only explicitly asking for votes, members or money would make the pamphlet illegal. And there is no such explicit solicitation.

    Then the next question is that if and only if the thing is a party advertisement and incurred undertaking the “party activity” (within the regulated period) is it an “electoral expense.” This is where a donation received of an aggregated value of more than 1k and actually used as a party activity (within the regulated period) can become an election expense. But it can only be an election expense, if it’s used in a party activity.

    Not that it’s needed but again under “election expense” any publications that relate to a member of Parliament in his or her capacity as a member of Parliament are excluded.

    Thus the question is whether politically persuasive pamphlet which does not include an explicit solicitation for votes, members or money, that relates to the capacity of the MP (in this case the Parliamentary leader outlining current and future policies) falls into the exceptions from “party activities” and therefore “party election expenses”?

    A focus on the form of the thing (smooth graphics, smiley families, and lots of colour) doesn’t exclude the thing from relating to the capacity of an MP. To do so would be to require the taxpayer to fund sub optimal communications. And who is to say that dowdy communications are any less affective anyway. To tout some sort of proximity to an election or inside or outside a regulated period is simply to narrow the communications capacity of MPs.

    The test of an MP’s capacity isn’t degrees of reasonable political persuadability of the pamphlet – that is conceded already and nothing actually turns on it. The question is whether this particular politically persuasive pamphlet is within the MP’s capacity.

    On previous practice by Parliamentary Party leaders the answer is likely to be yes. If this is so then it cannot ipso facto be a “party activity” and therefore a “party election expense.”

    Just because the Electoral Commission wisely isn’t providing hypothetical opinions on such matters in advance of the returns of donations and expenses, doesn’t prevent Labour seeking a declaratory judgment as to whether a particular thing is or is not within the capacity of an MP.

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  30. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    The simple question is this: what is it about this particular pamphlet that is reasonably politically persuasive that takes it outside her capacity as parliamentary leader of the Labour Party and therefore by default into a “party activity” category and therefore makes it a “party electoral expense”?

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  31. kevin_mcm (152 comments) says:

    the other part I found instructive about this story was the Government refusing to disclose the osts – so now we have some onbe spending taxpayers money that feels no obligation to inform taxpayers of how much they have spent!

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

    To add:
    Is ithe pamphlet saying Labour is endorsing the American Budget – hence showed an American family? No. It is clearly trying to suggest that the people portrayed are kiwis who have benefitted under Labour. So that’s a misrepresentation.
    Is it endorsing Labour policy therefore encouraging people to vote Labour? Yes. It is in breach of the EFA.

    Or is it using tax-payer cash to attempt to by-pass EFA spending caps? Yes. It is a rort.
    Is it that Labour supporters are applauding the fact that they only rorted $20.00 of tax-cash to pay for the photo – so it’s ok to rort taxpayer cash as long as it’s only a small amount? Yes, but moral equivocation is bread and butter to those who believe that ‘common sense’ should replace the law of the land.
    Or is it that Helen’s refusing to disclose how much the pamphlet cost is a cynical move to by-pass the EFA then fight it out post-election with the EC? Yes. Clearly they think they can re-run the pledge-card fiasco, or change the law again, if they are in breach of it.
    Or is it that they have written a law ‘to stop people like John Key and the Exclusive Brethren rorting the election process’, but have decided that the clearly only applies to Labour’s political opponents, and they have no need to follow it themselves? Yes, after all this was how it was designed, to bring tax-funded electioneering in by the back door.
    Or was it they wrote it so badly that it cannot be applied, and now, upon realising the fact, they are hell-bent on exploiting any loop-hole they can find in order to rort more taxpayer cash for their own advantage? Yes, they believe they have a moral, if not legal right to bill us for their electioneering. (see above) .
    So, in attempting to subvert their own law-making as part of an ongoing attempt to re-write the constitution unilaterally, are they corrupt, cynical, incompetent and arrogant, or are those people who complain clearly trying to whip up a storm in a teacup over nothing?

    I only ask for information.

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  33. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Chris Diack, have you actually read this pamphlet? The fact that it touts tax cuts in 2010, and 2011, as well as highlighting increased funding to schools and infrastructure, as well as highlighting core labour policies such as WFF and 20 free hours, and then referring the reader to the Labour website?

    Not to mention a section entitled “to support business growth, Labour will”

    If you think that is not electioneering Chris, then what the hell is?

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

    “The simple question is this: what is it about this particular pamphlet that is reasonably politically persuasive that takes it outside her capacity as parliamentary leader of the Labour Party and therefore by default into a “party activity” category and therefore makes it a “party electoral expense”?”

    I think the simple answer Chris is that there are people who are prepared to defend it regardless of its veracity, simply because it is a Labour-Party document – ergo, by those responses, it falls into a default ‘party activity’ otherwise, why else would they support it?

    For example (and I haven’t looked) if this is endorsed on ‘The Standard’ in any way, given their funding basis, wouldn’t that infer it falls within the definition of a Party Activity?

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  35. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    A focus on the form of the thing (smooth graphics, smiley families, and lots of colour) doesn’t exclude the thing from relating to the capacity of an MP. To do so would be to require the taxpayer to fund sub optimal communications. And who is to say that dowdy communications are any less affective anyway. To tout some sort of proximity to an election or inside or outside a regulated period is simply to narrow the communications capacity of MPs.

    The law changes by the EFA explicitly extend the regulated period and implicitly narrow the communications capacity (by widening the definition of electoral advertising) – thus previous practice is not particularly relevent.

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  36. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty – Chris does accept it is electioneering (or rather that is an “election advertisement”).

    He just think that even though it is a party advertisement, and an election advertisement, it falls within an exception from the definition of [party] election expense, and thus doesn’t count within the spending cap. I disagree with his conclusion on this point. I do not think it is an advertisement for the the Member of Parliament for Mount Albert; it is an advertisement for the Labour Party, the parliamentary wing of the Labour Party, and the leader of the Labour Party, who wants another three years as Prime Minister.

    That said, it is undoubtedly a lawful use of taxpayer-provided parliamentary funds (but feel free to argue that it shouldn’t be).

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

    Latest:

    Wow I’m flattered that Helen should get back to me so quickly!
    “So, in attempting to subvert their own law-making as part of an ongoing attempt to re-write the constitution unilaterally, are they corrupt, cynical, incompetent and arrogant, or are those people who complain clearly trying to whip up a storm in a teacup over nothing?

    I only ask for information.”

    “The Prime Minister has dismissed coverage of an American stock photo in a Labour party Budget pamphlet as a “storm in a tea cup”.

    Speaking at the Fieldays near Hamilton this afternoon, she indicated the issue was not worthy of her time and would not take any further questions.”

    That’s political shorthand for ‘I’m too embarrassed to talk about it.”

    But does not address other issues about the attempted rorting of the electioneering process, I note.

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  38. Pascal (1,969 comments) says:

    Chris Diack: Thus the question is whether politically persuasive pamphlet which does not include an explicit solicitation for votes, members or money, that relates to the capacity of the MP (in this case the Parliamentary leader outlining current and future policies) falls into the exceptions from “party activities” and therefore “party election expenses”?

    It does not need to explicitly solicit votes. Does the law not say as long as it can be reasonably construed as soliciting votes?

    The Labour Party, releasing a brochure to the public in an election year about their achievements and their plans for the future.

    You do not consider that electioneering and attributable to their spending? Come on. It is good to see though that the Labour Party is once more within a whisker of breaching the very law they wrote to hobble their opposition. I cannot wait until this very law is used to undo them completely. They deserve everything coming to them after their blatant attempt at election rigging.

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  39. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    Slightlyrighty:

    It’s not helpful to use the term “electioneering” that has a specific narrow meaning regarding illegality: using taxpayer funds to explicitly solicit votes, members and money.

    What you are really saying is that the pamphlet is an “election advertisement” i.e. it can reasonably be regarding as attempting political persuasion.

    That point is conceded by the pamphlet itself – it contains an authorisation statement. I think this is correct: on an objective basis it is an attempt at political persuasion.

    However just because a pamphlet is reasonably politically persuasive it doesn’t make it a “party activity” and therefore a “party election activity.”

    Outlining budgetary tax cuts and future tax cuts contained in the budget along with information on current government programmes doesn’t take the pamphlet outside the capacity of an MP in this case the MP in her capacity as the Parliamentary Party leader.

    Indeed arguable Parliamentary party leaders are funded for this entirely this purpose.

    So again what is it about this pamphlet that removes it from the capacity of an MP and into the default category of a “party activity” and therefore a “party election expense?”

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  40. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    How about every add that claims to portay a happy kiwi family pascal actually having some kiwis in it? Not the typical American family happy under GWB.

    Its not that hard to find one, any photgrapher in Sydney or Melbourne could have gotten the shot.

    Thanks for suporting irony day at DPF’s.

    Whinge all you like but I’m stuck on Ha Ha.

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  41. Lindsay Addie (1,517 comments) says:

    If it was the Nats that got caught would Clark have thought it wasn’t worth her time? I doubt it, she would have wheeled out Mallard to whine about it.

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  42. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    What you are really saying is that the pamphlet is an “election advertisement” i.e. it can reasonably be regarding as attempting political persuasion.

    That point is conceded by the pamphlet itself – it contains an authorisation statement. I think this is correct: on an objective basis it is an attempt at political persuasion.

    I agree that this is an election advertisement (and needs a promoter statement), but you should be careful about concluding that something is (or concedes that it is) an election advertisement because in contains a promoter statement. Electoral Commission advice is (and prudence suggests) that any time you aren’t sure whether someone is covered or not, you should put a promoter statement on it just to be safe.

    Indeed arguable Parliamentary party leaders are funded for this entirely this purpose.

    Yes they are, that doesn’t mean when they spend it that it isn’t an election expense, however. This looks to me like a leaflet from the Labour Party and the parliamentary wing of the Labour Party, not a leaflet from an MP.

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  43. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Hmmm – if it really was ALL ABOUT the Labour Govt, surely it would be a lesbian couple who are also clearly beneficiaries and rampant feminist man haters? (Come on, Redbaiter and Dad4 and the rest – help me out with this one!)

    But, a young white family in front of a nice house in Pleasantville St – looks more like a National party campaign cliche than anything else, IMHO. Cue Bill English trotting out the little wife a couple of campaigns ago…

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  44. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    However just because a pamphlet is reasonably politically persuasive it doesn’t make it a “party activity” and therefore a “party election activity.”

    Actually being “reasonably politically persuasive” might well exceed the criteria.

    The EFA:

    “A promoter must not publish, or cause or permit to be published, an election advertisement that encourages or persuades, or appears to encourage or persuade, voters to vote for a party unless the publication of the advertisement—”

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  45. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    So Labour is telling us if we lived abroad, we’d all be happy like this family…

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  46. getstaffed (9,186 comments) says:

    RMM – take spade. keep digging. even i’m not going there :)

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  47. Regan Cunliffe (21 comments) says:

    Are they seeking residency by chance? I wonder if they have friends in the immigration department?

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  48. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    Why did not the leaflet come from Cullen?

    Edit: Oh, I see it has to come from the leader’s budget – but he is still the logical messenger.

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  49. Colonel Masters (409 comments) says:

    Also, I note on the Herald website that many were praising Labour for saving taxpayers’ money by using the $20 photo rather than hiring a “real family”, photographers, lighting experts, etc.

    I would suggest that this is more to do with minimising possible election expenses under their cap than any concern for the long suffering taxpayer.

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  50. jafapete (757 comments) says:

    Lee C, I thought you had a bet with someone else, but I’m quite happy to cough up $5. Where to send it?

    Seriously though, you underestimate NZ voters if you think that they think that they are exposed to “real” images in advertising. After all, they get bombarded with Australian ads on teev, the ones that can still be bothered watching it.

    The main loser from this episode (it doesn’t really deserve to be called a storm in a teacup even) will be the advertsising agency, I suspect.

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  51. Chris Diack (741 comments) says:

    unaha-closp

    You should read my comments more closely: the pamphlet is an election advertisement i.e. it can reasonably (objectively) be regarded as attempting political persuasion. Regarding the “encourages or persuades or appears to encourage or persuade” this simply re-enforces the objective nature of the test rather than adding anything new. “Appears” is this context is a signifier of an objective standard.

    Grahaeme Edgeler:

    Regarding the presence of the authorisation statement as I stated this means nothing to the issue of whether something is a “party activity” and therefore a “party electoral expense.” I was merely making the point that even on an examination of the pamphlet itself one is of any doubt was to whether it’s an “election advertisement” in this case that doubt is eliminated by the presence of the authorisation statement.

    Indeed it’s difficult to conceive of what MP’s pamphlet like communications will not require such authorisations.

    You are correct. On balance due to issues of statutory interpretation I believe the focus of enquiry isn’t on the degree of political persuasiveness of the communication but rather whether this particular election advertisement is within Helen Clark’s capacity as an MP (leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party). Illegality through electioneering (explicitly soliciting votes, members or money) would take it outside her capacity, but that does not appear to be the case here.

    You appear to construe that capacity issue narrowly. MP’s are outside their capacity when acting as the Parliamentary Leader of their Party. Therefore it isn’t possible for any MP engage in any party advertising and therefore by default all such party advertising within the regulated period is a party activity and therefore a party electoral expense.

    The problem with this analysis is the EFA itself provides for this very thing (assuming one reads capacity to extend to a Parliamentary leadership role) and on other occasions the law has recognised the role of an MP as Parliamentary party leader (Waka Jumping). Parliament itself functions entirely on hierarchy with Parliamentary leaders being funded as Leaders.

    Therefore the question is: Is it within the capacity of an MP to operate in some sort of Parliamentary recognised leadership role. The answer is I think obvious. MP’s capacity isn’t limited to their role as a constituent MP and of course Mr Peters isn’t one at all.

    You are correct: because a Parliamentary leader uses his or her leadership funding for election advertisements it doesn’t necessarily mean this isn’t an candidate or party election expense. But what makes it an election expense is either electioneering (technical meaning) which makes it illegal or being outside the capacity of the MP not the degree of objective political persuasiveness.

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  52. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    I’m not surprised that Helen considers it a storm in a teacup. On her scale of offending (signing other people’s paintings, presenting herself as a dentally-correct supermodel, EFA infringements for Africa), it barely registers.

    Ethics, to Helen, is a county in England. We’ve learned that over the years. But in Labour’s defence, using a stock photo in an ad is not unethical. Neither is the fact that it’s sourced from a US website. Most ad photos are setups and accepted as such. They’re just there to make a point.

    I remember once writing the words for a jingle for the Golden Kiwi. The guy I thought would be best to compose the tune happened to live in Melbourne. He also happened to use Kiwi singers.

    But that didn’t matter. By the time the press had finished beating it up, the NZ Lotteries and I had been branded traitors.

    So I agree with Helen Clark. This photo is a storm in a teacup.

    Her campaign ‘photo’ is another matter!

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  53. tom hunter (4,861 comments) says:

    Come on DPF – time for a caption contest…Me first.

    YOU’RE BETTER OFF WITH AMERICA!

    NEW ZEALAND – THE 51st STATE

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  54. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    (SMOKE AND BLOODY MIRRORS,)
    IF YOU DRIVE TO A VOTING BOOTH AND VOTE LIARBOUR, YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT

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

    jafa pete i’m not so much attempting to underestimate the intelligence of NZ voters, rather point out the slap-dash attitude of Labour towards constitutional reform, tax-payers’ cash, obeying thier own laws and of course their cynical and transparent attempts to do exactly what they said the EFA was supposed to do: ‘Rort the election process.’
    And yes, I’ll hapilly take your cash – (I’ll donate it to a charity that is set up to combat child poverty)
    PO box 80091
    Green Bay
    0643

    Make it a crisp new one.

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

    ps the only ‘storm’ I’ve seen today is Helen ‘storming’ out of her press conference…. hehehehe

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  57. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Gee, things must be really bad if Labour sourcing a cheap photo from overseas is a scandal. Imagine the noise if they had used an expensive locally produced photo. It seems that Labour gets beaten no matter what it does.

    Really arn’t there real issues to talk about? How about unemployment, government debt or the rights of lowest paid workers. What about National’s policies in these areas? How about a real debate?

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  58. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Is there a difference in using a generic family shot that resembles a kiwi family or using a generic music piece that resembles a particular music peice?

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  59. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    I think Helen would welcome the chance to get huffy about a cheap photo. It’s either that or having to defend rising inflation, rising interest rates, rising unemployment, rising prices, and falling poll ratings.

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  60. Regan Cunliffe (21 comments) says:

    Ha.. see the Australian government already used the same image too:

    Look familiar? Labour’s American-Kiwi family is Aussie too
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10515612

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  61. John Ansell (874 comments) says:

    By getting upset, Helen obviously thinks they must have transgressed, whereas in fact the photo thing is uncharacteristically both legal and ethical.

    But her default setting is to assume skullduggery, since that’s the Labour norm.

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  62. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    LOVE THE LEFT, TOTAL IDIOTS ,idiots,opps this comment was snatched from a russian blogg, SUCKERS only cost a rouble

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  63. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    liarbours working overtime tonight at the WORKERS/taxpayers expense,posting,blogging, lossiers,liarbours getting flushed down the toilet,WAY TO GO,helen

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  64. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I know I’ve asked someone else this before: What’s a “Lossier”?

    Is that even a word?

    If the word you’re trying to spell is “Loser”, then that is the correct spelling.

    (If you cannot spell “Loser” then you are one, and you should spend less time haranguing political blogs, and more time LEARNING BASIC LITERACY :-)

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

    Mickysavage, things are “really bad” and Limbo just keeps on delivering us shit, long may it continue. As for photos, is it the one they put up on all the posters around town after Dear Leaders extreme makeover. Everything Limbo does reminds me of a nice glossy turd, shiny on the outside but pure crap all the way to the center.

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  66. peterquixote (231 comments) says:

    vomit now friends of new Zealand and celebrate soon..
    we send this thing helengrand to greenland icicles and oblivious ..
    each photogragh of her with Sue Woods teeth is more bizarre as time progresses
    she will be remembered as our worst downside PM ever,
    goodbye hellengrand

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  67. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha
    Saving a few hundred bucks on paying a real family (I am sure they could find one normal looking Labour supporting or atleast apolitical family who would like 15 minutes of fame)
    If so, doesn’t that negate the caption on the photo

    And if for a second anyone could consider it was true
    They have wasted $1.5 billion on a train set and $1.5 billion extra on a pork barrel tunnel as the two worst examples.
    It would be the first time in history they try and save any money.
    A few hundred bucks on a photo? is it the beginnining of Labour repenting it profligate ways? I think not

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  68. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    If they’re flying a flag outside their house then they’re almost certainly Republicans and George Bush supporters. The sort of people that most Labour Party supporters would avoid. And the sort of people who, if they were cornered by Green supporters and couldn’t get away, would have crazy Green moonbat theories shouted at them in a deranged fashion.

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  69. JSF2008 (422 comments) says:

    RRM get a life,i dont know you , i dont give a shit about you but if i was a bro using pidgin english asking for equal rights you RRM wouldnt open your little mind or mouth,in case you were shot down in flames ,for being a racist pig or something.Who thinks you have something to add to any debate, (LOSSIER) RRM is a( new) english word that i like.John
    ps what a primadona RRM is
    pps Mr Farrar can ban me for my use of the english languge at any time but if you need a PHD to post here (HELL)

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  70. Chicken Little (741 comments) says:

    davidp – I did a road trip round some of the US a few months ago. In around 5000 miles and 15 states, I can tell you there are a hell of a lot of GB supporters/Republicians if that is the case. It became a running joke in our family –

    ‘ohh another US flag, just in case we forget where we are’

    My photo collection – Ranch Gateways of Texas – is fascinating. :)

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  71. dave (988 comments) says:

    Apparently Mr Skinny Doak went to the iStockphoto site and keyed in “happy family” to locate the happy family pic on the stock site. He then asked why Labour couldn’t find a happy Kiwi Family. So I went to a local stock site and did the same – keyed in “happy family” This was the result

    There were no photos found. Please try searching again.

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  72. capills_enema (194 comments) says:

    (If it existed) “Lossier” sounds like the sort of word that would have been derived from the French language, JSF… Are you some kind of croissant-eating pinko, on the quiet?

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  73. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    It’s good to see Labour continuing to take flak for wasting taxpayer money. An added bonus is that its advertising message is completely ineffectual.

    Labour just can’t get a break at the moment. Only four months to go.

    Time for a change.

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  74. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Penis fingers Clark.

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