web analytics

Granny’s wail

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, November 15th, 2007 - 27 comments
Categories: election funding, Media - Tags: ,

Today the New Zealand Herald’s waning tantrum over the Electoral Finance Bill has been relegated to Page 5. Perhaps Granny has paused, had a cuppa, and is coming to her senses. The Herald reports today, a tad ingenuously, that the government might be about to “change tack”. Anyone paying attention to the noises coming out of the Beehive would have been aware of that for some time. Helen Clark and Michael Cullen (and now Pete Hodgson) have been signalling for weeks that there will be changes to the legislation. The Herald’s caterwauling on Monday about the imminent death of freedom and democracy will make a strong claim for the silliest media outburst of 2007. Last year the Herald brought itself much credit in providing a platform for the Auckland stadium debate, as it embraced the concept of “distributed journalism”, and provided an outlet for the opinions and energy of citizens who were interested in the stadium issue. But this week the Herald simply launched into an editorial rant, and set out to manipulate its readers, rather than serve them. The Herald’s treatment of the stadium debate was about grassroots journalism. On the EFB this week, it resorted to propaganda techniques. Many New Zealanders despair at the way big anonymous donors try to pervert the course of elections in this country, and at the way elections are threatening to become the preserve of the rich and well-connected. The New Zealand Herald is obviously happy for it to stay that way.

27 comments on “Granny’s wail ”

  1. Billy 1

    I for one am heaving a huge sigh of relief that the EFB will finally put and end to those anonymous donations. Oh, hang on…

  2. So let’s get this straight. The Government introduces the worst piece of legislation in 100 years, making the biggest constitutional change in a generation.

    It then refers that bill to a select committee, which gets howled down by everybody from every side of the political spectrum, including the Human Rights Commission, the Law Commission, and numerous unions and NGOs.

    The Government does a hash-job of secretly stitching up deals between its friends to get the best possible outcome to skew the bill in its own favour. Meanwhile, the media holds the Government to account for its unprecedented constitutional duplicity and desperation, and the most the Left can do is scream that the media is biased.

    Why is it that the Government refuses to release advice given to it on the Electoral Finance Bill from its own officials? Why is it that the Ombudsman is demanding that the Government release those reports on the Bill? What is in that advice, that the Government doesn’t want us to see?

    Is that the example the Government is setting in its stated aims to encourage participation in our democracy, by suppressing every view that doesn’t concur with its own, even when that advice is coming from its own expert officials?

  3. r0b 3

    I hate responding to you Impotent Prick, because you’re not here to engage in constructive debate. But…

    “The Government introduces the worst piece of legislation in 100 years”

    No, that would be the ECA.

    “making the biggest constitutional change in a generation.”

    No, that would be MMP.

    “It then refers that bill to a select committee, which gets howled down by everybody from every side of the political spectrum”

    Yes, there was critical feedback from several groups, which it is the job of the select committee to take into account.

    “the most the Left can do is scream that the media is biased.”

    Claims of media bias (the “liberal media”) are much more common from the Right than the Left.

    “Is that the example the Government is setting in its stated aims to encourage participation in our democracy, by suppressing every view that doesn’t concur with its own, even when that advice is coming from its own expert officials?”

    The bill was clearly drafted in a hurry and had problems. The normal mechanisms of democracy (select committees, public input) are now working to fix the problems. During this process some people want to whip up hysteria because it suits their anti-Labour agenda. The rest of us would rather wait and see what comes out of the select committee before we start all hands to the barricades.

    As usual, the real world is more boring than the blogs.

  4. unaha-closp 4

    Congratulations to the Herald for bringing about some welcome changes to government policy.

  5. Robinsod 5

    Hey Insolent Punter – shouldn’t you get back to updating your blog? It’s looking a little hollow bro.

  6. Robinsod 6

    closp- you’ve got to be joking? Do you really think the SC went “oh no the herald seems to have got hold of National’s minority report (thereby breaching parliamentary privilege) – now we better spend the next 24 hour frantically re-writing it!”

    I mean really, straws. Grasping. You’re.

  7. Billy 7

    I agree wholeheartedly with Robinsod. Hurry up and update your blog. If this blog were half as amusing as this:
    http://insolentprick.blogspot.com/2006/04/truth-about-cats-and-dogs-and-hr.html
    it would be much more fun coming here.

  8. r0b 8

    “Congratulations to the Herald for bringing about some welcome changes to government policy.”

    Government policy doesn’t work that quickly. The Herald’s excitable little outburst was timed all wrong to affect the workings of the select committee.

    If they’d waited a just a bit longer they could have commented on the revised legislation instead of the draft.

  9. r0b:

    You said:

    No, that would be the ECA.

    Funny that. I distinctly recall the unions being very upset with the ECA, but the business community supported it, and the legislation itself was robust and achieved its stated aims. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, claims that the EFB was ever a viable Bill when it was introduced. There hasn’t been a time in the last hundred years when a piece of legislation has been so overwhelmingly panned by so many parts of the community. When the Law Society takes the exceedingly rare step of saying the Bill cannot be redeemed, and must be scrapped, then you’ve got big problems. When the HRC says the Bill is seriously flawed, you’ve got even bigger problems. When unions are saying the Bill is totally bad, then you’re pretty much in a catastrophic state defending it.

    No, that would be MMP.

    I did think of MMP as a constitutional change as I wrote that, but qualified it as “this generation”. MMP legislation was introduced and passed thirteen years ago. That’s about a generation ago. But I’m not going to quibble about that.

    Yes, there was critical feedback from several groups, which it is the job of the select committee to take into account.

    That’s the understatement of the century, Rob, and you know it. It isn’t actually the role of the select committee to fundamentally change a piece of legislation referred to it. It is the role of the select Committee to hear submissions and make recommendations on how it can better fit the purposes of the Bill, but Standing Orders prohibit a fundamental re-write of the Bill in select committee.

    The bill was clearly drafted in a hurry and had problems. The normal mechanisms of democracy (select committees, public input) are now working to fix the problems. During this process some people want to whip up hysteria because it suits their anti-Labour agenda. The rest of us would rather wait and see what comes out of the select committee before we start all hands to the barricades.

    No, that is not the normal mechanism of a major constitutional change, r0b. Normally, major constitutional change involves at the very minimum a white paper on an issue, the Law Commission commissioning a review, often a commission of inquiry, and officials seeking public input into the issue long before it ever reaches Parliament in the form of a draft Bill. None of this took place. The Law Commission even stated that it would not make a submission on the EFB because it had not been through the normal policy and legislative drafting processes. It is unparalleled in the last 21 years for the Law Commission to refuse to make a submission on any piece of public law.

    This process has been rushed, but that is entirely due to the Government choosing to rush things through. If the issue had been critical to the Government after the 2005 election, they could have called a commission of inquiry to report back within a year, or at least commission the Law Commission to write a report on electoral funding and expenditure. The Government chose to do neither.

    The only reason the Bill is being rushed through is that for its first year of office following the 2005 election, the Labour Party never expected to repay the money it misappropriated during the 2005 election. Forced to do so by the swell of public opinion following the Auditor-General’s damning report, the Labour Party committed to repaying the money it misappropriated on the 2005 election.

    This Bill was only drafted as a response to Labour running out of money last year. Labour was caught with its hand in the till. This is not about creating a level playing field for all political players. This is about skewing the advantage in Labour’s favour, to make up for the disadvantage of getting caught cheating last time.

  10. Robinsod 10

    IP – that’s much better! At this rate people will start taking you seriously. Well done.

  11. r0b 11

    I’d just like to second Robinsod there – well done IP. Rational argument and no personal abuse. Very refreshing.

    “[the ECA] was robust and achieved its stated aims.”

    Rather more important were its un-stated aims.

    “Law Society takes the exceedingly rare step of saying the Bill cannot be redeemed, and must be scrapped, then you’ve got big problems”

    I do agree with that, and with the significance of the other criticisms.

    “That’s the understatement of the century, Rob, and you know it.”

    I’m an understated kinda person.

    “Standing Orders prohibit a fundamental re-write of the Bill in select committee.”

    As far as I know the majority of the submissions recommended changes that fell short of fundamental re-write. The Law Society submission may be an exception – I confess that I haven’t read it.

    “No, that is not the normal mechanism of a major constitutional change”

    It’s not clear that tightening up the laws governing election spending constitutes major constitutional change. Such things have been done in the past (badly – which is why we are in the mess we’re in now).

    “This Bill was only drafted as a response to Labour running out of money last year.”

    Completely disagree with you there, but that may have to wait for another time. Got to go do stuff in the Real World for many hours…

  12. unaha-closp 12

    “Government policy doesn’t work that quickly. The Herald’s excitable little outburst was timed all wrong to affect the workings of the select committee.”

    Week 1 – people find out democracy is under attack by the Labour government, they read how the EFB will clamp down on wide ranging freedoms – Herald calls for changes to government bill. Week 2 – bill is changed and the restrictions made less – Herald congratulates self. Very nice & simple, so easy to understand.

    The government may blather on about how it really meant to make changes all along and that it always agreed with all of the electorate, but the electorate will be able to see from the governments own words (as written in the EFB) that they are lying. The original EFB is proof of the governments real intent, before it was stopped by the diligent work of the Herald (& others) and if it becomes possible that the electorate forgets this the Herald will definitely remind them. What chance a Qantas award for the Herald’s service to democracy?

  13. Tane 13

    Unaha – what planet are you on? That’s not how Government works, it’s a slow-moving beast that’s not going to redraft an entire piece of legislation within a couple of days to suit a newspaper campaign. Of course the Herald will claim victory when the revised bill is released, but they’ll only do so because any other course of action will expose them to ridicule for their silly little fear campaign.

  14. Sam Dixon 14

    Now, watch for the Herald to claim a government backdown and shower itself in glory when the amended EFB is presented.. despite the fact the amendments have been signalled for months,

  15. the sprout 15

    i think they learnt that one from John Banks, or Sensing Murder

  16. unaha-closp 16

    r0b & Robinsod,

    You might even be right, but you are asking people to believe in subtle, complex, secretive actions with the government making a mistake, correcting the mistake and claiming never to have made the mistake – not simplicity. The Herald can prove its actions convinced the government to make substantial changes to its own bill, because changes were made – very simple. This goes to the nature of reality in politics.

  17. Tane 17

    Unaha – the Herald shouldn’t be playing politics. They should be reporting the news.

  18. r0b 18

    unaha – “the government making a mistake, correcting the mistake and claiming never to have made the mistake”

    Governments make and fix mistakes all the time. I’m not sure that the government is claiming not to have made a mistake this time?

    “The Herald can prove its actions convinced the government to make substantial changes to its own bill, because changes were made – very simple. This goes to the nature of reality in politics.”

    There are more logical fallacies in that statement than I can shake a stick at. Here’s why it’s wrong by analogy. Yesterday The Herald weather section predicted sun today. Today it is sunny. Hence The Herald can prove that it made the sun shine.

    In haste, and really gone this time…

  19. Spam 19

    Unaha – the Herald shouldn’t be playing politics. They should be reporting the news.

    So newspapers should never have any opinion pieces whatsoever? The sheeple must only be told the facts, with no analysis of how it might affect them? Gosh…. You guys should lead by example, and not post any opinion either.

  20. Robinsod 20

    Spam – there’s a line between opinion piece and what the herald did. If you can’t see that you need to take a reality check.

  21. Lee C 21

    Man you guys are soooo spoiled by your media. The media in New Zealand is a tame little puppy dog, when it yaps once in a while you get all excited about ‘bias’ and start saying ‘It’s their job to report the news!!’

    Yeah right.

    The state of the media here might explain why New Zealand society is so apololitical too. It certainly is why something like the EFB was nearly sailed through onto the statute books, with barely a whimper.

    Compare it to the media in the UK – they would have been savaging the EFB from day one, not waiting till about a week or so before the amended version was due, to start making a song and dance about it.

  22. r0b 22

    “Compare it to the media in the UK – they would have been savaging the EFB from day one”

    Is this the same UK media that so boldly stood up to England’s involvement in that war (based on nothing but lies) in Iraq?

    I do have a certain fondness for The Guardian (surprise!), but really, let’s not idealise that which is not ideal.

  23. unaha-closp 23

    The weather is uncaring, non-involved and quite illiterate. To suggest this a good analogy with the government is novel.

  24. r0b 24

    “The weather is uncaring, non-involved and quite illiterate. To suggest this a good analogy with the government is novel.”

    It’s an analogy about the logical structure of your argument unaha. You have a confused notion of causality.

  25. Lee C 25

    r0b I think you will find the media radio, tv press were pretty much not taken in by the WoMd and if I recollect, people marched on Parliament before the invasion and pubic opinion was listed as overwhelmingly in support of the UN Charter and against the war.

    It was a Labour Government in the UK which rode roughshod over public opinion, and the media ignoring the UN mandate and the advice of the European community and enacted an illegal act of genocide.

    Not coincidentally was a Labour Prime Minister who went deaf to the very place he’s come from, adopted a theoretically questionable ‘Third Way’ mantra for his philosophy and adopted the mantle of an increasingly ‘presidential’ type leader.

    Actually it was the model and theoretical basis upon which Helen Clark has modelled the modern ‘Labour’ Party of New Zealand upon isn’t it?

  26. Tane 26

    There’s a difference between running a range of op-ed pieces expressing a variety of opinions, and running a misleading propaganda campaign on your front page to make a political point. Your comment was in regard to the Herald acting like a political operative. I don’t think that’s its role.

  27. r0b 27

    “r0b I think you will find the media radio, tv press were pretty much not taken in by the WoMd and if I recollect, people marched on Parliament before the invasion and pubic opinion was listed as overwhelmingly in support of the UN Charter and against the war.”

    All true, and all too little and too late (as history proved).

    “It was a Labour Government in the UK which rode roughshod over public opinion, and the media”

    It was, to their eternal shame.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Fast-tracked Northland water project will accelerate economic recovery
    The Government has welcomed the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.  The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago