Paul M in this thread made the following comment:
it's actually quite easy to see why The Standard reckons it costs nothing to run their blog, and, of course, who *really* pays for the blog.
www.thestandard.org.nz is hosted on a server at 220.127.116.11
A WHOIS on that IP address gives us:
inetnum: 18.104.22.168 – 22.214.171.124
descr: New Zealand Labour Party
It appears their server is hosted on an IP block purchased by THE NZ LABOUR PARTY from 2Day. Personally I'd find it incredibly unlikely for Labour to pay to put up a “blog” with comments from what would appear to be professional comms people (”spindoctors” posting propaganda) without said comms people also being paid by Labour, or perhaps one of their Labour-affiliated member unions.
Now I have verified this information. If you do a command line “ping www.thestandard.org.nz” it does indeed resolve to 126.96.36.199.
And if you go to APNIC and do a whois on that IP address, it does indeed confirm that IP address is in a block registered to the NZ Labour Party.
So it appears that The Standard is hosted by the NZ Labour Party. If this is the case, and the evidence is compelling, this raises real issues under the Electoral Finance Act.
I would suggest the blog's expenses could well qualify as party advertising, as a blog hosted by the Labour Party can not be considered non-commercial. They may be in breach of the law for not having a proper authorisation statement.
One also has to wonder who at Labour authorised the blog. One can't just use their IP address space without permission. You need to have the username and password for their account with 2day.com.
Many many questions. Hopefully some answers will be forthcoming.