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Bad politics

Written By: - Date published: 8:23 am, April 13th, 2008 - 89 comments
Categories: dpf, election funding, same old national, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

National’s current attempt to stop the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union from registering as a third party pretty much proves what we all knew. They have no interest in democracy.

Rather than accept the decision of the Electoral Commission and move on they’ve decided to appeal the decision and apply for an injunction to stop the EPMU from registering until a decision is made – something that could take several months and is designed to muzzle the fifty-thousand ordinary New Zealand workers the union represents.

Interestingly David Farrar has decided to out himself as the National party operative he is by providing evidence for National’s application. The irony is of course that David’s front-group, the Free Speech Coalition, registered as a third party unchallenged despite being funded by the same group of hollow men as the National party and David having considerable ties to the Nats himself. And fair enough, the EFA was never about stopping people campaigning but about making sure they had to do so transparently.

In my opinion National have fallen for their own spin and made a bad call. Bill’s attempts to scaremonger using the dreaded word “union” over the last couple of weeks have fallen on deaf ears. And there’s a reason for that: people are not scared of unions because they are voluntary and democratic organisations that do things like fight for 800 cleaners to get the deal they need to feed their families. Unfortunately for National, Bill still thinks people believe unions are full of smoky back-rooms and mobster types. That’s a bad call and shows how out of touch with New Zealand the National Party are.

This expensive litigation tells a story and that story is one of a political party that is supported by some of New Zealand’s wealthiest people demonstrating they are willing to spend a fortune in the courts to deny working New Zealanders a voice. In a year when National needs the backing of those working people to win the election that’s just bad politics.

As an aside I’d like to point out I made the call early this year that National would spend its huge war-chest on litigation in order to get around the EFA spending cap. I really thought they’d do it smarter than this.

89 comments on “Bad politics”

  1. ghostwhowalks 1

    Will there be the same interest in the court case over nationals ‘undemocratic’ candidate selection process in Rakaia ?

    The Aussie media ( only in their home market it seems) are usually all over labour when it comes to assorted goings on in pre selection of official candidates.
    The Rakaia selection has it all! Yet do we see David Carter persued through parliaments corridors till he confesses. Does the Herald run full page headlines over the attck on democracy

  2. mike 2

    This will see the union shed a few more members. I would be pissed off if my $6 bucks a week was going towards fighting a court case brought about by Labours shambolic EFA.

  3. randal 3

    TALK ABOUT SMALL…JUST TAKE YA SIX BUX, BUY A BOTTLE OF COKE AND A PIE, TAKE A WALK IN THE PARK, SIT UNDER A TREE AND THANK HEAVEN FOR SMALL MERCIES

  4. Anita 4

    It doesn’t seem like bad politics to me.

    If the Nats really want to test the EFA they’re much better to do so by challenging the unions then doing whatever the unions have proven if acceptable. No swing voter is going to care that they’re having a go at the unions. Plus, if they win they win, and if they lose they win as they can then set-up … I mean watch their allies set-up similar 3rd parties.

    For the Nats to have to defend an ally (or even stand aongside an ally defeding itself) is a much worse look with no chance of a big win, and a bad look if they were to lose.

    Anita

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Except Anita, the national party has been going on and on about the EFA is labour trying to muzzle free speech. Here they are appealing a decision that went the other way.

    If they were standing along side someone who was being told to shut up, it would fit their narrative. This one muddies that story line, because the have to sell the far more convoluted storyline that “We support free speech and that is why we are trying to get the Union to shut up, which is what the EFA really requires even though the ruling went the other way, which is why we are appealing it”.

    People who aren’t paying that level of attention will just see the Nats trying to get the EPMU to shut up. They see the Nat’s trying to limit free speech, and use the courts to get at their opponents. This goes 180 degrees against the narrative they have been selling. Far better to wait and see if any right wingers get in trouble, and then say “see we told you this was all about labour trying to muzzle it’s opponents”.

  6. Tane 6

    The vexatious legal challenge is bad enough, but it’s the request for an injunction that I find even more hypocritical. Silencing union members through an injunction does nothing to clarify the law – it has everything to do with National muzzling its opponents.

  7. IrishBill 7

    Anita, the issue is that the law has been tested and two high court judges have given the EPMU the green light to become a third party so the story is:

    1. National claims the EFA will stifle democracy by stopping the EPMU from becoming a third party.

    2. The decision is made – the EFA doesn’t stop the EPMU becoming a third party.

    3. National challenges decision and applies for an injunction to stop EPMU being third-party.

    It’s bad politics because National can no longer argue they are attacking the EFA. They are now clearly attacking working people.

  8. They are now clearly attacking working people.

    Using a tool crafted for them by Labour. For all that I hope National’s case fails, there’s a very rich irony in watching them using this law. Labour created it to try and prevent critics with money from publicising that criticism, and now here it is being used against Labour. Somehow I find my sympathy for the union rather diluted by this knowledge – unfair, but true.

  9. IrishBill 9

    Milt, the EFA was never about stopping critics with money publicising that criticism it was about making sure people knew where that money was coming from. Unions have always been upfront about who they are and who they represent in their election campaigning.

  10. Daveo 10

    I fear the media will either ignore this issue or give it the National party spin. National seems to get a free ride from the media on the EFA regardless of what they’re saying or doing.

  11. James Kearney 11

    if they lose they win as they can then set-up I mean watch their allies set-up similar 3rd parties.

    There’s nothing stopping National allies like Sensible Sentencing, Family First, the Brethren, John Boscawen, the Free Speech Coalition or the Business Roundtable from setting up as third parties and supporting National. Two of them already have.

    The EFA was never designed to stop partisan third party campaigns- it was designed to provide transparency on who each party is and where their funding is coming from, and to limit the amount any one group can spend.

    English lost the original challenge run by his proxy David Farrar so now he’s trying to misrepresent the intentions of the act and silence his opponents.

  12. r0b 12

    OK, pop quiz. Before you use Google to check – which NZ political commentator (while wrong about the interpretation of the law) wrote the following, strongly in favour of the EPMU’s right to free speech?:

    The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is an important institution in our society. … it is the largest private sector union in New Zealand, with more than 45,000 members, and focussed on all the political machinations in Wellington. …

    In any free society, a trade union advocating politically would be uncontroversial. The whole collapse of the Soviet empire began in 1980 over whether or not Lech Walesa’s Solidarity union should be able to be politically independent. …

    The law needs to return to parliament to be amended to make clear that the New Zealand trade union movement is allowed to be properly involved in our elections. Unlike the Labour Party, we shouldn’t be afraid we might be corrupted if the EPMU or anyone else drops pamphlets in our letterboxes.

    I hope that this same commentator will now come out just as vigourously opposed to National’s attempt to stifle the free speech of more than 45,000 working Kiwis.

    What irony it is. After all their fuss about the sanctity of free speech last year – who are the ones shutting it down? National are silencing journalists, and National are silencing working New Zealanders. Shame.

  13. hopefully this backfires on national and results in a huge increase in union membership when they see how national thinks of workers rights

  14. Monty 14

    Of Course National may well win (I hope they do) then will you lefties retract what you have said and say this is a bad law? Do not forget that tere will be a delicious irony if the EPMU / Labour lose. After all this is Labour’s legislation and National Voted against it..

  15. dave 15

    So your post means that you think Labour has no interest in democracy either, particularly as it has supported Nationals court action in fixing up its law.

    Anyway wouldnt it have been better for Labour to write law that was clear? Of course! So Irish Bill, dont be too upset at National going to the courts, you should be annoyed that Labour didn’t write clear law.

    Thats the real bad politics of it all.

    IrishBill says: The EC said the EFA didn’t stop the EPMU from putting its members’ interests forward. National is now saying it should. That’s double-speak and I’m sure they’ll pay for it.

  16. r0b 16

    So your post means that you think Labour has no interest in democracy either, particularly as it has supported Nationals court action in fixing up its law.

    Ahh Dave, I think you are a wee bit confused there. Labour has said that it does not oppose National’s legal proceedings to clarify some aspects of the law. But it does not support Nationals appeal of the decision that the EPMU can register as a third party (where National is brazenly hypocritical in its attempts to silence working Kiwis).

  17. dave 17

    I didnt say which part of National’s court action it supports, did I, so no, I’m not really confused at all. I`m certainly not cojfised wehn I say that it would have been better for Labour to write law that was clear in the first place.

  18. r0b 18

    OK Dave, you weren’t confused. So I guess your first sentence “So your post means that you think Labour has no interest in democracy either, particularly as it has supported Nationals court action in fixing up its law” makes no sense at all for entirely different reasons.

    It would have been better for Labour to write law that was clear in the first place

    They didn’t write a perfect law to be sure. But if they had, vested interests would still be challenging it, and we would still be having this conversation. Plus ca change.

  19. dave 19

    No youre wrong. If law is clear there is no need to go to court to clarify it. I thought that was pretty elementary to understand…

  20. r0b 20

    The bit that is giving me problems is “So your post means that you think Labour has no interest in democracy either” . Huh?

    National is the party with no interest in democracy, they are the ones trying to silence 45,000 working Kiwis. I thought that was pretty elementary to understand

  21. Milt, the EFA was never about stopping critics with money publicising that criticism it was about making sure people knew where that money was coming from.

    That was the stated intent, sure. Unfortunately, neither bill nor act look like that stated intent. They look more like an attempt to load the funding dice in favour of the incumbent. Labour deserve their arses kicked for that alone. Not to mention: the clowns that came up with this unsubtle scam might usefully have stopped to think that Labour won’t always be the incumbent – in three years time it might be the Nats strangling Labour’s funding while taking full advantage of publishing “policy information” (snigger) at taxpayers’ expense.

  22. dave 22

    where National is brazenly hypocritical in its attempts to silence working Kiwis
    Working kiwis are not silenced by National. Hahahaha. Practically any group of Kiwis can register as a Third Party. Do tell how “National is hypocritical in its attempts to silence working kiwis”.

  23. r0b 23

    in three years time it might be the Nats strangling Labour’s funding

    Is it a full moon or something? Now P.M is making no sense. How does the EFA strangle any party’s funding?

    publishing “policy information’ (snigger)

    Grow up. People need to be told about policies that affect them and resources that they are entitled to use. What use would KiwiSaver or Working for Families be if no one knew about them? Should we do away with expensive health campaigns like those addressing the issues of drink driving and domestic violence? Should we maybe, keep elections secret, so no one gets to vote? Public information campaigns are a vital part of what government departments do, and your “snigger” is the snigger of a foolish schoolboy.

  24. r0b 24

    Dave, I notice that you haven’t answered the question. When you wrote “So your post means that you think Labour has no interest in democracy either’ what were you talking about? Because I think you were entirely confused about the different legal processes going on.

    Do tell how “National is hypocritical in its attempts to silence working kiwis’.

    And we come full circle. Go back to the top of the thread and read the initial post. Read IrishBill’s comment of 2:35pm. It couldn’t be laid out much more clearly.

  25. dave 25

    Yes it could.. In terms my democracy comment I was merely stating that I think that Irish Bill thinks by implication that Labour has no interest in democracy. Of course I may be wrong, bur its not up to you to decide that, its up to IB.I did have another comment that somehow got wiped (nmust have been the captcha) It said that any subgroup of the 25000 working kiwis can register as a third party, so how is National silenceing working kiwis? Do tell, given that Ive answered your question.

    IrishBill says: oh dear Dave, you’ve tried to misrepresent my argument. That’s what people do when they are desperate and the right is obviously desperate to silence criticism on the issue of work rights don’t embarrass yourself by trying to claim black is white on this issue. You and other people of you unfortunate political ilk have nothing but disregard for working people. Why are you afraid to own that truth?

  26. Tane 26

    Dave, I’m genuinely having real trouble understanding your argument. Could you lay it out a bit more clearly?

  27. dave 27

    what part are you having difficulty with?

  28. Tane 28

    All of it.

    [captcha: Mr repititious]

  29. dave 29

    OK I`ll start with this bit, and lay it out a bit more clearly for you – and I`ll be real basic for you, given that you have difficulty in understanding what most people can comprehend

    Wouldnt it have been better for Labour to write law that was clear? Of course! So Irish Bill, dont be too upset at National going to the courts, you should be annoyed that Labour didn’t write clear law.

    Thats the real bad politics of it all.

    1. It is always good for government to write law that is clear and easy to understand. Then its citizens can know what to follow and what is outlawed, and authorities can correctly interpret the law. The EFA is unclear. If you don’t understand or agree with that, Tane, there is something wrong with you.

    2. If Labour had written clear law with regards to the EFA, people would be able to understand the law and its meaning. Therefore they would know what is within the law and what isnt. Therefore there would be no need to go to court to clarify this law. Given that the is misunderstanding, and Labour ministers have given confliciting opinions about the same points of law, there is need to seek clarification on that law. To do that the judiciary is the place to go to, so thats what National is doing, in part supported by Labour.

    Is that clear enough for you?

  30. Tane 30

    Dave, I’ll agree the EFA was poorly drafted in parts, but it’s pretty clear from the Electoral Commission’s ruling that the EPMU and other affiliated unions can register as third parties, just as the law intended.

    National should be overjoyed if they really care about free speech and democracy. But they don’t.

    Tell me, why else would National launch a judicial review to have the EPMU muzzled, and how does their application for an interim injuction help to clarify the law?

  31. r0b 31

    Dave, I’ve always been clear on that part of your argument.

    The bit that still puzzles me is: “So your post means that you think Labour has no interest in democracy either’ . What part of IrishBill’s post can be interpreted as meaning that Labour has no interest in democracy? And – “either”?

  32. dave 32

    Its clear that the Electoral Commission said that the EPMU can register as third parties. (Crown Law had a bigger role to play in that decision). But its not as clear that it was how the law intended, which is more the point. National is not muzzling the EPMU, it is clarifying the law. If it wanted to muzzle the EPMU and prevent it from registering as a Third Party it would have put up an amendment at the time to do so and would have failed. The fact that the EPMU is caught up in it is unfortunate. Theres a limit to the time you can waste in parliament to fix up crap law and in the end if the Government refuses to pass decent law, despite its 150 amendments after a select committee, amnd failing to pass decent amendments from Natinal at the time, because of political rather than legal reasons, then its off to court to get it clarified.

    We dont need to know what the law says, we need to know what it means.

  33. Tane 33

    Dave, let’s lay it out simply:

    1) Parliament always intended for unions, affiliated or otherwise, to be able to register as third parties.

    2) National tried to argue the EFA forbids the EPMU from becoming a third party.

    3) The Electoral Commission has found the wording of the Act does not prevent the EPMU from becoming a third party.

    So what exactly needs clarifying here? And how on earth does National’s application for an injunction to silence the EPMU until after the court case help to clarify the issue?

    And this is just stupid:

    If it wanted to muzzle the EPMU and prevent it from registering as a Third Party it would have put up an amendment at the time to do so and would have failed.

    That course of action would have been far too blatant, and besides I don’t think National planned that far ahead. This is an act of political opportunism, and any New Zealander who cares free speech and democracy will oppose it.

  34. dave 34

    >What part of Irish Bill’s post can be interpreted as meaning that Labour has no interest in democracy
    The same part that can be interpreted as meaning that National has no interest in democracy.

    And Tane, I think an injunction is a sensible decision from a legal perspective as if the EPMU is not allowed to register as a Third Party, it shouldn’t now. The flipside argument is that if it is, it should be – but because the law is so unclear, nobody really knows whether they should or shouldnt, therefore until the law is clarified we don’t know whether teh EC was correct.

    All this is the fault of Labour, not Parliament, and certainly not the EPMU. Your conplaint should not be the legal process that National has undetaken, but the lack of clarity of the law, but you appear to be too biased to communicate that view for fear that it could be sayihng something less than positive about Labour.

  35. r0b 35

    The same part that can be interpreted as meaning that National has no interest in democracy.

    Nope, Ok, I give up. National are the ones trying to silence the EPMU. National are the ones who have shredded even the pretence of “clarifying the law” by taking out injunctions. National are the ones with no interest in democracy. No part of IB’s post can be interpreted as meaning that Labour condones these things unless you are terminally confused (and then too small to admit it).

    Goodnight, Dave.

  36. Wayne 36

    It hasn’t gone unnoticed that National’s highly principled attempt to clarify the law also happens to silence one of their biggest opponents.

    Did they really think we were too stupid to notice?

  37. Dean 37

    “National are the ones with no interest in democracy.”

    Oh, for goodness sakes.

    You people really do draw a long bow, don’t you? Seriously, it’s like something out of a bad, bad movie.

    “National should be overjoyed if they really care about free speech and democracy. But they don’t.”

    You should be overjoyed that the Exclusive Brethren voiced their opinion at the last election. But! Shock horror! You’re not.

    Why? Because you’re terribly, horribly biased. Just like the National party. In fact, you people seem to yearn to take every opportunity you can find to denegrate the “chinless scarf wearers” in any way you can.

    Really, it’s kind of sickening to see these kinds of double standards (no, that’s not supposed to be a pun) from people who want to trumpet the cause of “democracy”. And all in response to a post from Irish “Uncle Tom” Bill… well. I think that about takes the proverbial cake.

    IrishBill says: The problem with the EB is they wanted to campaign without people knowing they were campaigning. The EFB stopped that. At no time have the unions disowned their campaigns. New Zealanders have the right to know who is trying to influence their decision to vote. That’s transparent democracy.

    On the issue of your attempt to smear me: try it again and I will ban you for a month.

  38. Dave – you are the dumbest fuck I have ever seen on these blogs bar D4J. You may not have noticed this but no other rightie is backing you ‘cos this is a lost cause. National have given up all pretense of caring for democracy or for working people with this attack and it’s so clear no-one but a sad little house-slave like yourself is willing to try to deny it. Get a life you fool and stop sucking up to the shitbags that are trying to fuck ordinary kiwis like me. You make me sick you fuckin quisling.

    [lprent: 'sod you can say exactly the same thing without the language. I'd suggest strongly that you tone it down. How many bans have the moderators given you recently? It is starting to attract my attention. You should also notice that dave has managed his end of the debate without doing anything to attract my attention in this mornings scan.]

  39. dave 39

    piss off Porton, you sick child and stop hassling and smearing me with your abusive language or perhaps the nice people at the Standard will ban you for good, you loser. Why do you think I refuse to engage with jerkoffs like you?

  40. Dean 40

    “On the issue of your attempt to smear me: try it again and I will ban you for a month.”

    Go ahead and permaban me, Irish. I’m sure your hypocrisy will continue unashamedly.

  41. Grow up. People need to be told about policies that affect them and resources that they are entitled to use.

    I look forward to seeing the same “grown-up” attitude displayed when a National govt is helpfully telling us about its policies with the taxpayer-funded message “You’re better off with National,” exempt from being counted against its election spend, while Labour struggles with having its party secretary financially at risk from every non-authorised message that anyone in the party gives anyone in the electorate. Tell you what though – I’ll cheerfully stop writing “snigger” after “policy information” if Labour will stop using policy information as free election advertising.

  42. Occasional Observer 42

    The Electoral Commission–staff of two, including the Communications Manager, neither of whom are lawyers–is not the definitive authority on electoral law. They merely offer advice. Decisions of the EC are not binding. This isn’t like going to the Inland Revenue Commissioner and asking for a ruling on tax law.

    The EC’s determination was based on Crown Law advice, which again is not infallible. It’s not unreasonable to go and test it in Court, and get a binding decision on third party applications. Crown Law stated that there were no issues with the EFB and the Bill of Rights Act, despite the Human Rights Commission taking the unprecedented position of calling on a Government bill to be scrapped, on the basis that it breached Bill of Rights and other core human rights principles.

    If you allow the EC’s determination to stand, then you are opening up the door for sham third parties to set themselves up to avoid spending caps. Act on Campus could register as a third party, and say they are merely affiliated to the Act Party, just as the EPMU is merely affiliated to the Labour Party. The SuperBlues could apply to be a third party, and say they are merely affiliated to the National Party. The WildGreens could register separately.

  43. Occasional Observer 43

    That’s a good point, PM.

    We learned from the Labour congress this weekend that Labour Party activists are being asked to distribute pamphlets from government departments, explaining Labour’s key policies, with propaganda on how Labour supports those policies and National opposes them. What a coincidence that the promotional material won’t count in Labour’s spending cap.

  44. Sorry Lynn – I’ll tone it down.

  45. gobsmacked 45

    Some idiot in the Labour Party needs a right bollocking this morning. I’m sick of the gun-aimed-at-foot stupidity around this issue.

    This may be cynical (hell, it IS cynical, I admit it) but in politics you follow the basic maxim: “If you don’t want it on the front page, don’t write it down”.

    Get your act together, people. National should be toast, but you’re too busy jamming your own fingers in the toaster.

    Labour will win on the issues that New Zealanders care about (see Cullen’s superb speech yesterday, listing dozens of achievements), or lose on the stupid distractions, the gifts they generously give the opposition (which includes the Herald).

    I recommend a line from that fine Australian film ‘The Dish’, where the PM talks to the aspiring candidate:

    “We have a saying in the party – don’t fuck up … (pause) … that’s it”.

  46. higherstandard 46

    GS

    I agree the election will be won on issues NZ’s care about one of which is an inherent dislike of what on the face of it appears to be an abuse of taxpayer money for political purposes.

  47. Billy 47

    Thank God we have the Labour Party protecting openness and transparency in the democratic process

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10503960

  48. IrishBill 48

    Yes Billy, very good off-topic link. But how do you feel about National trying to stop the EPMU from representing it’s members’ interests?

  49. Billy 49

    So on a thread about alleged abuse of electoral legislation, I can’t discuss its abuse by anyone other than those you want to talk about?

    You don’t want a blog, IB, you want a megaphone.

  50. Matthew Pilott 50

    Psycho Milt – I’d love the idea of National using government departments to advertise their policies. Can you imagine it?

    “You’re better off with National – why the 90-day bill will work for you, and why it’s easier to get a job because you can now be fired for no reason.”

    I’d do another, but National only have one policy. Oh wait:

    “You’re better off with National – why our boot camps will work despite best practice and international research showing involuntary boot camps are virtually useless.”

    So yeah, not likely there, and therein lies the rub for National, don’t you think?

  51. dave 51

    National is not stopping the EPMU from representing its members interests. Not all EPMU members are interested in breaking the law and campaigning to elect a Labour Government in work time using government department pamphlets – that were printed for other purposes – to do so.

  52. IrishBill 52

    No Billy, I want to know your view on National’s attempted injunction. As I understand it the advice to provide WWF materials to voters was brought up in an open meeting in front of media. I can’t see how that fits with the Herald’s secret agenda story.

  53. Occasional Observer 53

    Bill,

    Haven’t various right-wing organisations offered the your employer the right to use their authorisation on electoral spending?

    The Libertarianz aren’t going to spend all their cap. They believe in free speech, which is why they were the largest funders behind the Free Speech Coalition. Ask them for their authorisation to campaign.

  54. r0b 54

    I look forward to seeing the same “grown-up’ attitude displayed when a National govt is helpfully telling us about its policies with the taxpayer-funded message “You’re better off with National,’

    I think you may be confusing several different issues in that mess P.M. If you can show may an example of a government department (as opposed to the Labour Party) advertising “better off with Labour” then I’d be very interested to take a look. Otherwise, I’m not sure what relevance this has to the topic of government department advertising?

  55. IrishBill 55

    OO, I’m sorry but I don’t understand what you are talking about. Could you explain your comment more clearly?

  56. Billy 56

    Billy: So on a thread about alleged abuse of electoral legislation, I can’t discuss its abuse by anyone other than those you want to talk about?

    IB: No Billy…

    Full marks for honesty, IB.

    Here is what I think: Labour decided to make electoral law it’s plaything. If further evidence was needed, we now have them detailing a strategy (secret or not) to use the advantages of encumbancy in a quite cynical way. Add to this the Australian experience of the unions spending $10m to back Labor, and National have every right to think that Labour have used this law as nothing more thatn election tactic.

    The injunction is a natural consequence of Labour’s politicising electoral law.

    Labour drafted the law. It included the prohibition on those involved in running a political party from registering as a third party. So add ineptitude to their other shortcomings.

    And as for: “deny[ing] working New Zealanders a voice”, I thought this law didn’t curtail free speech, just the use of big money to do so. Or do we only run that line when it suits us?

  57. Billy 57

    “it’s plaything”

    Bugger. Misplaced apostrophe.

  58. IrishBill 58

    I won’t tell ‘Sod about the apostrophe.

    Ok Billy, Firstly full marks for decontextualising my words.

    Secondly, your points about the Aussie Unions’ election campaign and Labour writing self-serving law directly contradict each other. Surely if Labour wanted to write a law to serve itself it would not have allowed the unions to be capped to $120,000? (which, incidentally is much more that is spent on any union campaign I have heard of).

    Thirdly, the law was not about stopping money being spent but about capping how much could be spent and making sure who was spending it was not in doubt.

    And finally, National has tried to claim it is in favour of the EPMU campaigning but is injuncting it in order to stop it doing so. That’s a pretty big disconnect. I have no problem with National trying to muzzle workers. It’s pretty much what I expect of them. What I do have issues with is their attempts to claim they are the friends of working people while they are doing it. I also think it is bad politics because they need the votes of working people to win the election (and remember 370,000 of those working people are union members).

  59. insider 59

    Matthew

    If you want some catchy policy publicity why not these ones?

    your money is better off with Labour, as we know how to spend it much better than you do

    You’re better off with Labour if you like high itnerest rates, low house affordability, low productivity and lower wages.

    let’s not get too silly

  60. Steve Pierson 60

    insider. productivity is up, wages are up, and interest rates have been lower under Labour than National (I have a post on that for later in the day)

  61. r0b 61

    Billy: I thought this law didn’t curtail free speech, just the use of big money to do so. Or do we only run that line when it suits us?

    The law doesn’t curtail the EPMU’s free speech, as the Electoral Commission just ruled, based on an absolutely straight forward reading of the Act.

    None the less National is doing its best to challenge the law and try and twist it into a shape that could be used to curtail free speech. And adding legal injunctions to the mix, that have no other purpose at all.

    And you’re still here trying to blame the law? Pathetic. National are the ones trying to twist the law to silence 45,000 working New Zealanders.

  62. Occasional Observer 62

    Irishbill:

    Do you think the WildGreens should be able to register as a third party and campaign in parallel to the Greens? Do you think that Act on Campus should be allowed to do so, on ten different campuses, thus boosting the amount of money that Act can spend by $1.2 million?

    Because that’s what the law, as interpreted by the Electoral Commission, is saying by allowing an organisation affiliated to the Labour Party, such as the EPMU, to do.

    This makes a total farce of the government’s stated intention to get rid of parallel campaigning. It makes a farce of spending limits by political parties if two people heavily involved with a political party can set up a third party and increase their spending cap accordingly.

    I note that you seem to be cranky that National is seeking a declaration on this from the Court. I haven’t heard you say anything about National getting clarity from the Court on the definition of parliamentary purposes in a separate action–although because that bit of litigation is being encouraged by the Labour Party, it defeats your claim that National’s using its war-chest to tie up opponents in litigation.

    Nice seeing you all at Chow the other night.

  63. IrishBill 63

    OO, the EFA doesn’t allow Act on campus or branches of the labour party or any wholly subsidiary part of a political party to register as a third party. You seem to have misinterpreted the interpretation by the electoral commission. In exactly the same way Bill English and DPF have misinterpreted them.

    Your second point relies on the false information in your first for it’s validity and so is also false.

    And your point about me being cranky? Well I have to say that when I heard National was doing this I was stoked. I imagine the EPMU will take this opportunity to point out exactly what National think of Kiwi workers. Like I said bad politics.

    I’ve eaten at chow once in my life and it was over a year ago. If you did see me there last night I would be astounded. Tell me, are you trying to imply you are stalking me or was that a misguided attempt at friendliness?

  64. dave 64

    IB

    why arent you as concerned about the lack of clarity of this law to at least the same extent as your concern of National’s court action?

  65. Ari 65

    The EFA was never intended to get rid of paralell campaigning. Merely to make it accountable, and to assign it its own spending limits.

    The law is also pretty clear that groups like Act on Campus or Rainbow Labour or so on are not eligible third parties. I cannot see the Electoral Commission taking any such application seriously.

    The EPMU is very, very different to a party organisation. Denying them the chance to register would be like denying the Business Roundtable because of its ties to National, or denying Greenpeace because of its shared principles with the Green Party.

  66. dave 66

    .. except that the BRT and Greenpeace members are not given automatic membership opf a political pary and their officials dont have a governing role in any political party, nor do these organisations campaign for a poltical party, nor are they taxpayer funded.

    Ari quit while you`re behind…or chatch up

  67. Tane 67

    Dave:

    a) Affiliated union members are not automatically members of the Labour Party. They have voting rights in the party though due to their affiliation, if they choose to use them.

    b) The role of affiliates vice-president is elected by the affiliates and represents in an individual capacity the interests of all affiliates on the NZ Council, not the VP’s particular union.

    c) Unions are not taxpayer funded.

    d) ‘chatch up’???

  68. dave 68

    every EPMU member is automatically a Labour Party member should they wish to take it up – entitlement is automatic – you join the EPMU and you join Labour effectively. Okay taxpayer funded was a bitOTT- but teh PSA – and any other union whose mambers are primarily public servants – is government funded given that all members are public servants whose salaries – and union fees – are paid for by the state.

  69. hmm 69

    Irish Bill said:

    “OO, the EFA doesn’t allow Act on campus or branches of the labour party or any wholly subsidiary part of a political party to register as a third party. You seem to have misinterpreted the interpretation by the electoral commission. In exactly the same way Bill English and DPF have misinterpreted them.”

    Where does the EFA say that wholly subidiary parts are not allowed. All the EFA says in section 13 is that parties are ineligible to register. Parties are defined as those parties registered under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993. The New Zealand Labour Party is registered – therefore cannot register.

    Young Labour is not registered as a party under the Electoral Act. It is itself an unincorporated body which I imagine has its own rules and or constitution. It is therefore not a party registered under the Electoral Act AND because it is an unincorporated body it is not a natural person which means according to the EC’s determination that only natural persons can be ineligible because of involvement in the party that Young Labour would have to be registered as a third party.

  70. Tane 70

    Dave, grasping at straws.

  71. …is government funded given that all members are public servants whose salaries – and union fees – are paid for by the state.

    So, if you and a bunch of other people employed by private enterprise organisations form a club, that club is “funded by private business interests” – because that’s who’s paying all your salaries? I don’t think so. What you do with your salary is your business, not your employer’s.

  72. Matthew Pilott 72

    Dave – the PSA is state funded is it?

    If five public servants who were union members went to the pub would you say that their drinking session was state funded?

    What if someone worked for the PSA, was a union member and then used their income to pay for New Zealand citizenship!!! That would be out and out vote buying wouldn’t it!?!

  73. Billy 73

    r0b: None the less National is doing its best to challenge the law and try and twist it into a shape that could be used to curtail free speech.

    My point was, on the Labour Party’s previous argument, if this happened, the people’s free speech wouldn’t be curtailed, just the money they used to buy that free speech. Only you guys seem to abandon that as a defensible position when the free speech being curtailed is that which argues your position.

  74. r0b 74

    Billy – I was phrasing the debate in the same language that the Right has been using on this issue. Language is a two edged sword, don’t you think?

    If we are agreed that the fevered language and framing of the Right on the EFA as a “free speech” issue is inappropriate, then I will happily rephrase my comment more precisely. Are we agreed?

  75. dave 75

    If five public servants who were union members went to the pub would you say that their drinking session was state funded?

    GIven that Ive been a public servant and a PSA member, yeah, it would be state funded, particularly if the bar tab was paid for by the employer, as it often is.

  76. Billy 76

    Either we’re at cross purposes r0b, or I am really dumb. What are you on about, girl?

    At the great risk of labouring my point, I am saying that Labour’s argument has been that no-one’s free speech is curtailed by placing restrictions on how much money they can spend broadcasting that speech. If that is true, the EPMU’s speech is not being restricted. If it’s not true, you have to admit that free speech is being restricted by the Act (albeit, you might well say, for a greater good).

  77. So Dave – it’s my taxes that pay your wages. The thought of you spending your time posting right-wing filth on my dime is almost enough to make me vote tory just to see your lazy stupid arse get downsized.

    Billy – well done. You’ve picked up on a small rhetorical paradox. Now while you’re on a roll how about telling me whether you think people should be able to spend more than $120k to influence your vote and whether they should be able to do so in a way that means you will never know who they are or what their interest in doing so is?

  78. Billy 78

    ‘sod, are you just going to leave that “I am really dumb” alone?

  79. dave 79

    Robinsod, you child, hahahahahahahaha, you really are a loser, the best that you an hope for is to die in your sleep..

    [lprent: dave: I didn't give you a license to go childish either. You were doing quite well without this comment.]

  80. Billy 80

    I am glad I picked up on the paradox, because, reading r0b, I thought I was missng soemthing.

    The problem is that, if you restrict everyone else to $120k and then instruct your MPs on how to get the most out of the use of taxpayers’ money you are kind of leaving yourself open to the charge that you are manipulating electoral law to your best advantage.

    For more, see what the below member of the rabid member of the kiwiblog right has to say:

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-i-cant-support-labour.html

  81. Dave – I’ll outlive you no worries. Especially if you continue to refuse to take your pills.

    Billy – yes, yes, yes you’ve shown you can use irony now why not show you can answer my question without misdirecting.

  82. Billy 82

    The problem is not my answer. It is that you have asked the wrong question.

    The question should be about the fairness of the electoral system. It is invalid to pick out the parts of that system which suit your argument, and scream “misdirect” every time someone points out you’re missing something.

    If I am just not allowed to factor in the $47m a year that the government spends telling its story (and the fact that the government has instructed its MPs on how to use this to the best advantage of the Labour Party), then your question is unworthy of an answer. It will prove what you set out to prove, but only because it was only looking at a corner of the problem.

  83. Whatever, Billy. I should learn not to expect a straight answer from you.

  84. Billy 84

    OK. But we agree I win, right?

  85. Oh good lord. If it makes you happy then yes Billy you win. You are dead right it is indeed a good thing that National are stopping unions from campaigning. OK???

  86. Billy 86

    Well, at least that’s settled, then.

  87. AncientGeek 87

    hmmmmmm:

    Young Labour is not registered as a party under the Electoral Act. It is itself an unincorporated body which I imagine has its own rules and or constitution. It is therefore not a party registered under the Electoral Act….

    You are correct as far as my reading of the act goes. But you miss the point. A lot of the provisions of the EFA are about transparency and public accountability. If you campaign, then you cannot do it covertly and you must account for the full electoral period.

    We’re in April now, and as far as I can see, all major and most of the minor parties have been running some sort of campaign already. Under the old act this wouldn’t have had to be accounted for. It is probably 6-7 months to elections. This is what happened in 2005, but only the last 3 months in that campaign were accounted for, and very little was transparent.

    So far it looks like the act is doing exactly what was intended. Transparancy and accountability for the full election campaign

  88. r0b 88

    Either we’re at cross purposes r0b, or I am really dumb. What are you on about, girl?

    Cross purposes Billy, you don’t seem to be dumb. And bravo for not assuming that I’m male.

    At the great risk of labouring my point, I am saying that Labour’s argument has been that no-one’s free speech is curtailed by placing restrictions on how much money they can spend broadcasting that speech.

    Correct, if the restriction is $120,000.

    If that is true, the EPMU’s speech is not being restricted.

    Ahhh no, because the Nats are trying to set the limit for the EPMU at effectively $0, by denying them the right to register as a third party.

    So, spend $120,000, free speech not curtailed. Spend $0 curtails the free speech of an organisation of 45,000 people. Spot the difference?

    Now, it’s true that I am being deliberately provocative in framing this in the same language – “restricting free speech” – that the Right used in attacking the EFA (two edged sword). I’m happy to use less emotive language if we are agreed that the language used by the Right on this issue has been cynically and hysterically emotive.

    But whatever language we use, it is the case that EFA doesn’t meaningfully restrict the speech of (most) individuals or organisations up to a limit of $120,000. But the Nats are trying to twist it so that it does restrict the free speech of the EPMU, and also using another legal tool, the injunction, to the same end. Shame on them.

  89. higherstandard 89

    Congratulations to the Prime Minister on doing the right thing.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10504166

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    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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