Labour wants electioneering ban removed

July 2nd, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

The Party wants a ban on electioneering on election day to be scrapped, saying it was “puritanical” and “from a bygone era.”

Labour’s General Secretary, Chris Flatt, told the justice and electoral select committee it was time for the ban to be reviewed and there was no logical reason for all election advertising to disappear by midnight the night before.

He said provided there were laws to prevent intimidation of voters, there was no reason why electioneering should not be allowed on election day as was permitted in Australia and several European countries.

“The puritanical view in New Zealand could be reviewed, especially in light of the number of people who make up their mind to vote in the last week of the election campaign, and the 12 per cent who make up their minds on the day itself.”

I think the fact so many people make their mind up on the day is exactly why you don’t want people accosting them as they go to vote, handing out propaganda and the like.

I do have some sympathy for Labour’s views. The regulations around election day should be reviewed from first principles. With advance voting becoming more common, that has an impact also. And the suggestion that even discussing the weather on election day could be illegal, as it may deter someone from voting was a bit ludicrous.

So I do support a review, but I don’t advocate removing all restrictions as Labour do. I think that would inevitably lead to inappropriate pressure being put on people to vote.

A related issue is whether we should allow exit polls, as many countries do. They are currently banned.

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39 Responses to “Labour wants electioneering ban removed”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,222 comments) says:

    At your polling forum earlier in the year, one of the pollsters said his firm conducted some exit polls.

    [DPF: Well it was a pre-election poll, but of course some people had advance voted. I udnerstand from that pollster they did not ask how they voted but How they would vote if voting today"]

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  2. gump (1,231 comments) says:

    Whenever Labour announces “reforms” for the electoral system, my first reaction is always suspicion.

    It will take a long time to dispel the stench of the Electoral Finance Act they introduced in 2007.

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  3. Flyingkiwi9 (54 comments) says:

    No doubt Labour “faithful” (I call them idiots) will stand outside polling booths handing out flyers with lots of “nice to haves”

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  4. alwyn (359 comments) says:

    I prefer to keep the current rules as it is the only way we have to make the candidates remove their election advertising at the side of the road. If they didn’t have to get rid of the posters on election day they would stay there forever. I was in France during the recent elections and the candidate’s posters obviously don’t have to be removed on election day. They simply remain on the hoardings getting more and more tattered in the weeks, and probably months after the election.

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  5. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Political parties have websites which of course are not shut down on election day…there is loads of information available online, and indeed people will often discuss how they voted on the day. Banning advertising on election day does seem silly.

    The fact that some people make up the mind on the day is irrelevant. Indeed that is a good argument for permitting advertising on the day, so voters can be properly informed.

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  6. Manolo (12,637 comments) says:

    Is it the same socialist Labour Party that gave us the abominable EFA?

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  7. s.russell (1,486 comments) says:

    I have to say that there is some sense in this suggestion. I cannot see that the election day ban actually achieve anything except (as alwyn points out) getting rid of hoardings promptly. It is worth thinking about at any rate.

    I do think, however, that there might be merit in banning publication of opinion polls in the 7 days before the election. I think they can have a pernicious effect. I suspect that National almost lost last year because some supporters were so convinced of a thumping win that they did not bother to vote, or felt they could indulge in a throwaway gesture of voting Conservative or NZ First to make a point.

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  8. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Political parties have websites which of course are not shut down on election day…there is loads of information available online, and indeed people will often discuss how they voted on the day. Banning advertising on election day does seem silly.

    Quite a large difference, the website is a medium the individual has to make a definite decision and effort to view the material. Billboards and pamphlets however can be erected in view of people going about their business.

    Nope, not in favour of this – frankly I don’t trust Labour not to hand out blatantly false material to scare gullible voter. Imagine the State House eviction notices on an election day.

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  9. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Clearly designed with labour’s dirty tricks in mind – throw some untrue smears around on election day and hope to be in power before the other side gets the chance to tell the truth. No thanks.

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  10. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    I’m not at all converned about hoardings, but rent-a-mob supporters being permitted to pressue voters as the approach a polling centre is something we should resist.

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  11. markm (90 comments) says:

    Ross69

    If people can’t be informed in the months leading to an election , then they don’t deserve to cast their vote based some free KFC Vouchers at the polling booth
    If you can’t be bothered being informed then you don’t deserve a vote

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  12. wreck1080 (3,527 comments) says:

    Equally, I want a 7-day change of mind guarantee.

    If it’s good enough for door-to-door salesmen, then good enough for our dodgy political parties.

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  13. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    I cannot see that the election day ban actually achieve anything except (as alwyn points out) getting rid of hoardings promptly. It is worth thinking about at any rate.

    Hell no. PIA’s completely on the money, but my reasoning is simpler: by the end of an election campaign I’m sick of it, it’s such a blessed relief to stroll to the polling station with all the campaign noise and clutter absent. Like Christmas telly without the ads, it’s just such a simple pleasure.

    I’d hate to lose that comparative silence in which to make any last minute decisions, and I did make my choice in the booth last time out.

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  14. Colville (1,779 comments) says:

    I certianly do not want Labour picking people up in a Labour party emblazoned bus, handing them a Labour Party flier and taking them for a ride to the booth and on confirmation that they voted red two ticks then giving them the KFC voucher.
    Bus, flier and voucher all paid for with my fucking taxes too!

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  15. KevinH (1,129 comments) says:

    @krazykiwi
    I agree with you, if we relax the rules on election day it will turn into a circus courtesy of rent a crowd. Also voters could be intimidated in some electorates ie Epsom and Ohariu. Election Day should be solely for the purpose of voting.

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  16. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    > they don’t deserve to cast their vote based some free KFC Vouchers at the polling booth

    I get that condition checked out if I were you.

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  17. Other_Andy (2,079 comments) says:

    Rather have the ban extended than done away with.
    Not that it matters as Labour will flout the rules anyway as they did last year without any repercussions.

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  18. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    Sorry but the thought of the lies that Mallard, Curran, Little, Peters et al., would tell on election day is just too awful to consider.

    I’ve seen enough of David Cunliffe perched on top of a bus with a megaphone and a disgracefully racist attitude. I’ve heard more than enough from that narcissistic little minge Andrew Little, happy to turn the truth into a pretzel to further his political ambitions. Fenton with her lies about the watersiders. That arch-confabulator Mallard. Peters – to whom reality is an irrelevant sideshow … arrrgh!

    Never! Never!

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  19. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    This is an outrageous call for Labour of all people (them who wanted to curb the influence that money and campaigning resources can have on the outcome of an election) to be making. I don’t know how they can do it with a straight face – and I say this as an oftentimes Labour voter.

    Keep it as it is.

    The campaigning goes on for months giving people plenty of time to make up their mind how they’re going to vote, and why. Allowing the pollies to attempt to change people’s minds at the last-minute, with a gauntlet of god-knows-what propaganda as they walk to their local polling booth can only benefit the politicians, not New Zealand.

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  20. RRM (8,994 comments) says:

    Oh and the more the losing party rants and raves about how the process of selecting winners and losers is flawed and needs fixing, the more it just looks like sour grapes. IMO.

    Labour weren’t kept out in 2011 because of flaws in the voting system.

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  21. Viking2 (10,734 comments) says:

    More to the point has anyone discussed online voting or are we going to continue with the failed current system that garners fuck all votes?

    After all the system cannot stop electioneering via email etc on voting day. It depends when the email is sent and when you open it.

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  22. thor42 (776 comments) says:

    I’m with RRM. Keep things as they are.
    The last thing that I want is for Labour scum to be accosting me as I walk towards a polling booth.
    The break from electioneering on election day is GREAT. It’s like exiting a stuffy room into the fresh air.

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  23. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Bollocks to that.

    Interesting that Labour see the need for “laws to prevent intimidation” most likely because they will bethe ones intimidating. And laws in this matter are useless because no action will be taken on the day of the offence, when the effect of that offence is greatest (forcing people to vote a particular way).

    And why replace one law with another? Leave it as it is so I can go vote and have a quiet breakfast somewhere without some Labour baboon getting in my face

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  24. nasska (9,549 comments) says:

    Leave polling day as free as possible from electioneering. After being earbashed for months prior to the day it is better to get a chance for things to settle & be allowed to make a considered decision.

    Although it might not brighten the face of our host nor his bank balance, I go along with the comment that ‘s.russell’ made at 11.57am. Poll results released in the week prior to the elections, IMHO, tend to influence voting patterns rather than report them.

    It could be one of those rare situations where too much information may be a bad thing.

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  25. Pete George (21,826 comments) says:

    Polling day ain’t broke.

    And there’s a lot of fixing Labour needs to be doing closer to home.

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  26. Fentex (663 comments) says:

    Do Labour not want anyone to vote for them?

    Polling day works in this country, there is no problem that requires addressing. If the only thing Labour can think to do to get their name in the news is to suggest possibly breaking a simple, easily comprehended, well organised important process and civil day the paucity in their imagination and ambitions is only made clearer to people.

    I find this such a stupid thing to bring up I wonder if it’s deliberate. Is it a stalking horse for Shearer to come out against in the hope it will make him friends in a policy that is jealous of Keys such success?

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  27. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    Ironic from Labour. I’d keep it as is, best reason from alwyn at 11:46 am.

    However, I do think too many people try to look behind the reasoning people employ when casting their vote. People want “considered” votes ignoring the reality that half the population is either not interested in politics or too stupid to provide any valued consideration at all. If the test of a legitimate vote is whether or not the decision making process was reasonable and considered we may as well just abandon democracy altogether. :)

    Also, opinion polling matters because of strategic voting. It is quite rational to watch the polls and to cast your vote in a manner that is likely to have the most impact. If you don’t want all this strategic nonsense then change the system. Allow voters preferential voting on the party vote, that way our vote always counts and we can vote for whomever we choose without fear of the polls. Until then I would like the polls to stay so that I can make an informed decision.

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  28. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    I shouldn’t think electioneering on polling day would differ at all in character from any other day of the campaign.
    And what’s with all the references to KFC?

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  29. UpandComer (496 comments) says:

    Absolutely no reform that is mooted by Labour.

    They have lost all credibility and apolitical electoral standing with the Electoral Finance Act.

    No reform. They will inevitably rort the system and cheat the polity.

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  30. jims_whare (389 comments) says:

    Ya gotta ask the question………I wonder if KFC have made a substantial donation to Labour recently; hence this sudden new policy direction.

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  31. UpandComer (496 comments) says:

    Absolutely, KFC and Maca D’s may possibly have forged a deal with Labour that Labour will not regulate them like the Greens want, so free feeds for all the bros and broettes on election day if they vote for the handout party. Note this is possibly, it probably hasn’t happened, but it’s not a totally unrealistic hypothetical scenario actually. Where is Taito Phillip Field to run this proud arrangement.

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  32. mikenmild (8,890 comments) says:

    UpandComer
    So you think that the Labour Party might be conspiring to breach section 217 of the Electoral Act. You know that how?

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  33. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    “Present Day bans are irrelevant as party web sites are still accessable”, utter fucking bullshit, yesterdays paper, digitally stored data on my sky, flyers delivered weeks before, voters actually recalling what a candidate said.
    FFS that is very very different to a rosetted party hack campaigning at the polling station, perhaps the desperate bloody socialists would like to cast every-ones vote as the pricks do now with the simple and demented from the rest homes, now that is a rort that should be ended yesterday.
    Informed vote? sell me another bridge.

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  34. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “What ever it takes.” is the left motto here in Aus.

    I hate having to visit a polling booth on election day only to be accosted by Labour/Greens supporters.

    The amount of trouble that goes on at polling booths here in Australia is a disgrace.Every year false pamphlets are handed out about other candidates and partys.People fighting.Swearing and verbal abuse.The police needing to be called.

    That is not a good look for something as serious as democracy.

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  35. simonway (356 comments) says:

    No exit polls. They can influence voting, and we always get the results before midnight anyway.

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  36. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    simonway – sometimes we don’t get the result for weeks, while the backroom deals that no one voted on are agreed

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  37. Viking2 (10,734 comments) says:

    Pete George (13,669) Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Polling day ain’t broke.

    And there’s a lot of fixing Labour needs to be doing closer to home.

    Yes it is. Its been stuffed for years. How many peole made the effort in the last 10 elections.

    How many more would if they could vote in line.

    2012 and we still trot out if its a fine day or can be bothered. Otherwise well its not really that important.
    With high speed braodband online will be the nmost favoured option in no time at all.

    Its happeneing for everything else. Who doesn’t shop online, bank online,and so on. Our kids will not go to a booth to vote, not their training.
    Lets just get the job done.

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  38. Komata (971 comments) says:

    There is an interesting historical precedent to what labour are demanding – prior to the introduction of the secret ballot in the 1880′s this was ‘situation normal’ at polling day. By popular demand, the rules relating to Polling Day were changed to protect the voters, who were being jostled and ‘got at’ on polling day, and it was universally accepted by ALL political parties that it was an extremely good thing that this was done.

    It is IMHO extremely ironic that labour is now demanding a return to something that destroys what it held dear – the sanctity of polling day ; mind you, the current rainbow labour party is nothing like its forebears – Mickey Savage would be horrified.

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  39. Jimmy Smits (246 comments) says:

    Colville (180) Says:
    July 2nd, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I certianly do not want Labour picking people up in a Labour party emblazoned bus, handing them a Labour Party flier and taking them for a ride to the booth and on confirmation that they voted red two ticks then giving them the KFC voucher.
    Bus, flier and voucher all paid for with my fucking taxes too!

    I have no issue with this at all. In a free market, competitors should be able to use any tactics they like to destroy the competition, provided that they stay within the law. If them using your taxes is what you have issue with, then perhaps the funding rules should be changed, not the rules restricting a party’s right to campaign in anyway they wish. If New Zealanders are dumb enough to vote based on KFC, then they deserve a KFC government. This country is a shithole.

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