Conservative Party candidates referred to Police

April 17th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has announced:

On 15 April 2013, the Electoral Commission referred Larry Baldock and Peter Redman, Conservative Party of New Zealand candidates at the 2011 general election, to Police for filing a false Candidate Election Expenses and Donations Return.

It is an offence under section 205N of the Erlectoral Act 1993 for a candidate to file a false return.

The Electoral Commission has also referred Larry Baldock for paying, or arranging another person to pay, election expenses in excess of the $25,000 maximum specified in section 205C of the Electoral Act 1993.  This is an offence under section 205F of the Act.

This is quite rare. Reading between the lines it looks like some election expenses were not declared, and in the case of Baldock those expenses would have put him over the $25,000 limit.

Baldock stood for Tauranga and got 1,512 votes or 4.2%. Peter Redman stood for Bay of Plenty and got 1,306 votes or 3.7%.

Peter Redman declared no donations and $42 of expenses.

Baldock declared a donation of $24,900 from the Conservative Party and $24,900 of expenses so I’d say it is about some sort of undeclared expense. Maybe it was a joint advertisement for Baldock and Redman and they attributed it all to the party, rather than to each candidate? We’ll find out in due course.

Of course the Police may do nothing, as is often the case. No Right Turn undiplomatically puts it like this:

Of course, we know what will happen: the police will take the complaint, and then forget about it, just as they have with virtually every other complaint referred to them by the Electoral Commission. The police simply don’t care about electoral law. If you steal a television, they’ll throw you in jail. Try to steal an election, and they ignore it.

As they did with Labour in 2005.

This is not the first time the Conservative Party has had issues with its returns. I blogged on these last May.

UPDATE: This NZ Herald story has more details on what may be the issue.

Also of interest to me is that Baldock got only 206 votes more than Redman despite Baldock spending the maximum $25,000 and Redman basically zero. This reinforces again to me that advertising has only a minor impact on votes.

A tale of two petitions

March 19th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged on the leaked comments showing that Labour, Greens and the unions spent probably around $400,000 (mainly taxpayer funded) on gaining enough signatures for their referendum petition.

I thought it would be useful to contrast that with the previous successful petition, on the smacking issue.

I e-mailed the organiser, Larry Baldock, on how they got enough signatures and they did it the old fashioned way. They didn’t use taxpayer money to hire people to collect signatures. Larry says:

My wife and I spent almost 16 months travelling around NZ almost 4 times, some of the time in a sign written camper van collecting signatures in towns and cities, at AMP shows, field days and any events like V8’s, home shows etc.  Many days on the beach at Mt Maunganui. Some elderly supporters, spent many days each week right through winter sitting at a table outside a Post shop and collected thousands of signatures.  There are many stories! 

Such a contrast to having 10 paid staff work on co-ordinating the petition and using taxpayer funding to pay people to collect signatures. What Larry and others did is what CIRs are meant to be about – the public petitioning Parliament. Not the losing parties in an election trying to over-ride the election result.

Now the smacking petition got their signatures and a referendum was held. The result was beyond over-whelming. In response to the question:

“Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?”

87% voted no. Now one can quibble that the use of the term “good” is a bit loaded, but anyone who seriously thinks the result would have been vastly different with deletion of that word is deluded.

The referendum was held at the end of a two year high profile debate on the anti-smacking law. It is silly to suggest that NZers did not know exactly what they were voting for.  Maybe a slightly differently worded question would have got say 80% in favour instead of 87%. But that result was a massive landslide, You just can not credibly suggest that there was not a majority against the ban on correctional smacking.

Also polls every year since the referendum has shown a vast majority think that the law should allow correctional smacking that is reasonable (the old law allowed reasonable force). Family First have released the 2013 one which Curia did for them. I think the question is quite fair. In full it says:

In 2007 Parliament passed a law that removes a defence of reasonable force for parents who smack a child to correct their  behaviour, but states the Police have discretion not to prosecute if they consider the offence was inconsequential. 

Do you think the anti-smacking law should be changed to state explicitly that parents who give their children a smack that is reasonable and for the purpose of correction are not breaking the law?

So the question include what the law change was, specifically mentions the inclusion of the Police discretion and asks if they think correctional smacking should be legal, if reasonable. Now I am sure some can and will quibble over exact wording but considering the results were 77% said yes and only 18% no I am utterly confident that any alternate wording would produce much the same result, so long as it wasn’t totally slanted (such as should parents be able to assault their children).

There can be no doubt that the majority of New Zealanders want correctional smacking to be legal, and there was a referendum that said so by a massive 7:1 margin.

Now one can have the view that a party’s policy should triumph over a non binding referendum. I certainly hold that view.

But what is absolute hypocrisy is to be a party that ignored the results of this 2009 referendum, and then two years later to then demand that the Government should break its election policy on the basis of the asset sales referendum.

What many do not know is that a bill was selected for first reading in Parliament in 2010, just a couple of weeks after the referendum result. The bill would have implemented the referendum result by amending the law so that:

it is no longer a criminal offence for parents, and those in the place of parents, to use reasonable force for the purpose of correcting their children’s behaviour and there are clear statutory limits on what constitutes reasonable force

The law was basically identical to what the referendum called for. Now how did Labour and Greens vote on this bill, just three weeks after the referendum? The voted it down (along with every other party except ACT) at first reading.

Now I think National should have voted for the bill, but at least National is consistent that their party’s policy over-rides a referendum result. They have never ever said that referenda should trump elections.

But the actions of Labour and Greens in 2010 show that they are happy to ignore referendum results – unless it is a result they personally agree with.

Their asset sales referendum is nothing to do with democracy. It is mainly a device for them to use taxpayers money to get people onto their e-mail and direct mail lists.

So every time Russell Norman or David Shearer demands that the Government should not proceed with asset sales due to the proposed referendum, someone should ask them when will they be voting to amend the Crimes Act to allow correctional smacking. There is no response they can give which isn’t hypocritical.

And we should change the law to stop parliamentary parties from spending their parliamentary resources on promoting a referendum petition. CIRs are meant to be initiated by citizens, not by the losing parties in an election campaign.

A referendum on referendums!

September 7th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Smacking referendum campaigner Larry Baldock wants a referendum, to run in conjunction with elections in 2011, on whether the results of referendums seeking repeal or amendment of any law should be binding.

The Kiwi Party leader and a leading organiser of the smacking referendum said the refusal of Prime Minister John Key to act on the result of that referendum raised questions about the abuse of executive power.

While I wish to see the law amended, and believe most of the public do also, the referendum was not a vote on repealing the anti-smacking law.

I, for one, would not vote in favour of repeal and returning to the old law.

I certainly would vote for amending the law, as outlined in the Borrows amendments in the Boscawen bill.

But the referendum did not specify that the law be repealed or amended. For Baldock’s proposal to work, the referendum would have to explicitly (instead of implicitly) state what law is to be repealed.

If we did have binding referenda, I’d be tempted to start one to get rid of the archaic criminal offence of blasphemous libel. Blasphemy should not be a crime – it should purely be an issue between a person and their church.

Electorate Polls

November 2nd, 2008 at 6:30 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged over on curiablog the results fo several recent electorate polls, including tonight’s one in Tauranga. The topline results are:

  • Tauranga – Bridges 26% ahead of Peters. Labour’s Pankhurst in 4th place at 5%. NZ First Party Vote down from 13% in 2005 to 6%.
  • Palmerston North – National candidate Malcolm Plimmer ahead by 3%
  • Ikaroa-Rawhiti – Parekura Horomia 5.4% ahead of Derek Fox
  • Nelson – Nick Smith 36% ahead of Maryan Street
  • West Coast-Tasman – Damien O’Connor 3.5% ahead of Chris Auchinvole
  • Te Tai Tonga – Maori TV/TNS has Mahara Okeroa ahead of Rahui Katene by 10% – 49% to 39%. However Marae Digipoll has Okeroa bejind by 6% – 40% to 46%
  • Hauraki-Waikato – Nanaia Mahuta ahead of Angeline Greensill by 0.6%

All three Maori seats held by Labour are highly competitive. In two seats Labour is ahead and in the seat with conflcitign results, an averaging of them out would see Labour ahead. This means that the Maori Party may not have much of an overhang at all – in fact they could even gain a List MP if they got 4% or so party vote.

Palmerston North is the only Labour held seat that a public poll has shown National ahead in, so far. Due to boundary changes Taupo and Rotorua are technically National’s on paper.

Based on boundary changes and public polls (and note this is not a personal prediction) the electorate seats would be:

  1. National 35
  2. Labour 28
  3. Maori 4
  4. ACT 1
  5. United Future 1
  6. Progressive 1

Labour will in one sense be very pleased to be ahead in all three Maori seats. However this does lessen their chances of winning via overhang.

And the Tauranga result is superb. With only 5% voting Labour on the electorate vote anyway, it means no amount of tactical voting in Tauranga can put Winston back in that way.

A 100 person poll in Tauranga

August 29th, 2008 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

Just been e-mailed a story from the Bay of Plenty Times. It is not online. They did a “snapshot survey” of 100 voters in Tauranga. Now 100 gives a 10% or so margin of error and it isn’t strictly scientific as it is of people who happened to be out on the streets. But as the results are so extreme, it is not without some news value. On the electorate vote, the responses were:

  1. Simon Bridges (Nat) 53%
  2. Undecided 18%
  3. Anne Pankhurst (Lab) 16%
  4. Winston Peters (NZF) 12%
  5. Larry Baldock (Kiwi) 1%

And this was done before Owen Glenn revealed Winston Peters solicited the donation from him!

I did not think it was possible to score third behind Anne Pankhurst, who is quite reviled in Tauranga due to her local body career. But he has done it.

And can the Kiwi Party stalwarts now shut up about how Larry may take the seat as a dark horse candidate.