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Davey gets it wrong again

Written By: - Date published: 3:57 pm, April 4th, 2008 - 78 comments
Categories: dpf, election 2008, election funding, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

David Farrar’s latest political campaign on behalf of the National Party has, like so many of them before, foundered on the sharp rocks of reality.

In an attempt reminiscent of the ramshackle PR fiasco that was the Free Speech Coalition, DPF tried to get the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union’s application for third party status declined, a move that to use the words of EPMU national secretary Andrew Little was:

a thinly-veiled attempt by a well-known National Party activist to suppress the views of the EPMU’s fifty thousand members

Today the judgment has come back that he is in fact wrong and the EPMU is free to represent its members’ views in political debate – something National will be very worried about given its policies on workers’ rights.

Now Davey may be down, but he’s not out (or at least he doesn’t think he is). Instead he’s claiming the decision is wrong and that it:

undermines one of the stated intentions of the Electoral Finance Act, which is to stop parallel campaigning

The only problem is the EFA was never about stopping “parallel campaigning” but about making it transparent and setting spending limits in order to preserve the integrity of the party spending cap.

Now Davey may rant on that:

National could start a group called “Wellington needs National’

I doubt that’s possible given it would be a wholly subsidiary group, but even so, under the EFA they would have to do so transparently.

And as Davey knows from the reaction to the FSC’s donor list and the outing of the Brethren last election, that sort of campaigning is viewed very cynically by the electorate and is certainly counter-productive.

78 comments on “Davey gets it wrong again”

  1. r0b 1

    Hey Burt! Wadda ya know, perhaps I’m a lawyer after all:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1226#comment-20340

    Anyway, good sensible outcome, common sense prevails.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Excellent I expect this will open the floodgates for multiple third parties, left right and centre I expect, to register leading into the election to get their points across – should be most amusing.

    Probably also introduces a suitable loophole for the larger parties to overspend via liaisons with the third parties !

  3. big bruv 3

    Irish

    Are you that arrogant that you think the all 50,000 members of the EPMU support Labour?

    IrishBill says: Where did I say they did?

  4. IrishBill 4

    HS, I suspect that the section of the act that deals with collusion would cover that but as I’m not a lawyer I couldn’t say for sure and I’m not willing to play bush-lawyer unlike our KB friend.

  5. Steve Pierson 5

    Higherstandard. There is no problem with there being lots of third parties – the point is that people will now know who is behind the poltiical ads they see and who is funding them.

    Read the Act, parties can’t set up wholly subsidary groups to game the spending limits.

  6. ghostwhowalks 6

    But isnt the requirement for a campaign that says Wellington Needs national to then include its spending with national anyway !

    This was nationals dilemma last time with the EB, who wanted to say Don brash for PM but National knew they would be included with their spending cap so pointed them in the direction of campaigning ‘against’ labour/Greens

    So Wellington needs national ( Financial agent DPF ?) would have to campaign against everybody else.

    Im actually looking for the court challenge to the Selwyn nomination process to come up for a hearing 12 weeks out from the election when all sorts of national party dirty linen will be aired in public ( and not subject to defamation laws)

    I wonder who is funding Paynes court costs and where can we donate

  7. r0b 7

    Excellent I expect this will open the floodgates for multiple third parties, left right and centre I expect, to register leading into the election to get their points across – should be most amusing.

    Floodgates? Multiple third parties can already register HS, and should if they want to. What’s amusing about that?

    Probably also introduces a suitable loophole for the larger parties to overspend via liaisons with the third parties !

    You seem pleased about the possibility of evading the intent of the law HS, is that right? It was exactly National evading the intent of the law in 2005 that motivated this whole review of electoral law in the first place. And you want to start it all again?

    http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2006/11/corrupt-practice.html

    The Hollow Men alleges that National failed to maintain a proper separation between donors and politicians, and allowed big donors to remain anonymous despite knowing their identities:

    Hager names top New Zealand businessmen and women as the principal donors to National’s 2005 election campaign, including Alan Gibbs, Barry Coleman, Craig Heatley, David Richwhite, Diane Foreman, Doug Myers, Michael Friedlander, Peter Shirtcliffe, Rod Deane, Colin Giltrap, and Michael Horton.

    According to the book, donations were made anonymously through the Waitemata Trust, one of a series of secret trusts that gave substantial sums to National at the last election.

    Hager’s book alleges that Brash and his key advisors were in regular contact with the donors and regularly sought their advice on policy and strategy as well as soliciting funding from them.

    There’s a name for this: it’s called a corrupt electoral practice. Section 214G of the Electoral Act 1993 requires party secretaries to file an annual return of donations, including the name and address of each person donating over $10,000 a year, or just the amount if the donation is anonymous. In order to be considered “anonymous” for the purposes of the Act, both candidates and party administrators must be unaware of the donor’s identity (s3(1)). Knowingly making a false return is a corrupt electoral practice and carries a penalty of one year’s imprisonment and a $20,000 fine. And from the above, it seems that people in National have been knowingly making false statements, falsely claiming their donors are anonymous while knowing full well who they are and what they want, and using the trusts essentially to launder donations to hide this fact from the public.

    No doubt some groups will try and evade the EFA. But my suspicion is that there will be a whole lot more scrutiny this time round, and that such tricks will backfire badly.

  8. big bruv 8

    Ghost

    You may well be looking forward to the court challenge, meanwhile the rest of us CANNOT WAIT for the Philip Field court case.

    If it’s dirty linen you want then Field will provide that in spades, it is going to be so much fun, I can only hope that he calls dear leader to give evidence, seeing her in the dock would remind all Kiwi’s of her shady dealings.

  9. Tim 9

    Yup – think Kiwiblog counted its chickens before they hatched today.

    But hasn’t DPF got the guts of the decision wrong?

    He said “The Electoral Commission has decided that only natural persons (individuals) rather than legal persons (which includes organisations) can be found to be ineligible to be registered as third parties, and has approved the third party registration of the EPMU.”

    But that’s doesn’t sound correct, presumably organisations can still be found to ineligible to register on the grounds set out in s13(2)(a) – (e), the decision only relates to s13(2)(f)(i).

  10. r0b 10

    But hasn’t DPF got the guts of the decision wrong?

    Yes he has. Are you surprised?

  11. higherstandard 11

    SP ROB

    Your moral outrage is admirable – without doubt the EPMU will act as a mouthpiece for Labour I expect there will be just as many others on all sides of the spectrum who will do the same thing and to expect that none of these will not be parroting the larger parties policy and cant is naive.

    Re corrupt elctoral practice – Yes naughty National raising private rather than public money to fund the electioneering.

  12. Tim 12

    I can’t wait for the Taito Philip Field case either. The guy is a disgrace, and I think you’ll find that unions (and Andrew Little in particular) were the first ones to denounce him.

  13. Daveo 13

    without doubt the EPMU will act as a mouthpiece for Labour

    Yeah HS- just like they did yesterday – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0804/S00076.htm

  14. r0b 14

    without doubt the EPMU will act as a mouthpiece for Labour

    I think it’s more likely that the EPMU will act as a mouthpiece for the EPMU actually.

    I expect there will be just as many others on all sides of the spectrum who will do the same thing and to expect that none of these will not be parroting the larger parties policy and cant is naive.

    Huh? Of course some third parties are generally aligned with some political parties. Is this supposed to be a surprise?

    Re corrupt elctoral practice – Yes naughty National raising private rather than public money to fund the electioneering.

    I think you’ll find that National did plenty of electioneering on public money HS. As well as that which they did on laundered “anonymous” money. As well as that which they negotiated with the Exclusive Brethren.

  15. Steve Pierson 15

    Tim. Farrar’s complaint was rejected on the grounds that the section he complained about applies only to nautral persons, but that’s not to say the Commission wouldn’t have rejected his complaint on other grounds or that other sections don’t apply to legal persons too.

  16. higherstandard 16

    rOB

    I’d be very careful of accusing National of laundering money.

  17. r0b 17

    OK, HS, ummm – sure – thanks for that.

  18. Daveo 18

    HS- how do you explain the $2m filtered through secret trusts?

  19. As No Right Turn points out http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2008/04/freedom-of-speech-1-dpf-nil.html
    the point of David Farrar’s complaint was to use it to attack the legislation whichever way the decision went. His cynical complaint should be for what it was. But it’s even more cynical than that – it was National (and Farrar) who vigerously opposed the amount of third party spending in the orgional bill (of $12,000). Labour increased the third party spending limit to $120,000, in part as a result of the pressure that came on from Farrar and friends. David is now outraged that this could result in “parallel campaigning” with groups setting up and spending $120,000.

    We’ll of course they can – it was a key component of the campaign that Farrar was running against the EFA. David is being inconsistent with a key component of his former arguments.

    This is from David’s own submission:

    20) The low limit on third party advertising, especially in light of the year long period, will muzzle groups from being able to have their message effectively communicated.
    103) The limit of $60,000 is so low that it represents an assault on freedom of speech
    108) The activities of the Exclusive Brethren are cited as justification for these draconian limits. However the major fault of the Exclusive Brethren was their lack of transparency over their activities.
    111) There is however a case for some limits on third parties, as political parties have a limit. The combined limit of party and candidate and broadcasting expenditure for a political party is around $5 million (Labour spent $4.6 in 2005). A limit of 5% of this or $250,000 for the last 90 days would seem reasonable. If the regulated period is longer than 90 days then this should be increased greatly.

    Cynical – you bet!

  20. Chemist Peter 20

    IrishBill says: you were banned until the 8th. You posted again and I warned you further attempts to post would result in a longer ban. You are now banned until the 15th.

  21. higherstandard 21

    Daveo

    From the Ministry of Justice website

    The nature of money laundering

    Money laundering involves transforming money from crime (“dirty money”) into money that (a) has the appearance of coming from a legitimate source, and (b) makes the criminal origin of the money difficult to trace (“clean money”).

    Effective money laundering enables criminals to remove themselves from their criminal activities, making it is harder to prosecute them, and confiscate their proceeds. Laundering money also enables criminals to enjoy the benefits of their crimes including investing their profits for future criminal activity.

    There are three stages to laundering money:

    Placement: placing cash proceeds from crime into the financial system. For example, depositing the cash proceeds in a bank.
    Layering: splitting the criminal funds into various deposit accounts to hide their origin.
    Integration: withdrawing the layered funds and bringing them back together in one account or multiple accounts so that they appear legitimate.

    I repeat be very careful when accusing anyone of laundering money

  22. Jimmy 22

    [Jameson, just so you can stop wasting your time: the block is on your IP address as well as your other details. get lost. SP]
    [lprent: With pleasure. Jameson was starting to get on my nerves – all that self-pity and whining. ]

  23. dave 23

    refer section 111 of teh EFA

    can anyone tell me whether a third party is liable for any offences under the EFA now if such bodies are not “persons” –

  24. Ari 24

    Dave- that depends on whether the section outlining the specific offense refers to a legal person/body or a natural person. The bill is pretty enormous, so I’m not going to trawl it and look for you. It should be relatively easy to check though now that “person” has been defined as a natural person by the EC.

  25. dave 25

    Ari,
    No section of law specifies wherhere a “person” is a natural or legal person. If it did why on earth would DPF have gone to the electoral commission in the first place?

    Given that section 111 refers to a person, and has been defined as natural person in crown law, it is safe to assume that section 111 does not criminalise third parties per se.

    In s137 a principal means a Third Party. Such Third Parties are liable for offenses. Third Parties are either liable for offences or they are not.

    So, are they or not,Ari? KLet’s see you defend that?

    IrishBill says: under the EFA it is the authorising agent or in the case of a political party the financial agent that is responsible for breaches of the act. Just like it has always been.

  26. Any chance of an apology Ari? I have many faults, but “lying for dramatic effect” (your words) isn’t one of them

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/04/parallel_campaigning_made_easier.html#comment-430121

  27. dave 27

    Irish Bill, Did you not read my comment? s137 states third parties are liable for offenses, you commented that authorising agents are. True, but under s137 so can Third parties. Such Third Parties are liable for offenses. Third Parties are either liable for offences or they are not. In s111 they are not, in s137 they are. You’re telling me that authorising agents are responsible ” just like it always has been”

    Thats not what the Act says, does it?

  28. IrishBill 28

    IV2, I have followed you claim on KB and can only confirm that neither the standard or anybody associated with it have received any communication from the electoral commission. I understand Cameron has claimed he has laid a complaint but so far we have heard nothing of it. As far as we are concerned there is no evidence of any complaint against us.

  29. dave 29

    .. implying that JUST individuals are liable under that section, when clearly they are not..

  30. r0b 30

    Hey Higherstandard, looks like I’ll have good company in the dock when I’m brought up on charges. Here’s a Pete Hodgson press release:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0609/S00262.htm

    Over 92 per cent of National’s 2005 election spend-up was financed through blind trusts. Around two-thirds of National’s funding or $1.2 million was laundered through the National Party operated Waitemata Trust under the name of Robert Browne

    So me and Pete both reckon that National laundered money. Make sure you send Pete one of your cease and desist comments too eh?

    Also – just checking – did you ever call anyone up on the claim that Labour stole taxpayers money? If not – why not?

  31. IrishBill 31

    Dave, you could be onto something. I suggest you ring a lawyer immediately! It’s Friday night and I can’t be arsed looking at the act and I am not a lawyer (thank god). Goodnight.

  32. r0b 32

    And this time with proper tags:

    I repeat be very careful when accusing anyone of laundering money

    Hey Higherstandard, looks like I’ll have good company in the dock when I’m brought up on charges. Here’s a Pete Hodgson press release:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0609/S00262.htm

    Over 92 per cent of National’s 2005 election spend-up was financed through blind trusts. Around two-thirds of National’s funding or $1.2 million was laundered through the National Party operated Waitemata Trust under the name of Robert Browne

    So me and Pete both reckon that National laundered money. Make sure you send Pete one of your cease and desist comments too eh?

    Also – just checking – did you ever call anyone up on the claim that Labour stole taxpayers money? If not – why not?

  33. Fair enough Bill – my beef isn’t with you. But when the Comms Manager at the Electoral Commission confirms that the EC is dealing with Cameron Slater’s complaint, which dates back to January 2008, that’s good enough for me. I’m sure that had Ari made that accusation (lying) against me on The Standard, a fair-minded fella such as yourself would have come to my defence! Have a good evening sir!!

  34. Razorlight 34

    You people just don’t get it do you.

    One of the main criticsms of this Act was the uncertainty of it and the confusion that would prevail if it was pushed through in the fashion it was.

    What do we have now? Huge debate only 3 months into the electoral year over what the act says. It may be partisan debate but if it was good law the debate wouldn’t exist at all.

    But the proof that this law is possibly one of the worst pieces of legislation ever passed is the fact that the writers of it have already breached it.

    You may believe its intentions are good but the stark reality is, there is complete confusion out there on both sides.

  35. Dean 35

    Rob:

    “I think you’ll find that National did plenty of electioneering on public money HS.”

    But, of course, nowhere near the same amount as Labour. Not even close. Still guilty as charged of course, but if they’re guilty, Labour are too.

    “As well as that which they did on laundered “anonymous’ money.”

    So did Labour. What’s your point here?

    “As well as that which they negotiated with the Exclusive Brethren.”

    The HORROR. The abject HORROR of it all! Then again, you are a member of a party which chose to call them chinless scarf wearers so I suppose I shouldn’t expect you to do anything but repeat the party mantra.

  36. r0b 36

    But, of course, nowhere near the same amount as Labour. Not even close. Still guilty as charged of course, but if they’re guilty, Labour are too.

    No one is guilty Dean, because they are allowed to campaign on public money. The allocation of public funding is based on the proportion of vote in the last election (I think, someone please correct me if I’m wrong), and while Labour’s was largest National’s was still substantial.

    “As well as that which they did on laundered “anonymous’ money.’
    So did Labour. What’s your point here?

    Ahh, no, Labour did not use shell trusts as a front for laundering supposedly anonymous donations.

    “As well as that which they negotiated with the Exclusive Brethren.’
    The HORROR. The abject HORROR of it all! Then again, you are a member of a party which chose to call them chinless scarf wearers so I suppose I shouldn’t expect you to do anything but repeat the party mantra.

    Don’t recall saying it was HORROR Dean, just that it happened. And I’m not responsible for every dumb comment made by Labour ministers (and yes there have been a few).

  37. higherstandard 37

    rOB

    Yes it is amazing what politicians can get away with saying. If you’re suggesting that the Mational campaign trust were transforming money from crime (‘dirty money’) into money that (a) has the appearance of coming from a legitimate source, and (b) makes the criminal origin of the money difficult to trace (‘clean money’)I guess they are guilty of laundering – I disagree with your position however.

    Is Pete Hodgson still Labour party strategist ? If he’s as impressive on the strategy front as he was as Minister of Health Labour are sure to romp home come November.

    Captcha (that inquest) Yes I’m sure there’s more to come on the Hawkes Bay District Health Board fiasco as well.

  38. r0b 38

    I disagree with your position however

    Fine, we disagree.

    Is Pete Hodgson still Labour party strategist ?

    Dunno, I’m not that close to the inner circle. I think so.

    If he’s as impressive on the strategy front as he was as Minister of Health Labour are sure to romp home come November.

    Well he’s 3 for 3 from his last 3 elections, so he can’t be terrible eh?

    By the way Higherstandard, did you ever call anyone up on the claim that Labour stole taxpayers money? If not – why not?

  39. Pascal's bookie 39

    Dean, it’s “not even close” only if you choose to arbitrarily only count the 3 months prior to the election.

    National had already been campaigning for 6 months or more by that stage and had already blown their taxpayer funded budgets. This was quite deliberate, they knew they still had the “no Brash, no Cash” money, and they knew the EB would be spending around a million bucks helping to elect National.

    Have you read the hollow men Dean? If not you should, I certainly would if it was about Labour.

  40. higherstandard 40

    rOB

    Not sure what you are on about regarding Labour stealing taxpayer money from memory according to the Auditor General they overspent last election.

  41. Dean 41

    Rob:

    “Ahh, no, Labour did not use shell trusts as a front for laundering supposedly anonymous donations.”

    Please define laundering in this context.

    “Don’t recall saying it was HORROR Dean, just that it happened. And I’m not responsible for every dumb comment made by Labour ministers (and yes there have been a few).”

    Then why did you mention it in the first place? Obviously you think the Nats negotiating or dealing with the Brethren has some relevance or you would never have mentioned it in the first place. “Just that it happened” makes as much sense as me mentioning the whole “by definition I cannot leak” debacle over the Doonegate affair and then trying to play neutral when I’m called on it.

    You’re better than that, Rob.

  42. r0b 42

    Not sure what you are on about regarding Labour stealing taxpayer money from memory according to the Auditor General they overspent last election.

    What I’m getting at HS is that it’s common parlance on right wing blogs (and for right wing commenters here) to claim that Labour “stole taxpayers money” at the last election, and I don’t recall you ever batting an eyelid. But when I claimed that National “laundered money”, you got all macho on warning me not to be so wicked. I was just wondering why one set of behaviour was OK and the other wasn’t.

    Are you a member of the National Party by any chance HS?

  43. Dean 43

    Pascal:

    “Have you read the hollow men Dean? If not you should, I certainly would if it was about Labour.”

    I’ve read it, yes.

    I’ve also read his book about “corngate” too. Have you? I seem to remember the party faithful decrying him as muckraker with no substance over that one. Isn’t it strange how one’s favour can be so suitably changed? And how about the Pravda Herald?

    Sorry mate but obviously my memory is longer than yours.

    captcha (i usually hate this but it’s just perfect): Darwanism dodger

  44. higherstandard 44

    No Rob I am not a member of the National party.

    And no I wasn’t getting macho – I’m well past that kind of behaviour – just advising that an accusation of money laundering is a very serious matter indeed.

  45. r0b 45

    Please define laundering in this context.

    I’m not using it quite as technically as HS defines it Dean, just in the vernacular. They used trusts to “cleanse” the names of the donors from the money, so that the names of those donors never became public (as they should have). You can read chapter and verse in the long quote from No Right Turn that I posted above.

    Then why did you mention it in the first place? Obviously you think the Nats negotiating or dealing with the Brethren has some relevance

    The relevance is that it added a $1.2 Million advertising campaign to the election, with the express intention of returning a Don Brash led National Government. Hence it was one of the financial resources that National had available. They corresponded with the Brethren to make sure that it was technically legal, while clearly evading the intent of the law. This behaviour was so clearly unethical that it probably cost National the last election, and certainly cost Don Brash his career. That’s all, kinda relevant don’t you think?

  46. r0b 46

    No Rob I am not a member of the National party.

    Right you are then. I’m a member of Labour.

    And no I wasn’t getting macho – I’m well past that kind of behaviour –

    Oh good, me too. I’m sure my doctor would have a fit.

    just advising that an accusation of money laundering is a very serious matter indeed.

    Goodness, for all the tripe that gets posted on blogs, I’m just a little bit intrigued as to why it was this particular phrase that pushed your button?

  47. Dean 47

    Rob:

    “I’m not using it quite as technically as HS defines it Dean, just in the vernacular. They used trusts to “cleanse’ the names of the donors from the money, so that the names of those donors never became public (as they should have). You can read chapter and verse in the long quote from No Right Turn that I posted above.”

    I’ve yet to see Labour reveal it’s list of anonymous donations. As you’ll recall, they had quite a few. Perhaps you could point me in the right direction? Or is Labour recieving such donations somehow different from National? Just like National’s tax cuts are definitely inflationary, but Labours are absolutely not?

    Or by definition are they incapable of “cleansing” anonymous donations?

    That’s a mighty sharp fence you’re sitting on there.

    “The relevance is that it added a $1.2 Million advertising campaign to the election, with the express intention of returning a Don Brash led National Government. Hence it was one of the financial resources that National had available. They corresponded with the Brethren to make sure that it was technically legal, while clearly evading the intent of the law. This behaviour was so clearly unethical that it probably cost National the last election, and certainly cost Don Brash his career. That’s all, kinda relevant don’t you think?”

    Oh, so it wasn’t “just that it happened” then. Thanks for being honest.

    I actually agree with you on this issue, but I find it rather poor that you at first denied you had an axe to grind over it, and that only after being confronted with it did you admit the truth.

  48. Pascal's bookie 48

    No I haven’t read the corngate one Dean.

    I am only moderatly interested in GM stuff, and think it shows a lot of promise.

    Personally I think that Monsato and the like should have started off by genetically engineering very small, very expensive, monkeys that are smart enough to run down to the bottle store for you, but not smart enough to drink your whiskey on the way home.

    That way the people that ended up being anti gm would have been up in arms demanding that the technology be used to develop food crops and the like.

    Not having read that book I can’t remember the details, but I seem to recall that yes, Hager was criticised for getting stuff wrong. As he should be, if he did.

    You seem to think that if the corngate book was wrong then The Hollow Men book must also be wrong, because they share the same author.

    Not so. That’s a perfect example of an ‘ad hominem’ argument.

    Each book stands on it’s merits. In the Hollow Men the book stands or falls on the veracity of the source documents, which have not been disputed. In fact, Brash claims without any evidence that they were stolen. Which is an admission of their veracity.

    I’m not sure why you think your memory is longer than mine, what a strange thing to say!

  49. r0b 49

    I’ve yet to see Labour reveal it’s list of anonymous donations. As you’ll recall, they had quite a few.

    Here you go Dean, so glad I could help:

    http://www.elections.org.nz/parties/donations_summary.html

    I actually agree with you on this issue, but I find it rather poor that you at first denied you had an axe to grind over it, and that only after being confronted with it did you admit the truth.

    Umm, yeah, I guess you really got me there.

  50. Tane 50

    Dean, what makes you think IrishBill is a member of the Labour Party? You’ll recall a while back he even encouraged readers to vote Green.

  51. r0b 51

    PS – no party has to reveal anon donations below $10K. Above $10K they are all “revealed” on that web site. Except National’s, laundered and aggregated via trusts, notably Waitemata.

  52. Dean 52

    Pascal:

    “You seem to think that if the corngate book was wrong then The Hollow Men book must also be wrong, because they share the same author.”

    I’m simply pointing out that the majority of people who cling to the Hollow Men book like it was the new new testament were also the same ones decrying him from wide and far over the corngate book.

    Since you haven’t read it, or chosen to research the derision that was poured upon him after it’s publication, I can’t see how you can have an opinion on his neutrality.

    “Each book stands on it’s merits. In the Hollow Men the book stands or falls on the veracity of the source documents, which have not been disputed. In fact, Brash claims without any evidence that they were stolen. Which is an admission of their veracity.”

    Absolutely agreed. I’m not doubting the accuracy of the Hollow Men’s sources. I actually think it was well written and timely, and an interesting inside look into how the National party works.

    But please note the above. Apparently, the corngate book isn’t. No, sir. Clark is completely blameless, as she was over the Doone saga.

    I notice with interest you didn’t comment on the changing fortunes of the Herald in regards to left wing commentators. Why is that?

  53. Dean 53

    Tane:

    “Dean, what makes you think IrishBill is a member of the Labour Party? You’ll recall a while back he even encouraged readers to vote Green.”

    Sorry, if I somehow gave that impression then that’s my mistake. I thought I was replying to Rob, not Irishbill.

  54. Dean 54

    Rob:

    “PS – no party has to reveal anon donations below $10K. Above $10K they are all “revealed’ on that web site. Except National’s, laundered and aggregated via trusts, notably Waitemata.”

    Fair enough. I read the list on the website you linked to, and I stand corrected.

    “Umm, yeah, I guess you really got me there.”

    I don’t understand why you didn’t just outline your issue with the Brethren in the first place.

  55. higherstandard 55

    Thanks for that rOB I’d never seen the donation lists before.

    Certainly shows National have a superior warchest compared to Labour – nice that Owen Glenn donated 300k to even things up a bit.

  56. r0b 56

    I don’t understand why you didn’t just outline your issue with the Brethren in the first place.

    Come on Dean, you’re playing quite nicely tonight (thanks), but don’t try and twist my words on this. I have no personal beef with the Brethren, but their actions were politically significant, and to try and deny that is kinda silly.

  57. r0b 57

    Thanks for that rOB I’d never seen the donation lists before.

    Certainly shows National have a superior warchest compared to Labour – nice that Owen Glenn donated 300k to even things up a bit.

    My pleasure HS. Agreed on all counts!

  58. Tane 58

    Hey Dean, yeah you were, sorry, I misread your comment. Guess that’s what happens when you skim the threads after a few Friday night beers…

  59. Dean 59

    Rob:

    “Come on Dean, you’re playing quite nicely tonight (thanks), but don’t try and twist my words on this. I have no personal beef with the Brethren, but their actions were politically significant, and to try and deny that is kinda silly.”

    Sorry, but I did have to press you on the issue, because at first you said “Just that it happened” when questioned about it. It would have been far better for you to have outlined your issue with them when first questioned instead of pretending that it was just something you said in passing.

    I give you credit for admitting that the “chinless scarf wearers” comment was stupid though. Now, if we could just work on the “haters and wreckers” and “last cab off the rank” lines…

  60. r0b 60

    Certainly shows National have a superior warchest compared to Labour – nice that Owen Glenn donated 300k to even things up a bit.

    And therein lies much of the madness of a recent media circus. Owen Glenn’s donation is 100% public and open, and yet somehow it became a media football.

    National’s much more significant donations should be public but they aren’t, because they are anonymised (there you go, I’ll stop saying laundered) through these trusts. Who are these people? Were they buying influence? We don’t know! (though The Hollow Men tells a lot of the tale). That’s the real “scandal” about donations, not Mr Glenn. Sigh! Only Guyon told it like it was:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/politics/2008/02/22/time-to-tell-us-about-your-donors-national/

  61. Pascal's bookie 61

    I’m simply pointing out that the majority of people who cling to the Hollow Men book like it was the new new testament were also the same ones decrying him from wide and far over the corngate book.

    Obviously you can point out whatever you like. So what? I am not one of those people that you claim are a majority.

    Since you haven’t read it, or chosen to research the derision that was poured upon him after it’s publication, I can’t see how you can have an opinion on his neutrality.

    Umm ok. I never mentioned anything about his neutrality, or corngate, or anything else Dean. That was you. (I’m starting to doubt you about the memory thing;) ) I only mentioned his latest book, which you agree is a good one.

    I didn’t comment about the Herald because I couldn’t see how it was relevent. I notice you seem to want to talk to me about lot’s of things that aren’t relevent to National spending tax payers money on campaigning in the year before the last election. Why is that?

  62. r0b 62

    Sorry, but I did have to press you on the issue,

    I really don’t see how you are interpreting my words to create any kind of conflict or issue here Dean. And at this time on a Friday night I can’t be bothered trying to deconstruct it any further. I have no personal issue with the Brethren. If you think that I have, well, OK, fine.

    Now, if we could just work on the “haters and wreckers’ and “last cab off the rank’ lines

    The first was a very foolish thing to say. I really don’t have any issue with the second at all. Seems like a fairly harmless vernacular for saying “last choice”.

    Anyway, pleasure chatting with y’all – not every night I can say that! – but I’ve had a better offer – so g’night.

  63. Chemist Peter 63

    I am banned, I am banned, boo hoo to you, boo hoo to you, [… deleted]

    [lprent:
    And it gets more childish over the rest of the sentence as the language deteriorates with the usual obsessions showing.
    Since I don’t like seeing this first thing in the morning – I’ll let the abbreviated version through. I think that people’s reputation should stand or fall by their words. I can see why he got banned – this belongs in the schoolyard.]

  64. burt_banned 64

    rOb

    I’m banned till next Monday, however I believe that this comment warrants a breach of my banning.

    You were correct, I did believe DPF’s interpretation of the law however you nailed it. Well done.

    I’ll be keen to debate this further, when I’m not banned. The unintended consequences of this decision will be interesting to watch.

    [lprent: That’s ok, you’re pretty good about observing the bans. But I do wish that you and the ‘sod could keep your passions a bit more under control. Then we wouldn’t be deprived of your more interesting comments.]

  65. lprent 65

    “…can only confirm that neither the standard or anybody associated with it have received any communication from the electoral commission. I understand Cameron has claimed he has laid a complaint but so far we have heard nothing of it.”

    Absolutely nothing, and they’d have had to contact me. There are also a couple of other complaints floating around about the site apart from Whale. There has been nothing on those either.

    I think that the electoral commission have probably taken legal advice about multi-authored blogs. Part of the usual round of advice after an act is released, and the practical implications are sorted out by the regulating body and the courts. In my more corporate days I had to sit through a few briefings on the implications of new legislation and the expected settling out period. With apologies to lawyers, activists and politicians, I can only compare them to sitting through political or activist meetings. Dead boring, and filled with people in love with their own voice. But someone has to do it.

    They will probably had a look at the some of the more inane comments on the site (like I do) and the definition of self-inflicted injury…….

    Lynn

  66. bill brown 66

    Just to get back to the original theme

    As an ordinary member of the public, I get all of my news via the msm.

    I hear that this guy David Farer? who’s part of the National Party is against unions. Hey isn’t he the guy who’s a friend of that guy in Fiji who’s taken over the government? I dunno, I’m usually only waiting for the weather anyway.

  67. Draco TB 67

    What do we have now? Huge debate only 3 months into the electoral year over what the act says.

    This is good – shows that democracy is working. No rule is perfect and needs to be refined over time but it is most certainly better to have the rule there in the first place.

    It may be partisan debate but if it was good law the debate wouldn’t exist at all.

    This would be bad as it would show either that our politicians thought themselves infallible or that they were incompetent. Neither of which is desirable but at least with the latter we would be able to vote the bastards out.

    captcha: efficient feature

  68. r0b 68

    I’m banned till next Monday

    I’m sorry to hear that Burt. If you stop trying to spread the lies about The Standard then you won’t get banned.

    You were correct, I did believe DPF’s interpretation of the law however you nailed it. Well done.

    Thank you Burt, that’s very generous of you. Not often that someone goes out of their way to admit such a thing on a blog. I respect your fairness on this matter.

    Back in that thread you wrote: “I’ll happily admit I was suckered in by DPF & Hooton if you are correct”. Please now ponder the implications of the fact that you were suckered. Please for heaven’s sake Burt don’t believe everything that you read on Kiwiblog.

    I’ll be keen to debate this further, when I’m not banned.

    I will look forward to it Burt.

    The unintended consequences of this decision will be interesting to watch.

    I took a look at the Kiwiblog thread on this (not something I do often). I see there is a lot of excitement about “unintended consequences”. Burt, if we have established that I have even a tiny bit of credibility on interpreting this law, please believe me when I say that 90% of commentary on Kiwiblog is painfully stupid. Don’t come to me with arguments straight out of Kiwiblog without running them through some kind of sanity filter first.

    The recent decision re EPMU decision clarifies the law. It changes nothing about whether it is possible to evade the law (which is what the Kiwiblog Right mean when they say “unintended consequences”). It was possible before the EPMU decision, it is possible after the decision. For instance, a major “idea” over there is that all branches of the National Party can now register as third parties. I think that idea fails, as I described in our original discussion of this (cited first comment in this thread). But in any case it’s irrelevant. There’s a much simpler way to evade the law. Get as many people as you like to resign from the National Party and register as third parties. They are no longer involved in the “administration of a party” (they resigned), so they are free to register. It’s so much simpler than having whole branches register, and you can have so many more of them, it’s all completely legal (and the EPMU decision is absolutely irrelevant to this tactic). There you go Burt, a new tactic for National, you read it here first.

    I expect that National will be very tempted to do something like this. They evaded the law in the last election when they used shell trusts to launder donations (as discussed extensively in this thread above), so I expect that they will be tempted to evade the law again (it’s almost always possible to find some loophole). But it would be a stupid thing to do. Because the media spotlight is really going to be on for this kind of nonsense in the coming election. My suspicion is that any party that tries to game the system is going to get trashed for it. (And speaking of real unintended consequences, gaming the system like this turns people cynical on politics, and weakens participation in democracy, which is a tragedy.)

    So, my advice to National and the Kiwiblog Right? Fight a fair fight, win or lose on your policies. You’ve got good odds going in, so don’t risk it all by gaming the system. Didn’t work last time. Won’t work this time.

  69. r0b said “don’t risk it all by gaming the system”

    That’s a bit rich r0b, when so far only ONE of the MAJOR parties has been warned by the EC for contravening the EFA!

  70. r0b 70

    Oh give it a rest Iv2. Save your energy for the campaign proper eh? A warning in a case that is a first test of a new law over a pamphlet that was printed last year is hardly “gaming the system”. Gaming the system is where a party hides 1.5 million dollars in shell trusts to evade the law, as National did during the 2005 election.

  71. burt 71

    rOb

    You nailed the outcome of the EPMU decision, however I’m yet to be convinced you’ll nail the likely outcome with the following.

    There’s a much simpler way to evade the law. Get as many people as you like to resign from the National Party and register as third parties. They are no longer involved in the “administration of a party’ (they resigned), so they are free to register. It’s so much simpler than having whole branches register, and you can have so many more of them, it’s all completely legal (and the EPMU decision is absolutely irrelevant to this tactic).

    I don’t understand why you suggest that National (or any other party) should do it differently to Labour & the EPMU. Clearly National party members getting involved in an ‘association’ (or 20) and spending their own money campaigning for National would be a smart thing to do.

    And what’s to stop 4,000 EB’s forming into 2,000 organisations each named something catchy advertising, they could use an office address to register and campaign as the EPMU will do and could spend up to $240m legally.

    captcha CRUSHES Gov

  72. r0b 72

    Hey Burt, aren’t you violating parole? I’m happy to talk later on, I don’t want to be leading you astray here.

  73. r0b 73

    The short answer Burt is that nothing stops these tactics, just as nothing stopped them in any previous election. The EFA doesn’t inhibit free speech (up to a limit of $120,000), it just means that we get to know who is speaking.

    It hasn’t happened before and it probably won’t happen much this time because thinking up daft ways to game the system really isn’t an exercise that holds much interest for many people outside of the Kiwiblog Right.

  74. burt 74

    rOb

    Hey Burt, aren’t you violating parole?

    The law of common sense says that if I don’t have intent to blog comments like the ones that got me banned, then I’m not doing anything wrong. However you slip back to attacking Kiwiblog rather than addressing the issue lift my ‘risk of being banned’ level so see you next week.

    … thanks to ball boys and umpires for allowing sociable comments during a ban.

  75. higherstandard 75

    rOb

    An interesting spin on the EFA from Mike Moore.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=247&objectid=10489687&pnum=2

  76. r0b 76

    The law of common sense says

    In context Burt, that was actually quite funny. You are having a good day! See you after parole.

    An interesting spin on the EFA from Mike Moore.

    HS, yes, as interesting as most of what Mike writes these days. By the way, did you catch John Armstrong in The Herald?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10502159

  77. higherstandard 77

    Yes I did I thought is was a well reasoned and accurate summation

  78. r0b 78

    Ahh you’re no fun tonight HS. OK, Moore’s not entirely wrong either.

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