Have Labour, Greens and unions broken the CIR Act?

March 15th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

S42 of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act states:

Every person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 who, either alone or in combination with others knowingly spends, on advertisements published or broadcast in relation to an indicative petition, more than $50,000

It is clear that , and the unions have spent well over $50,000 in promoting the petition. They have trampled over the intent of the CIR Act which is to stop people or groups from purchasing a referendum. Even worse, they have done it with our money. We see the hypocrisy where they are the ones who demand spending limits on all electoral issues, yet often flout them – remember the $400,000 overspend in 2005.

Whether they have broken the actual CIR Act will depend on what gets classified as an advertisement.

We know from their leaked strategy document they have spent the following on the petition:

  • 30 hours a week from Labour parliamentary resources – estimated value $40,000
  • Greens have permament staff working on it – assume $60,000
  • Union paid national co-ordinator for three months – $15,000
  • 10 FT Labour/Green staff planning for their national day of action – $50,000
  • Carfuls of paid union organisers – say 200 people x 4 days – $150,000
  • $75,000 on Greens paying petition signature gatherers

So I’d estimate conservatively they have spent $390,000 of which $225,000 is from the taxpayer.

Now what we don’t know is how much of this could be counted as an advertisement? If the staff collecting signatures were wearing t-shirts promoting the referendum than they could be walking billboards. And I’ve seen a lot of people wearing those t-shirts.

What difference is there between paying for an ad in a newspaper for people to sign the petition and paying someone to wear a t-shirt and harass passerbys to sign a petition?

I suspect a number of lawyers will be taking a very keen interest in the return that the petitioners file, and there could well be complaints to the Police about their possible over-spending.

Sadly though the maximum fine for over-spending is $20,000 so maybe they have just decided to ignore the spending limit and risk a $20,000 fine. time will tell.

What we do know is never before has there been such a massive use of paid (mainly taxpayer funded) staff to purchase a referendum. The four other CIRs have all been genuine grass-roots efforts, with the exception of the Firefighters Union one.

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70 Responses to “Have Labour, Greens and unions broken the CIR Act?”

  1. JeffW (320 comments) says:

    This seems to be similar to an electoral offense, so it may be reasonable to assume the Police won’t look into this with any haste or intent.

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  2. BlairM (2,286 comments) says:

    I don’t care how much money they have spent or what supposed laws they broke. It’s their human and democratic right to propagate their cause. It is not Labour and the Greens who have done wrong, it is the law that is wrong. Does this make them hypocrites? Of course, but that is another matter entirely.

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  3. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    Labour, Greens and NZ First need to make it clear that if in a future government they will pledge to abide by the wishes expressed in any Citizen Initiated Referendum from now on.

    Or do they only want the CIR organised by themselves to be binding?

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  4. Chuck Bird (4,668 comments) says:

    I do not think the fine will worry them too much but if the referendum is disallowed that will.

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  5. Keeping Stock (10,095 comments) says:

    Can the taxpayer-funded cost of flying MP’s up and down the country to support signing sessions be counted as an expense, or do we just have to grin and bear it?

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  6. tvb (4,197 comments) says:

    Let the referendum run. The fact that they had to spend s much money to gather up these signatures suggests the public needed a lot of persuasion. It is all legitimate democratic politics.

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  7. Cunningham (811 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird (3,159) Says:

    “I do not think the fine will worry them too much but if the referendum is disallowed that will.”

    But the publicity that will come about if they are fined will worry them. I suspect the vast majority of people don’t know about the use of this much taxpayer money. If they are fined (I would almost cry tears of joy if they were), it will be bought into the spotlight and everyone will see this for what it is – a rort of taxpayer money.

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  8. BlairM (2,286 comments) says:

    For anyone complaining that this is taxpayer money, you have a point, but it’s not money that wouldn’t have been spent otherwise on something else equally unproductive. Parliamentary parties have budgets, and they generally spend them so they don’t lose them. It’s the price of democracy unfortunately.

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  9. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    It is not Labour and the Greens who have done wrong, it is the law that is wrong.

    What? I’ll try telling the next officer who tries to ticket me that.

    Their expenditure could breach laws. Simple as that, either they have offended or they haven’t.

    And their whole petition/referendum campaign breaches the spirit intended for CIR – that citizens have a way of telling parliament what they think about things in a way that doesn’t oblige parliament to do anything.

    They have hijacked one of the few democratic mechanisms available to ordinary people, using it to relitigate the election and the normal parliamentary process, and want it to be binding.

    Greens and Labour are blatantly flouting the intent of CIR, floting the intent of parliamentary funds, and possibly also flouting the law.

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  10. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    The Intepretive headache is “Published or Broadcast”

    I don’t recall any broadcasting,

    In terms of “Publish”

    1. to issue (printed or otherwise reproduced textual or graphic material, computer software, etc.) for sale or distribution to the public.

    2. to issue publicly the work of: Random House publishes Faulkner.

    3. to announce formally or officially; proclaim; promulgate.

    4. to make publicly or generally known.

    5. Law. to communicate (a defamatory statement) to some person or persons other than the person defamed.

    On the basis of 3 and 4 there could be certainly be an argument, the trouble however is as it is a criminal proceeding the Judge is obligated to adopt the interpretation most favourably to the defendant.

    The other difficulty is whether what they have published if they have published were advertisments

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  11. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    For anyone complaining that this is taxpayer money, you have a point, but it’s not money that wouldn’t have been spent otherwise on something else equally unproductive.

    What? (again) I don’t accept that we should just shrug and say they woukld waste it anyway. They bloody well shouldn’t waste it.

    All parties should be using their time and allocated resources including money as productively as possible, for the benefit of the country within our democratic system of representation and government.

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  12. BeaB (2,057 comments) says:

    But the Left always gets away with spending our money any way they choose, legal or not.

    I bet the MSM totally ignores this, useless as they are in carrying out their Fourth estate responsibilities. Much easier to write about sombreros or the latest sobcase.

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  13. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    I don’t accept that we should just shrug and say they woukld waste it anyway.

    Some of us would consider the Green party actually trying to get public support to be less wasteful than their usual activities :(

    And unless I missed something, the limit described above is for broadcasting etc, while the spending listed is employee time.

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  14. peterwn (3,146 comments) says:

    It would have been beyond the conception of the original CIR law drafters that political parties would be using Parliamentary funds to promote petitions.

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  15. Judith (7,497 comments) says:

    The calculations seem to have taken people’s time into account. From what I saw and have seen there were thousands of volunteers collecting signatures, collating/administering etc. Whilst I have no doubt that there has been tax payers money spent on this, we know at least 392,000 taxpayers were happy to sign the petition.

    Statements like ‘carfuls of paid union organisers’ is exaggerated and done to incite ill feeling. They are also not true and unrealistic, but that never stopped anyone when it comes to discussions on politics apparently.

    This may be a democracy, and John Key may have been able to stitch together a government because his party did NOT win with a clear majority. That does not mean that the rest forfeit their right to protest, to petition, or to seek a referendum on any issue they wish to.

    Again I ask, why all the effort to discredit the petition? Why are National supporters so scared of a referendum? I would have thought they would welcome the chance to gloat if the referendum was held, and went their way. It appears to me that perhaps they are not ‘walking the talk’ and are not totally confident with what ‘democracy’ might produce.

    [DPF: The statement about carfuls of union organisers comes from the leaked Labour Party document]

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  16. ChardonnayGuy (1,131 comments) says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This is more clear evidence that the CIR Act 1993 is unworkable and it should be repealed immediately. Referenda need to be conserved for constitutional matters only, given the considerable expense in holding them. And as I’ve said before, I would prefer that Labour and the Greens spent far more time elaborating and engaging in policy development over their proposed capital gains tax than mounting a negative campaign against asset sales based on the flawed CIR strategy. I do not support this referendum on that basis.

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  17. Nookin (3,033 comments) says:

    “Parliamentary parties have budgets, and they generally spend them so they don’t lose them. It’s the price of democracy unfortunately”

    The hell it is. If you get an allocation, you spend it on what it was allocated for. If you don’t need it then you don’t get it next time. You don’t break the law and spend it unlawfully. That is not democracy. That is corruption.

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  18. Paulus (2,495 comments) says:

    Labour and their Union branches, Greenpeace and Winston are all above the Law.

    So forget it as the Police will do sweet f.a. anyway.

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  19. Judith (7,497 comments) says:

    ‘Carfuls of paid union organisers’ – exaggerating much? Being overly emotive? Please note, none of the figures quoted above appear to be authenticated in any manner – how much are ‘questimate?

    Still makes me wonder why? What are ‘we’ scared of? ;-)

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  20. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    “Have Labour, Greens and unions broken the CIR Act?” Oh come on, of course they’ve broken the law!

    This is standard operating procedure for Labour and the Greens – law-breaking comes straight out of their respective play-books.

    Consider Labour’s electoral offenses such as the use of taxpayer money on their Pledge Card; consider Green party support for Greenpeace’s eco-terrorist activities.

    And for as long as the penalties amount to slaps with wet bus tickets, they will continue to flout the law with impunity.

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  21. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    Statements like ‘carfuls of paid union organisers’ is exaggerated and done to incite ill feeling.

    True, they probably had only 2 people in each car at most. Gotta generate those greenhouse gases!

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  22. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    How much has been or will be spent on implementing and promoting asset sales?

    More than $100 million. The cost of a referendum is a drop in the bucket.

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  23. Redbaiter (7,540 comments) says:

    “Again I ask, why all the effort to discredit the petition? ”

    I don’t thnk that is the aim.

    The blogosphere is merely bringing into focus information that the politically corrupt mainstream media will not provide.

    That information is that the Greens and Labour have cheated.

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  24. Judith (7,497 comments) says:

    It appears to me that John Key would have won himself a hell of a lot of votes, and respect if he had turned around and said “hey, it appears there are a significant amount of New Zealanders that are not happy with this issue, I believe I have a clear majority on it, but as so many have asked, yes, lets put it to a referendum, it is afterall your money” -

    Instead we get these desperate attempts to make sure the referendum doesn’t happen, and for me, that rings alarm bells. And I know I’m not the only one thinking that way – I’ve heard several ‘die hard’ nationalites say the same thing. (Of course they are confident the referendum will go Key’s way, but they still would like definition).

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  25. ex-golfer (145 comments) says:

    Personally I’m getting sick to the back teeth of this so-called CIR.
    And I don’t know why those of us opposed to it keep giving it oxygen.
    The left must be loving all the attention it is giving.
    Let it run it’s course (lets first see if they have the required authentic signatures).
    In the meantime lets stop giving it unwanted attention.

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  26. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    “at least 392,000 taxpayers were happy to sign…” “John Key may have been able to stitch together a government because his party did NOT win with a clear majority…”

    Exaggerating much? Being overly defensive much?

    Strikes me that for every legitimate signature on your taxpayer-funded petition, Judith, there’s an expression of interest from the voters for asset sales – and some!

    Lest we forget, Phil Goff described the last election as a referendum on asset sales – and my recollection is that National outshone Labour and the watermelons with a handy majority.

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  27. Judith (7,497 comments) says:

    Redbaiter (2,346) Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 9:45 am
    “Again I ask, why all the effort to discredit the petition? ”

    …That information is that the Greens and Labour have cheated…

    No, the ‘information’ isn’t that Greens and Labour have cheated, the speculation is that they have. With all due respect to Mr Farrer, he has failed to supply any supporting evidence to his claims above. Until such time as some proof is presented, all the figures above give you is emotive speculation (carfuls of paid union organisers!!)

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  28. ex-golfer (145 comments) says:

    Judith (1,743) Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 9:49 am
    With all due respect to Mr Farrer, he has failed to supply any supporting evidence to his claims above. Until such time as some proof is presented, all the figures above give you is emotive speculation (carfuls of paid union organisers!!)

    You obviously have not bothered to read the Labour/Green strategy document that DPF posted on here yesterday.
    Proof, in writing.

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  29. Judith (7,497 comments) says:

    joe bloggs (112) Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 9:47 am
    ————————–

    Whatever Phil Goff or anyone else might have said, that Petition DID NOT ask for a signature against the asset sales. It would not have got mine if it had. It stated VERY clearly that it was in support of a referendum on the matter. No more, no less.

    I signed it, and I’ve also registered for shares, as have many of my family. In the interests of democracy we want to know what the electorate wants on this issue. It appears to me to be basically an even split. Because there is no way back once they are sold (or at least no cheap way back), then I think it is important enough to hold a referendum on.

    It is easy to sit there and presume you know why people signed it, reality may be a whole lot different, I for one know in my personal situation that there are some that signed it for reasons different to what you state.

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  30. Peter (1,577 comments) says:

    I’m saddened that the level of corruption in this South Pacific banana republic no longer surprises me.

    A curse on all their houses.

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  31. Judith (7,497 comments) says:

    ex-golfer (39) Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 9:52 am
    —————————

    A strategy document is not proof of expenditure. That document would be rejected by any Court of law as evidence of spending. I’m surprised you mention it. In order to WIN this claim, you are going to have to PROVE that money was paid from the sources you say paid it.

    When you have proof of that, you have a case, until then all you have is speculation. How does Mr Farrer even know that document was authentic and not provided simply to stir. Thank goodness our Courts provide a higher level of proof than the ignorant public.

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  32. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    How much has been or will be spent on implementing and promoting asset sales?

    More than $100 million.

    And that’s a massive problem, one that can only be solved by selling assets.

    Governments are not constrained in this country from purchasing assets. The need (almost by definition) to be free to sell them too. To me, this sale is about showing people that the sky does not fall when assets are sold so that in future, governments do not have to spend $100m in order to conduct what should be business as usual.

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  33. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    Can’t see that using people on a payroll will constitute a spending breach in terms of that provsion.

    The real point is that this is not a CIR. It’s a Liebour/melons political stunt funded by taxpayers and union members and I don’t expect that anyone would think otherwise. It’s the usual deal; use someone else’s money to keep an issue in the headlines in the hope that over time it will erode support for the government. On the other hand they seem oblivious to the prospect that it will simply erode their own support because voters voted this government in despite any objections around this and by now they must surely be getting bored with the whole silly business and sick to death of tools like shearer, norman and the dodgy arsehole peters banging on about it.

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  34. ex-golfer (145 comments) says:

    @ Judith

    I am not trying to WIN anything.
    The argument was WON in November 2011.
    If people want to relitigate an election result and use taxpayer money to do it then good on them that the law might allow it.

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  35. eszett (2,332 comments) says:

    Because there is no way back once they are sold (or at least no cheap way back), then I think it is important enough to hold a referendum on.

    A lot of legislation is hard or expensive to reverse, that does not warrent a referendum. Floating 49% of MRP is not going to be that tragic.

    Referenda are just way to blunt to be a useful democratic tool to decide any complex questions in a democracy. It should only be used im really important constitutional matters.

    Have Labour and Greens broken the CIR Act? Probably not, as some have pointed out that it really refers to dvertising.
    Have they acted against the intention of the law? Most definitely.

    However National should take heed. The reason that they are afraid of the referendum is that they know it will likely go against them. A clear indication that there arguments for asset sales are not getting the traction they hoped they would.

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  36. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    Does it have public support? Yes.

    Did the smacking petition have public support? Yes.

    The difference is that while getting signatures for the smacking petition was like offering water to a thirsty man, this one apparently lacked enough people motived to get signatures to the point where many of them had to be paid.

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  37. RightNow (6,646 comments) says:

    Judith – the strategy document states “unions gathering car loads of organisers and activists”
    So your bone of contention rests on whether or not they were paid. Personally I think they probably are (especially when collecting signatures during working hours), and in my opinion your contention that they aren’t is emotive speculation. I already know your opinion, just sharing mine.

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  38. Tristan (63 comments) says:

    Jesus how late were you up trying to squeeze something out of the CIR legislation DPF?

    They broke the adverting limit by having people wear t-shirts so paying them became advertising…

    There is thin and then there is this..I’m having trouble finding a higgs-boson in this line of thought

    [DPF: You don't think it is hypocritical to demand a spending limit on CIRs and then spend $390,000 collecting signatures for one?]

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  39. ChardonnayGuy (1,131 comments) says:

    I think it’s fascinating that the BCIR brigade feels so compelled to barrack for their proposed populist tool that they are willing even to overlook instances of alleged misconduct in this context. To say nothing of the sheer expense of holding these circuses. The probelting activists seem oblivious to the cost of their populist referendum, namely nine million dollars. During a period of severe recession, prudent governments conserve spending for public education and health, and do not waste it on populist baubles. It is irresponsible for Labour and the Greens not to recognise this. Again, they need to concentrate on developing their capital gains tax policy proposals and utilise alternative measures of opposition to asset sales, not the flawed and unworkable CIR strategy.

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  40. Manolo (13,335 comments) says:

    We may not like it, but we shouldn’t laugh. It could well be the downfall of Smile-and-wave and Labour lite.

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  41. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    This is more clear evidence that the CIR Act 1993 is unworkable and it should be repealed immediately. Referenda need to be conserved for constitutional matters only, given the considerable expense in holding them.

    I agree. CIR are far to expensive, take far too long and are too easy to be hijacked for political purposes. And of course they are usually ignored.

    And they are far too restrictive – the smacking question was ambiguous with different interests applying their own interpretation.

    The asset question will be moot once we (presumably) have the referendum – it will be asking if you want named SOEs up to 49% sold when one or more will have already been sold. And it doesn’t allow any flexibility, for example some people will accept some sold and prefer others weren’t.

    We need a replacement for CIR – something designed by people and not politicians. It needs to allow a robust and fair debate folowed by an indicative poll or referendum based online and by phone that properly examines the questions that need to be asked. And this needs to be able to be done in a short timeframe, something like three months. A rapd accurate indication of public opinion could thenactually influence politicians and parties before they make their decisions, not when it’s far too late like the current exercise infutility.

    And Greens and Labour knew as far as stopping the legislation goes the asset CIR was doomed to be ignored – making their misuse of CIR as a between elections campaign tool funded by us even more cynical. Disgraceful.

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  42. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    I have emailed the following questions to David Shearer, Metiria Turei, Russel Norman and Winston Peters:

    Do you think all future Citizen Initiated Referenda should be binding?

    Do you think any legislation subject to a petition for a CIR should be put on hold until it is known if the petition is successful?

    Do you think any legislation subject to a Citizen Initiated Referendum should be put on hold until ithe result of the referendum is known?

    As a citizen I think these are extremely important questions.

    Peters’ Executive Assistant has said she will pass it on to him, so far no reply from the others.

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  43. peterwn (3,146 comments) says:

    Pity that Mr McCready has a blackmail and other convictions. The Electoral Commission could have appointed him an honorary prosecutor. Just leak the info to him.

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  44. Keeping Stock (10,095 comments) says:

    tvb said

    It is all legitimate democratic politics.

    So is MMP tvb, which of course the Left supported. But underlying MMP is the principle that the party that gets the most party votes gets the first crack at forming a government. John Key and National did that after the 2011 General Election, and from the moment that Key was able to go to Sir Jerry Mateparae and advise him that he had the numbers to govern he had the right to deliver on the policies he had campaigned on, including partial asset sales.

    Democracy doesn’t always deliver you the result that you want. But it is better than any of the alternatives :P

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  45. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Keeping Stock – MMP does not have an underlying principle that the party that gets the most party votes gets the first crack at forming a government.

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  46. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Also – summary offence, six month time limit.

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  47. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    Graeme – does that mean in an ongoing campaign that’s been 12 months so far and likely to be another 6 months to check the petition and then schedule and have a referendum that only the last six months can be questioned?

    Or questioned within 6 months of them filing a return?

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  48. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    And Graeme – does CIR have an underlying principle of allowing people to express opinion to Parliament?

    If so is the intent and spirit of CIR (if not the law) being abused if parties use a CIR to try and defeat legislation that has successfully passed through the parliamentary system?

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  49. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Six months from the offending spending. If there is to be an allegation that the (still not filed) expense returns are false or haven’t been filed, that be be six months from filing, or from the required filing date.

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  50. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    So in effect “in relation to an indicative referendum petition, more than $50,000″ only refers to any rolling six month period?

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  51. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    PG – no. Just because you can’t be charged with spending over six months old doesn’t mean it doesn’t count for working out whether later spending is over the limit or not.

    Spend $40k in May, and then $20k in January and you’ve broken the law with the January spending.

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  52. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    Also – while the intent of the CIR Act is to allow people outside Parliament to make their voice heard, the use of it by people inside Parliament doesn’t diminish that in any way.

    I do have a problem with parliamentary resources being spent on it, but I don’t have a problem with political parties in Parliament campaigning for a CIR. I just think they should spend their own money to do it.

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  53. speters (108 comments) says:

    The comparison between numbers signing the petition and numbers pre-registering interest in the float is meaningless – I personally know several people who oppose the sale but will still buy shares if it’s going to go ahead.

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  54. David Farrar (1,853 comments) says:

    Just had a lawyer offer to do a private prosecution if the advertising return is over $50,000 or they do not include all their advertising costs.

    That will be fun – imagine the discovery!

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  55. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    That will be fun – imagine the discovery!

    David, do you actually think that these inveterate liars would faithfully comply with discovery obligations? The delete buttons and shredders would more likely go into overdrive and in fact, you may have already initiated that process.

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  56. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    That will be fun – imagine the discovery!

    I imagine your lawyer will tell you that:

    1) you don’t get to do discovery in a private prosecution.
    2) you have to disclose your information to them, and they don’t have to tell you squat.
    3) in prosecutions, information from the defendant is obtained via search warrants.
    4) private individuals can’t get search warrants any more.
    5) you can’t get a search warrant for a fine only offence anyway.

    David, do you actually think that these inveterate liars would faithfully comply with discovery obligations?

    I do! They won’t have any discovery obligations!

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  57. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    Heh. That will only encourage them to do another one!

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  58. stigie (894 comments) says:

    This is not a CIR [ Citizen Initiated Referendum ]

    This is a bloody SIR [ Socialist Initiated Referendum ] !!

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  59. OneTrack (2,579 comments) says:

    Pete George (16,721) Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 10:37 am

    And they are far too restrictive – the smacking question was ambiguous with different interests applying their own interpretation.

    No the smacking question was not in any way ambiguous. The referendum result just proved that most of the population weren’t sucked in by the left’s obfuscation and misdirection. That’s why they said it was “ambiguous” – because they didn’t get the answer they wanted.

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  60. OneTrack (2,579 comments) says:

    “Graeme Edgeler (2,780) Says:
    March 15th, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    Also – while the intent of the CIR Act is to allow people outside Parliament to make their voice heard, the use of it by people inside Parliament doesn’t diminish that in any way.”

    And I think just the opposite – the whole idea of CIRs have now been highly discredited with the rorting that the Greens and Labour have got up to around this whole thing. We obviously give the Green party too much money if they can afford to squander it like this. But, I guess, it’s just other peoples money so they don’t care.

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  61. RightNow (6,646 comments) says:

    CIR’s have been highly discredited since 1999:
    “One was on whether the number of Members of Parliament should be reduced from 120 to 99. Electors overwhelmingly voted in favour of the proposal, with 81.47% voting for this proposal.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_in_New_Zealand#1999_election

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  62. Pete George (22,768 comments) says:

    OneTrack – I don’t want to get back into an old argument, but the smacking question was awful. I believe the intent of most people was to give Parliament a strong message of disapproval, but I could have truthfuly answered it both ways. It was a a poorly worded question and didn’t come anywhere near the standard necessary to addresses the legislation properly.

    And it was much ado over principle rather practical application of law, the end result has been bugger all has changed, just the same as the end result of the Marriage Equality Bill is likely to be.

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  63. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Governments are not constrained in this country from purchasing assets. The need (almost by definition) to be free to sell them too. To me, this sale is about showing people that the sky does not fall when assets are sold so that in future, governments do not have to spend $100m in order to conduct what should be business as usual.

    Governments purchase assets with taxpayers’ money. So I think it’s only right that taxpayers have a say in the process, but that won’t happen under this government.

    As for the sky falling in – that’s a straw man. But future generations will have to pay for the increasing indebtedness which our illustrious leader will leave them. Of course, he will be long gone from politics when the shit hits the fan.

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  64. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    That will be fun – imagine the discovery!

    It would be more fun to learn who the government is paying more than $100 million to implement and promote asset sales.

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  65. All_on_Red (1,336 comments) says:

    Its obvious the greens and labour get far too much money if they can spend all this AND have spare resources to do the work.
    Cut their budgets I reckon

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  66. thedavincimode (6,529 comments) says:

    As for the sky falling in – that’s a straw man.

    No it’s not ross69. Selling down a minority interest in state assets could actually make the sky fall in.

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  67. ChardonnayGuy (1,131 comments) says:

    If Labour and the Greens want to seriously oppose the current government’s asset sales campaign, then they should elaborate their core capital gains tax fiscal policy and not undertake this referendum, given its considerable expense. It is disturbing to see our centre-left parties go down the same route of irresponsible plebiscite mongering that has bankrupted California.

    Perhaps there should be a multipartisan lobby group established to convince politicians to repeal the CIR Act 1993? Count me in, in that case. I have never trusted this as a political instrument.

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  68. ChardonnayGuy (1,131 comments) says:

    It would also be interesting for some legally conversant soul to pick through the CIR Act 1993 and highlight any loopholes or ambiguities in its drafting, for that matter.

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  69. Hair Removal Specialist (74 comments) says:

    $$$ need to be spent on “advertising”. While I think what the greens and labour are doing is completely unethical, it would be a stretch to say what they are doing is advertising.

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  70. UpandComer (506 comments) says:

    Ross 69 applies the same logic to breaking the law as the criminal who steals $100 from the till, it may be breaking the law but in relative terms ‘it’s a drop in the bucket’.

    That is classic Labour rationalisation of yet another instance of breaking the law.

    Looking forward to getting my share package.

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