Herald on Greens taxpayer funded petition

June 21st, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

 On the strength of its election result, the Green Party has been given a great deal more public money to spend at Parliament. It needs to be careful how it spends it. Taxpayers might be surprised to learn the party is spending $76,000 of its allowance to hire people to collect signatures on a petition for a referendum on asset sales. This is not a proper use of the money.

It also makes you wonder about the boasts from the that they have so many members and activists. Yet, they have to pay people to collect petition signatures. The are ironically doing what they always rally against – bringing US style political campaigning to NZ, where money is used to purchase a result.

The country pays for a Parliament that has been set up to resolve public issues and Parliament provides elected parties with funds to ensure they can research issues, question ministers and contribute to legislative debate.

The law provides a separate procedure for citizens outside Parliament to petition for referendums when they are so moved. The citizens’ initiative, as it is called, is supposed to be exactly that. It is not a second chance saloon for those who have the privileges of Parliament.

It is obviously wrong for Parliamentary funds to be used to pay people to get signatures to petition Parliament!

There appears to be nothing in Parliament’s rules to prevent a party using its leader’s office allowance in this way, though that may be because it has not happened before. The Parliamentary Service’s general manager said the Greens were within the rules because the petition does not ask the public for money, membership or votes. But that is a rule for election spending and referendums held separately from an election should not be promoted by parties with public funds.

Especially as the Greens have consistently tried to limit people spending their own money on referenda. Their true motivations it seems is to restrict the voices of those who do not have taxpayer funding, while allow themslves to spend as much as they can, with the taxpayer paying. They were the only party in Parliament to vote against repealing the horrific Electoral Finance Act, and they constantly call for greater taxpayer funding of political parties with no restrictions.

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30 Responses to “Herald on Greens taxpayer funded petition”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,341 comments) says:

    The Greens’ hypocrisy on this is just delightful. But best of all; suddenly the MSM isn’t buying the touchy-feely tree-hugging stuff, and is starting to look more critically at the Greens; which is this last thing that Russel and Metiria want. If their carefully applied veneer is torn away, we get to see the REAL agenda that underlies all the Save the Planet stuff.

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  2. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Are the Greens paying people to sign the petition?

    No they’re not, are they?

    So saying the Greens are “purchasing a result” is the most dishonest, desperate spin. Isn’t it?

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  3. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Go on then Keeping Stock.

    What IS their secret “real” agenda?

    Is it 1984, by any chance?

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  4. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    meh … I am no longer surprised at hypocrisy from a political party or its members. To me, the biggest hypocrisy is that many MPs – whose business in Parliament includes making new laws and amending old laws – have scant regard for the law. How many MPs have we seen who have broken the law numerous times before entering Parliament, continue to break the law while in Parliament, and even quite arrogantly get on their high-horse and proclaim that they will have no hesitation in breaking a certain law if they feel the need to do so.

    These tossers – from all parties – seem to feel that because they call themselves ‘activists’ they can justify breaking the law, and at the same time sit in Parliament and make new laws which will apply to the rest of us but not them because they’re special. I find it despicable.

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  5. Than (473 comments) says:

    RRM, they are paying money to try and get a political outcome they want. Almost like, say, lobbyists do. So yes, they are (attempting) to purchase a result.

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  6. graham (2,335 comments) says:

    Looks like the Greens are indulging in some fairly dishonest spin themselves.

    From Frogblog, Catherine Delahunty moots some other names for the Mixed Ownership Model Bill:

    “Project Runaway – steal our assets!”
    “Flight of the Conmen”
    “NZ’s Next Top Rip Off”
    “The Biggest Loser – Citizens of Aotearoa/NZ”
    “Masterchef Asset Sales – How To Cook the Books”
    “Oprah – When your PM is a problem gambler”

    A political party calling the Prime Minister a problem gambler, and accusing the Government of stealing our assets?

    About the only honest bit is right at the end: “OK, it’s trivial …”

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  7. southtop (265 comments) says:

    what do you expect – look at the leadership of this operation:
    Red Russ – ex Australian Social Democrats and Mad Metria ex McGillycuddy nuff said?
    Eventually socialists run out of other peoples money to spend & lets make as much as we can compulsory and everything else forbidden.
    now nuff said!

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  8. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Far more chilling is the NZ and international Greens policy to de populate the planet because humans are damaging the planet and endangering other species.

    Of course they deny it but what the Greens really want is to see old people put down (think baby boomers) and the rest living in caves without any modern amenities.

    Behind that thin veneer is a very frightening determination to send the citizens broke with taxes so they can distribute as they see fit.

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  9. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    I bet this whole grubby US style strategy was the brainchild of Julie Anne Genter – she’s a frickin genius!

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  10. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    But best of all; suddenly the MSM isn’t buying the touchy-feely tree-hugging stuff, and is starting to look more critically at the Greens

    I hope so. They have been given more than a free ride thus far, simply because they call themselves the Green Party. Does anyone believe they would be anything like as successful if they gave themselves the more honest name of the New Zealand Fascist Party?

    Genuine environmentalists like Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore successfully won the battle to raise awareness decades ago. All political parties are now environmental parties.

    By co-opting the “Green” label, the New Zealand Fascist Party gives itself a 5% headstart in the polls, as opposed to the -99% they’ve get if they didn’t hide behind the dishonest name.

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  11. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    “what the Greens really want is to see old people put down (think baby boomers) and the rest living in caves without any modern amenities.”

    …meanwhile, back in the real world…

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  12. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    One would suspect that now Rhinehart is in charge of Fairfax, things will change. Bumbling sociailsts will get the shove to start their own utopia and right wing writers will get published.
    Ain’t it great.

    Teachers are getting the bums rush in NZ, Victoria, NSW and Queensland. and in the good ol USA.

    Oh what joy.

    Whose’s next. Universities,Greens,

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  13. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    “what the Greens really want is to see old people put down (think baby boomers) and the rest living in caves without any modern amenities.”

    …meanwhile, back in the real world…

    “The New Economics Foundation’s Happy Planet Index has been inspiring bemusement and mirth since it first appeared in 2006. The third installment, released last week, continues to defy parody with its glorification of lawless, poverty-stricken countries in the name of environmental sustainability.
    The index is made up of three elements—self-reported well-being, life expectancy and size of ecological footprint—but is so heavily weighted towards the latter that economic basket-cases, police states and peasant societies score highly at the expense of places in which you would actually want to live. Consequently, Luxembourg, where life expectancy is 80 years and the well-being score is 7.1, finds itself 30 places behind Rwanda, where life expectancy is 55.4 years and well-being is scored at 4.0.

    If the good people of Luxembourg (ranked 138th) have not already bought a one-way ticket to more desirable destinations such as Malawi (72nd), Haiti (78th) or Afghanistan (109th), they can console themselves that they are still one place ahead of Sierra Leone (139th), although that could all change if the Sierra Leoneans buy a wind turbine….It is difficult to take an index seriously when it places Iraq (36th) and Albania (18th) ahead of Iceland (88th) and Australia (76th)… ”

    http://www.adamsmith.org/research/articles/shiny-happy-people-the-madness-of-the-happy-planet-index

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  14. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    Don’t think the Greens run the NEF. Nor does the NEF call for having old people killed off. The writer seems to have misintepreted the point of the ‘Happy Planet Index’.

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  15. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    Sam,

    Nice try, but I think you’ll find that the NEF has been favourably quoted on the NZ Green Party blog a couple of times, and in fact is popular with Green parties around the World.

    As for killing old people, what do you think implementing Rwanda-style living standards implies? Read it: life expectancy only 55.4 years.

    What exactly is the difference between the Green Party and the Khmer Rouge, apart from the fact that one of them has been in a position to implement its policies?

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  16. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    Ummm… except the Greens might be pretty silly at times, but they don’t plan to implement Rwanda-style living conditions (except in your imagination).

    And I’ve quoted the Financial Times favourably a few times – doesn’t mean I’ve signed up to its ideology hook, line and sinker.

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  17. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t say the Greens are “pretty silly.” I’d say they are dangerous authoritarians who are fully in step with the global movement which embraces such madness as the NEF index.

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  18. Sam Buchanan (501 comments) says:

    Yes, I know.

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  19. OneTrack (3,105 comments) says:

    I asked what the Greens opinion was on Kari Norgaard on frogblog a few days ago. Strangely my comment was moderated out of existence.

    Sam, I think if the Greens get into power, first stop will be Zimbabwe. Then Rwanda.

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  20. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    You would think that if the Melons really believed in what they believe there would be no need to hire mercenaries to get the useful idiots to sign their referendum. Surely a website would suffice as there would be hundreds thousands waiting to log on and sign their petition. Beside what government in it’s right mind would give any credence to any referendum presented by these losers. How many referendums held were against Melon policy, they can hardly say they support democracy. I despise these fuctards.

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  21. big bruv (13,899 comments) says:

    Calling Toad…….where are you Toad???

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  22. Nick K (1,244 comments) says:

    Rodney Hide took his fiancee on an overseas trip which was entirely within the rules, and faced a public lynch-mob; a public apology and repaid the money personally.

    Why aren’t the Watermelons facing the same scrutiny? The Greens are hypocritical and two-faced (or one face Green, but the inner core is Red).

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  23. alex (304 comments) says:

    In fairness, the government is spending $120 million on selling the assets, that sort of puts the money spent by the Greens in perspective.

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  24. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t say the Greens are “pretty silly.” I’d say they are dangerous authoritarians who are fully in step with the global movement which embraces such madness as the NEF index.

    They are not. Don’t be ridiculous.

    If they had any brains and really wanted to achieve their goals, they would be, but the Greens are tiresomely liberal and committed to democracy and consensus. That’s why they never really accomplish anything. They’re a luncheon group for middles class people with nothing better to do. If they embraced authoritarianism they would be more successful.

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  25. Pete George (23,564 comments) says:

    the Greens are tiresomely liberal and committed to democracy and consensus.

    Within the party, yes. But they haven’t really found a way to apply that more widely. They have a bit too much of a “my way or the cycleway” attitude.

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  26. Pete George (23,564 comments) says:

    alex – I know you’re getting out and about, but that seems the exception rather than normal, there seems to be a big green bubble.

    And are you trying to justify a questionable use of parliamentary funds by pointing at something completely different? There’s always a cost involved in selling major items, and if spent wisely it will be more than returned by improving the price.

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  27. Warren Murray (311 comments) says:

    What the Greens are doing is within the rules for use of Parliamentary funding. If that was not the case, the auditor general would be getting involved.

    There are some very good points on both sides of the debate, on one hand we’ve had a referendum at the election. National et el won, Labour, Greens, etc lost. BUT the opponents are right to question and challenge the Government’s policies – that’s part of our democracy.

    That said, what the Greens have started has its own risks. Firstly there is an opportunity cost associated with spending funds on the referendum is at the cost of other things that the party might spend its money on. It’s not as if any money would actually be saved if the Greens did not use its Parliamentary funding to support the referendum. More interestingly is the political risk to Greens and Labour. Many people believe this tactic is wrong, so while Greens are getting some publicity from this, they are poaching support from Labour and also hardening the attitudes of some who object to use of public money this way. Finally, it would be a huge own goal if they spend money on gathering signatures and fail to collect enough to force the referendum.

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  28. Griff (7,717 comments) says:

    happy planet index
    Shows the highest ranking Western European nation to be Norway in 29th place, just behind New Zealand in 28th place.
    we lose because we have a modern economy ha ha

    1 Costa Rica
    2 Vietnam
    3 Colombia
    4 Belize
    5 El Salvador
    6 Jamaica
    7 Panama
    8 Nicaragua
    9 Venezuela
    10 Guatemala
    11 Bangladesh
    12 Cuba
    13 Honduras
    14 Indonesia
    15 Israel luc will hate this one :smile:
    16 Pakistan
    17 Argentina
    18 Albania
    19 Chile
    20 Thailand
    21 Brazil
    22 Mexico
    23 Ecuador
    24 Peru
    25 Philippines
    26 Algeria
    27 Jordan
    28 New Zealand
    29 Norway

    Biggest load of Luddite bullshit have ever seen.
    For any one else who wants a mind full of the massive pile of shit it can be found here http://www.neweconomics.org/sites/neweconomics.org/files/HPI_3_0_WEB.pdf

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  29. Pete George (23,564 comments) says:

    Warren Murray – good points. It is a big risk being taken by Greens (and Labour).

    My biggest concern is that they are not realistically targetting the MOM Bill, they know they can’t stop that (at least I presume they don’t believe their own spin) – but they are targetting the next election, and using the referendum as a paid for campaign tool.

    I suspected this was their aim and a Green supporter suggested exactly that earlier this week.

    The Greens are managing these issues perfectly. You can’t catch them. They’ve learned alright! You won’t ping them on the referendum support either. The public will regard you as sniping if you try to portray the Greens as they see National, Labour, NZFirst, Act and UnitedFuture. Go for it though, Pete!

    Using parliamentary funds for a CIR is bad enough, but using funds (and misusing the whole intent of CIR) as an ongoing election campaign running up to 2014 is a huge concern.

    And Greens blatantly seem to think it’s their right.

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  30. Warren Murray (311 comments) says:

    Pete, it is their right. Secondly, every thing every MP does after the last election is to get re-elected at the next one, so yes they are campaigning but so are Nats, Labour, NZF, etc. If they didnt spend their $ on the CIR, it would be spent on something else, which is also campaigning in a sense. They have decided this is the best platform as it will generate a lot of free publicity.

    I’ts naive to believe that camapaigning only happens in the calendar year of the election itself or during the regulated period prior to polling day.

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