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An election under a cloud

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, November 24th, 2011 - 45 comments
Categories: election 2011, Media - Tags: ,

I don’t think I can recall an election in NZ conducted under such a cloud of extraordinary and dubious circumstances as this one.

We have police raids on media outlets to suppress information relevant to the election.

We have the teapot tape itself.  Described as significant and “game changing” by some that have heard it, of disputed legality (but certainly not ruled illegal), and clearly a matter of great public interest.  Any other media in any other democracy would have played it to the public. But not in NZ.

We have the unreleased advice on asset sales.  This is the major issue of the campaign, and it is only because of the Official Information Act (and the efforts of TV1) that we have learned that (1) Key’s public statements on aspects of the asset sales rest on no official advice and are more or less completely made up by the Nats, and (2) there are comprehensive official documents that do contain relevant advice, but we the public are not allowed to know before we vote.

We have had further made up nonsense from Key, such as the claim that raising the minimum wage would cost jobs, when in fact the official advice from Treasury was that they would not. How is the public meant to make sense of a barrage of inconsistent information mixed with outright lies?

And finally we have an Electoral Commission that really seems to be losing the plot a bit. Apparently (this just in from comments) even discussing the weather on election day could get you in to trouble if there is any link (implied link?) to voter behaviour. An election under a cloud indeed.

45 comments on “An election under a cloud ”

  1. daveo 1

    I don’t think I can recall an election in NZ conducted under such a cloud of extraordinary and dubious circumstances as this one.


    • r0b 1.1

      Truth to tell I wasn’t paying any attention to politics back then (I’m a late starter). Remind us, if you feel so inclined…

      • daveo 1.1.1

        The November election in ’81 came hot on the heels of the ’81 tour. It was certainly extraordinary and by that stage everything Muldoon did was dubious.

        • Tiger Mountain

          ’81 followed the “Citizens for Rowling (Labour leader Bill Rowling)” campaign in the 1975 election, staged by prominent citizens including Ed Hillary, concerned about Muldoon’s authoritarian leadership style.

          National of course won the ’81 election with more seats but less of the popular vote than Labour under rural seat FPP jiggery pokery. The enforcement of the Springbok tour proceeding was all about getting the rural sheep shagger vote which was achieved. But one price for the conservatives was the anti-racist movement kept on keeping on long after the tour, which fact the racists at kiwiblog and deep in our society still lament today.

  2. Matt 2

    This election is not only under a cloud, it is under a climate catastrophe waiting to happen.

    Are our politicians taking sufficient action on climate change to ensure a healthy and thriving future for New Zealand and the world?

    Go to http://www.electwho.org.nz to find out.

  3. insider 3

    And there’s Goff’s made up nonsense about not knowing of any other developed country that has GST on healthy food/fresh food and vegetables when only five countries -Australia, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, and the United Kingdom – apply a zero rate to certain food items.

    • insider 3.1

      Oh there’s the fear of death baby mailer; NZEI breaching privacy by handing over mailing lists to Labour; No police recruits next year;

      It’s an election – it’s really overcooking it to claim this as an unprecedented ” cloud of extraordinary and dubious circumstances”. You must have a really, really short memory

    • rosy 3.2

      A bit narrow in your examples there. I suspect you’re complaining about the principle rather than a narrow list of items You missed a few zero rated or variable rates on food or other goods that individual countries deem important. The principle of variable rates seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

      • Lanthanide 3.2.1

        “The principle of variable rates seems to be the rule rather than the exception.”

        But that’s because NZ is one of the few countries in the world that has a flat GST on everything.

        • Draco T Bastard

          except for cab rides, financial services (wonder why Jonkey thought that making NZ into a financial hub was a good idea…), housing and a few other items.

      • insider 3.2.2

        when Goff says at 1:45 on this video

        “no other developed country in the world that I know of has a GST on healthy food like that”

        which part of that is correct based on your information (and given this is a core Labour policy which must have been researched)? It took me two minutes to find Japan has full GST on food, so does Denmark. So does France, Korea, Poland. All OECD countries.

        If it’s demonstrably not correct, it’s Standard practice to call it a lie.

        • pinsky

          He did say “that I know of”. Shows he hasn’t been reading up; doesn’t show a lie.

          • rosy

            I think Phil’s reading might be a little more detailed, not less…
            Japan, for example taxes food at the full rate, but that rate is only 5%. Other countries that have higher GST on food than NZ tax food at less than the usual rate. (he may have forgotten Denmark although if you earn under DKK 43,000 you’re income tax rate is zero, so hardly comparable).

    • happynz 3.3

      Only? Get your facts right. There are several states in the US that have tax-exempt items that go in the supermarket trolley. I know for a fact that California has had for years a policy that exempts many food items from sales tax. I can’t see why those that oppose the taking of GST off fruits and vegetables often try to make the case that it is too complicated. To that I have to respond, ‘horseshit!’ If the brains in this country can’t do the sums, maybe they could send an email or ring up any ol’ supermarket manager in California and they’d likely be happy to send along the software for the computations.


  4. randal 5

    all kweewee has done is call the cops?
    what is going to happen on saturday night when he loses?

    • Vicky32 5.1

      “what is going to happen on saturday night when he loses?”

      I was imagining him throwing a coup… and wondering whether New Zealanders would finally stand up for themselves if that happened…

  5. queenstfarmer 6

    We have police raids on media outlets to suppress information relevant to the election

    What nonsense. Nothing has been “suppressed”, any more than a newspaper deciding not to run a defamatory, unverified story is “suppressed”. The media is free to run the story any time it likes.

    • locus 6.1

      our pm in his wisdom ‘suppressed’ the publication of his publicly taped and videod conversation with a potential coalition partner. whatever way you want to spin it i and a whole lot of other kiwis regard that as spineless and deceitful

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      qstf, threatening police action and then following through is an effective form of media suppression.

  6. Treetop 7

    When MPs next sit in the House after the election some hard questions need to be asked.

    Will Key tell the truth or will he mislead parliament about the tea tape?

    • When the house sits again Key will be gone because it would have been the “Brand Key” that fell down and was left wanting. Who wants a damaged “Brand Key” in opposition.

      Did you read the link above under Travllerev, very interesting I have already sent the link out to all I know.

    • I am convinced that in the interest of democracy that the tapes should be opened before the election. What ever is on them that needs such drastic action . Im hoping that the Sunday Herald gets them out somehow.

      • Treetop 7.2.1

        Wouldn’t it be nice if the tape was played at the polling booth?

        • Treetop

          And to film people’s reaction listening to it.
          And for a message to be left regarding your feedback.

      • anne 7.2.2

        Knowledge is a great thing,
        A certain place voters are like goats
        Intelligence levels are pre-chimpanzee
        Easlily led
        No problem
        All under control
        As get smart would say “I know nothing’

  7. rosy 8

    Spooky! – my google weather widget has my NZ cities weather ‘temporarily unavailable’!!
    /laughing, but really it does. So what sort of nanny state is this? We could choose to speak about the weather under Labour 😉 It’s gonna be short weather forecasts on the teevee.

    But seriously – The rest is a bit like George Bush and the ‘hanging chads’ election – A parody of democracy.

  8. Colonial Viper 9

    Where the hell is the Electoral Commission ruling on Key’s massive radio interview freebie.

  9. uturn 10

    It may not be such a bad thing to have a day’s silence during voting. It’s not like we don’t sit around yappin’ about it the rest of the year. The Standard could fill the day posting pictures of people glaring, smiling or winking at each other instead. As long as they aren’t wearing blue, red, green, yellow, black… ok black n white photos of people… no sepia toned photos of people…

  10. randal 11

    national have always been shifty.
    they know their policies benefit only a few so they have to dress it up with a whole lot of randian bullshit to make it palatable but in the end its just the accountants stealing with their pens.

  11. DS 12

    Try 1951. Government sends its goons around confiscating printing presses and making it illegal to give food to the kids of the locked-out workers. Government calls an early election, portrays its enemies as Communist, and wins by a landslide (the last time a single party cracked 50% in this country).

  12. Tom Gould 13

    Anthony, the ‘dubious circumstances’ are enabled and empowered by a lazy, craven, indolent, biased, egocentric MSM, whose fundamental job in a democracy is to protect us from malevolent government, not to collude with them.

    • Galeandra 13.1

      Tom Gould, the only business of the msm is business.They sell stuff.
      Labour could see the issues a mile out during its terms; public broadcasting could have been re-invigorated and its non-partisan pro-public role enhanced and entrenched legislatively while they were in power.
      I, like many others, failed to pay much attention because I disliked Labour’s residual soft neo-lib approach and I moved towards Green. And as well, for a long while Labour were popular with the MSM. Now, of course, we can see why.

      • Carol 13.1.1

        Unfortunately, because the neoliberal narrative successfully infiltrated the ratings driven MSM with a TINA attitude, left wing parties in countries like NZ, Aussie, Britain etc, found the only way to be electable was to adopt at least some of the neoliberal principles.

        You can see how much this philosophy has infiltrated the MSM, when they have 75c phone polls attached to a leaders’ debate on TV during an election – that is a blatant corruption of democratic principles and should have no place in the MSM coverage of election campaigns.

        I see it every budget day, when the news anchors promote their coverage by asking “What’s in it for YOU?”. It’s blatantly pandering to the extreme, consumerist individualism that came to dominate in neoliberal times. IMO, they should be asking, “Will this budget provide the best result for the country and all it’s residents?”

        I imagine the news anchors and writers think they are being neutral, while also trying to up their ratings. They are probably oblivious to the highly partisan assumptions lingering below the surface of their thinking.

        I am hoping that the international anti-capitalist/globalistion protests, followed by the occupy movement have been contributing the the building of an alternative, fairer and more sustainable narrative.

  13. How about this for a cloud and excuse me while I should really aggressively.


    Scuse me for shouting but this is really important. The TV3 story on this is at http://www.3news.co.nz/Early-voter-says-forms-are-biased/tabid/367/articleID/233954/Default.aspx

    • I will calm down now. It is because of section 150 of the Electoral Act 1993. It is all Penny Bright and Matthew Goode’s fault ; )

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      Interesting. The Electoral Commission says that it’s like that by law. The candidates listed in alphabetical order and then their parties next to them on the right hand side. Which would be fine – if it applied to all candidates/parties which it obviously doesn’t.

      • Carol 14.2.1

        Well the gap seems to be because some candidates, as listed in alphabetical order, don’t belong to a party. But it seems irrelevant to put the parties listed for the party vote beside the candidates from that party in the electorate vote.

        • Anne

          it seems irrelevant to put the parties listed for the party vote beside the candidates from that party in the electorate vote.

          Gotta give the Electoral Commission time to catch up with the voters. Look how long it took them to discover there’s weather on election day.

          • warren

            It’s an archaic hangover from the old FPP days. Get with the times, Electoral Commission!

  14. Drakula 15

    I am very disappointed with the total lack of information coming from the electoral commission.

    I live in the Selwyn electorate in the South Island and all I got was one sheet of A3 paper with the headings of the parties and candidates, that’s all!!! It doesn’t even mention the electorate they are standing in!!!

    Last election we got a little booklet that gave us information on the party, the candidate, the electorate the candidate is standing in and the views of each candidate.

    Something smells in the corner of Aotearoa, couldn’t those tapes be a deflection a smoke screen? I think it’s a set up.

  15. Deadly_NZ 16

    As a democratic country we should be able to see all pertinent information to the election, to hide this information must surely make the election null and void.

  16. randal 17

    the elctoral commission is another bunch of juvenile post modernists who think they know everything and if they dont know it then it doesnt matter.
    there is more to this than meets the eye.
    the place is being run by overgrown children.

  17. anne 18

    A post started ,as a democratic country,i read it as a ‘dramatic’ country,until i went back and read it again,lighter moments,we deserve these,however that fleeting thought will come into fruition
    if key wins tomorrow.
    If Key’s promise of “There will be much,much deeper and bigger cuts involving everyone in the
    next term” i can only see chaos following his cuts,and think of the days that labour was voted
    in to save the average joe.
    Our assets are under a cloud as Duetsche bank,Craigs Investments Timothy Geithner are all
    Goldman Sachs men and are involved with the sale of our assets,if national have ‘absolute power’
    then 100% sale is assured,he has said this.
    Key hides many policy details under the shroud that ‘the public dont need to know’
    Key’s joy of having power knows no bounds= dangerous.

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