Purchased momentum

June 13th, 2012 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

Catherine Delahunty writes:

petition gathers momentum

Of course it has momentum. That is because the are spending around $80,000 of taxpayers money to pay people to collect signatures for it. It’s an appalling use of parliamentary resources and goes against all their arguments about keeping money out of politics.

did a very good post on this issue for Pundit:

There then is a broader problem with a political party so deeply involving itself in the process. When this was set up, it was designed to be a way in which broader civil society can send a message to parliamentarians on issues that it thinks important enough to mobilise around. (Actually, it was designed to be a sop to public outrage with politicians that might be enough to stop them voting to change the electoral system … but never mind that for now.)

So to now have a political party effectively bankrolling the process of forcing a CIR represents something of a distortion of its intent. (I note that Labour is somewhat implicated in this as well, albeit without apparently providing the same financial muscle.) Essentially, it is turning CIR’s from expressions of the views of a self-organising general public into yet another campaign tool deployed to advance the particular interests of organised political parties that are funded through public subsidies.

The Greens and Labour are just using the CIR as indeed a campaign tool. Then the hypocrisy:

First, it becomes pretty hard to rail against the influence of money in politics when you yourself are spending money trying to influence politics. For example, the Green Party’s policy proposal on campaign finance reform reads:

No person or entity can donate more than $35,000 to a political party in any twelve month period. This would need to include rules to make it illegal to split up large donations into lots smaller than $35,000 to avoid this cap.

So why exactly is giving more than $35,000 to a political party to spend on trying to achieve political outcomes A Bad Thing, whilst spending $50,000 (at least) on trying to achieve political outcomes is A Good Thing?

In other words it is bad thing to do, except when the Greens do it.

Anyway I am still waiting for Labour and Greens to announce they are implementing the results of the 2009 referendum, which to to change to the law so a parental smack of a child for correctional purposes is no longer a criminal offence. 87.4% of the voting public voted that it should not be.

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31 Responses to “Purchased momentum”

  1. Angus (536 comments) says:

    “Anyway I am still waiting for Labour and Greens to announce they are implementing the results of the 2009 referendum”

    Nah, your useless mate Key was supposed to do that.

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  2. Alan Johnstone (1,082 comments) says:

    National took power in 2008. The referendum took place under a National administration. They ignored it. No one else has been in a position to act on it.

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  3. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Isn’t this delicious, National doing an Obama on the Greens and Labour via a media proxy.

    Haha National complaining about the Greens not honoring the spirit of democracy and abusing a process.
    Never fails to amuse me how National and it’s supporters ignore 80% when it suits them.
    Then when John Key lies through his back teeth they ignore it. Priceless. :-)

    own Goal David hehe

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  4. anonymouse (708 comments) says:

    the Greens are spending around $80,000 of taxpayers money to pay people to collect signatures for it.

    @DPF is 80K a typo?

    I certainly hope that the Greens are spending 80K because that would violate the 50K spending cap in the 1993 CIR Act,

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  5. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    The headcase Greens aren’t bound by the rules like every other political party, they are self-professed “Anarchists”- everyone knows that…

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  6. m@tt (612 comments) says:

    If National have the mandate they claim, they have nothing to fear from a CIR.
    Of course if the referendum actually returns something along the lines of, oh I don’t know maybe two to one against mixed ownership… then nobody is going to care about people being paid to collect the signatures that triggered the CIR.

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  7. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    “Asset sales petition gathers momentum”

    “There are increasing calls…”

    “Anger is rising…”

    Sure, whatever.

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  8. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Very rich for a Labour lite die-hard supporter to ever mention the 2009 referendum on parental smacking.
    Extremely rich, indeed.

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  9. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Think DPF was meaning ““Anyway I am still waiting for Labour and Greens to announce they are supporting the implemtnation of the results of the 2009 referendum””

    But frankly, swapping a few shares for money of equal value pales in comparison to making a basic function of good parenting illegal, and the downstream effects of that.

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  10. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    Whatever. They may get enough votes to push through a referendum. I doubt they’d win that referendum. What exactly is the question they’ve carefully crafted to get the answer they want? Or do the govt of the day get to pick the question?

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  11. adze (2,005 comments) says:

    “If National have the mandate they claim”

    Yes, that’s precisely what elections deliver. With the exception of post-election coalition negotiations, our democracy isn’t a policy smorgasbord. You can lobby for change or against change; but at the end of the day your vote is what counts.
    That won’t change unless CIR are made binding, and I doubt that will happen any time soon.

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  12. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    CIR’s are a joke and a waste of time and resource as they are not binding.

    If they were binding they would be a nightmare – just look at California where the citizenry have binding referenda – they consistently approve every spending increase and oppose every tax increase and then they wonder how the state became bankrupt. Representative politics is about considering all the options and making tradeoffs, that’s not to easy with a yes no question.

    I don’t agree with ‘wasting’ parliamentary funds – but defining ‘waste’ is tricky – it is very clearly advancing their policy platform and debate in the public sphere which is the goal of funding political parties. You don’t get more direct in terms of influencing public debate than paying people to walk up to the public on the street and seek their support or opposition on a matter of government policy. Is it any more wasteful use of public money than Rodney Hide buying a gimmicky yellow smart car with himself painted on the side?

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  13. toad (3,673 comments) says:

    Huh?

    The Greens spend $80,000 of taxpayers’ money to oppose the asset sales and it is somehow unethical.

    Meanwhile, the Nats spend $120 million of taxpayers’ money on advertising, PR, legal, banking, call centres and other administrative charges to promote the asset sales, and it is somehow okay. Although I don’t see it getting the Nats any momentum.

    [DPF: Nice spin attempt. The $120m is the estimated cost of floating and selling the actual shares. It is not about promoting the political virtue of the policy]

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  14. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    The Melons should have a CIR making referendums binding, oops but that wouldn’t be binding either would it? Shit if they want to piss up $80000 against the wall count me in.

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  15. nasska (10,917 comments) says:

    Toad

    You wouldn’t like to comment on the point raised by ‘anonymouse’ at 4.04pm? Specifically the part of the Act which states:

    It is an offence for:

    …..You or your organisation to spend more than $50.000 dollars promoting the petition.

    Thanks.

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  16. Grendel (972 comments) says:

    Oh look toad is here in his paid green party role of blog troll. does anyone (or have they ever) in the greens make money thats not taken from taxpayers?

    you know if you could harness the energy from all the spinning the greens do you could have a pretty good energy source. of course they would probably protest themselves as all the hot air they generate is probably against gaia or some other green wank.

    its good that you expose the greens cavalier attitude to democracy but its a wasted effort sadly. the greens and labour believe the ends justifies the means and whatever actions they need to take to get their way (arson, theft, wiki vandalism, lieing, lobbying etc) is perfectly acceptable (for them, if anyone else even considers a 10th of what they do, their mates in the media will be all over it).

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  17. berend (1,676 comments) says:

    DPF: Anyway I am still waiting for Labour and Greens to announce they are implementing the results of the 2009 referendum, which to to change to the law so a parental smack of a child for correctional purposes is no longer a criminal offence. 87.4% of the voting public voted that it should not be

    One thing is for sure: Labour and the Greens will implement this referendum sooner than John “let’s borrow another $250 million this week” Key.

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  18. wat dabney (3,724 comments) says:

    toad,

    The Greens spend $80,000 of taxpayers’ money to oppose the asset sales and it is somehow unethical.

    There’s no “somehow” about it. What you really mean is:

    The Greens spend $80,000 of taxpayers’ money on their own polical campaigns and it is somehow unethical.

    You remember the taxpayers? The little people?

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  19. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    As usual the Greens are totally hyocritical and and smug. They listen only to themselves and no one else.

    They are a distasteful blot on our political landscape and need to be consigned to oblivion.

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  20. AG (1,820 comments) says:

    “I certainly hope that the Greens are spending 80K because that would violate the 50K spending cap in the 1993 CIR Act,”

    I think DPF gets $80,000 by adding together the $50,000 the Greens are paying petition gatherers to the $28,000 on “sundries” they have budgeted in respect of the campaign and rounding up.

    As for a breach of the spending limits in the CIR Act … probably not. This relates to “knowingly spend[ing], on advertisements published or broadcast in relation to an indicative referendum petition, more than $50,000″. I don’t think paying someone to get signatures counts as this (there is no definition of “advertisements” in the legislation, but handing someone a petition and saying “do you want to sign this?” would be a stretch of the word).

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  21. Michael (899 comments) says:

    Anyone thought of writing to the AG?

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  22. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Isn’t it nice to see DPF getting more and more agitated over what a future Labour/Greens government may or may not do?

    But he seems to forget that the anti-smacking bill ended up as JK’s baby (pun intended).

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  23. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    I dunno. I downloaded the anti-sales petition from the website and got 40 out of 45 in my department to sign it easy peasy. Not sure why David Farrar thinks the Greens money is going to make any difference, unless he thinks losing the refendum 75% to 25% is better than losing it 80% to 20%.

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  24. badmac (139 comments) says:

    Heres a small Problem for Greebour.

    Do they word the referendum as “opposed to asset sales” in which case National simply ignore the result as they arent selling the Assets, they are selling shares in the companies that own the assets.

    Or do the Labeens swallow the dead rat and teelmthe truth by wording the question about “partially privatizing some state assets” which would give National less wiggle room, but is likely to fail to attract sufficient votes.

    That’s the problem with lies, they catch you out, especially when you campaign against “Asset Sales”.

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  25. double d (225 comments) says:

    CIR = Citizens Iniitiated Referenda
    I agree with AGs points that this distorts the purpose of a CIR.
    THAT IT IS INITIATED BY THE CITIZENS not by political parties.
    Toad, interested to see how you view this.
    You may say, “we are citizens too”, yes fair point, but to be funded via taxpayer money negates this position as it is being promoted by political parties.

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  26. Henry64 (81 comments) says:

    I was approached by one of these taxpayer funded referendum signature gatherers at the ChCh Central bus station this evening. He was a twenty-ish English chap, no doubt one of the many uni students co-opted by the Greens to push this anti-sales assets referendum thingey.

    Our conversation went something like this:

    He said: have you got a couple of minutes?

    I said: Well my bus is in 2 minutes actually. (Got to give the guy credit for confidence in thinking he’d have me signed up within 2 minutes)

    He said: Well it’s about signing the referendum against assets sales. We feel that it’s a very serious issue that people need to have a vote on. Most of the people we speak to are very concerned and against the idea of assets sales.

    I said: Well we had a vote, it was called the general election.

    He said: Ah yes, the mandate. Well when you vote you don’t vote for all policies, you have good policies and bad policies and for example if they had a policy to put away all blonde haired people, you’d know that that was wrong.

    I said:??????????? er, well I noticed that the government/National pushed the assets sales policy for nearly a year before the general election, in fact it was one of their main policy platforms. All the other parties campaigned heavily against this policy and yet it was National that was able to form a government. As the government, they get to implement their policy.

    He said: Well we feel that assets such as power companies are very important to keep in public ownership. Like food and water, power is a very basic element that needs to be retained. We’re against private ownership for profit and the government will set a lower fairer price for the average person.

    I said: When Labour was in government for 3 terms they didn’t seem to mind power prices going up and up while reaping the higher dividends that they received from such power price increases.

    He said: Yes but the government is still able to set a fairer price than private power companies.

    I said: Well, as I understand it, the government will retain a majority shareholding and I welcome the opportunity to be able to purchase shares in one of the SOEs. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the mixed ownership model, after all it works for Air NZ and Labour were happy to adopt such a model when they wished to reduce their 100% ownership of Air NZ. The main thing is that the government retains a majority shareholding.

    I made an informed choice when I voted in the Election. For me, in my circumstances, voting for the selling of a minority shareholding in our SOEs makes good sense. I am in my late forties and while the present government will not be making any changes to Superannuation, it’s more than likely that entitlements will change in the future and certainly by the time it comes around for me to retire/meet the age criteria for superannuation.

    I know that I cannot rely 100% on National Superannuation as my sole income to live on in my old age. Therefore it makes sense to me in my circumstances now, to take the opportunity to buy shares in our SOEs to give me an additional income while I am still working and while I am retired in the future also.

    As far as I know the government will not miss out. It gets dividends from the SOEs like all the other shareholders, plus it gets the tax applied to those divdends paid to all of the other shareholders as well.

    He said: Yes but we are concerned that those shares will be sold to overseas interests,

    I said: Well, in my case I intend to invest in these shares as a means of developing an additional income stream. All going well I’ll have another 40 years of life in me yet. My intention would be to leave the shares to family as a legacy in my will. Once I shuffle off this mortal coil, I won’t be able to control what they decide to do with the shares I own.

    He said: Well thank you very much for an interesting conversation. Most of the people we speak to are apathetic, so I appreciate that you have a considered point of view.

    I said: That’s ok, I think it’s important to be a thinking voter and to vote. If you didn’t vote then you can’t complain. I understand where you’re coming from but just have a different point of view and perspective on this issue.

    The young fellow then beat a retreat to try and convince someone else.

    Yes, that was a genuine conversation I had this evening. Yes I missed my bus and yes, it was worth it.

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  27. OneTrack (2,837 comments) says:

    @Henry64 – Well done :-)

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  28. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    It seems to me that the Greens have decided to do the same with Mad Delahunty as they did with comrade Bradford. Delahunty has been shuffled to the back of the Green pack so as not to scare the stupid people who have decided to have a temporary love affair with the duplicitous Green party.

    As we get closer to the next election expect this tactic to intensify, Delahunty will effectively be shut away from the press and the public as the Greens are well aware that every time she opens her stupid mouth she costs them hard won (via lies) support.

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  29. Paulus (2,565 comments) says:

    I have acquaintances who have signed the referendum on Asset sales apparently a number times – whenever asked outside supermarkets or just in the street.
    I did not know that their names included M. Mouse and D. Duck, etc with strange addresses, which need to be checked should the number be reached.
    I and a couple of others have decided we will join them when possible.

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  30. toad (3,673 comments) says:

    @Paulus 10:52 am

    Good luck with that tactic! The Keep Our Assets campaign strategy already accounts for signatures that are not on the electoral roll by setting a far higher signature target than the 307,000 valid ones.

    So you are wasting your time playing silly games like that.

    Perhaps the next tactic from the right will be to physically steal petition forms from collectors and destroy them. Guess that’s where your ethical level is at, Paulus – anything to get your way against the democratic expression of opinion.

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  31. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Toad

    I suppose the hypocrisy re the Greens pushing for a referendum on asset sales go straight over your head?

    Where was the Green support for the publics views re smacking?

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