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The fish rots from the head

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 pm, October 16th, 2013 - 91 comments

Today’s decision that John Banks will stand trial for signing a false donations return signals the beginning of the end of the Key government. Increasingly it resembles the last days of the Shipley government only worse, as corruption replaces shambles. The decision also puts the famous tea party conversation between Key and Banks, where they stitched up the deal to provide the present Government’s majority, into new perspective.

Dotcom on what Banks knew

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, October 15th, 2013 - 27 comments

The District Court is hearing evidence today as to whether John Banks should stand trial for signing a donations return that he knew to be false. Kim Dotcom has given evidence – the Herald reports that when he agreed to give Banks a donation of $50,000, Banks asked for it to be split and to be made anonymous., so that if Banks helped DotCom in the future it would not be known that he had donated to him.

Epsom by election?

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, May 3rd, 2013 - 73 comments

John Banks is in court to answer allegations over his Dotcom donations and electoral returns. If convicted he loses his seat. How would an Epsom by election play out?

Known unknowns

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 pm, September 12th, 2012 - 8 comments

My OIA request for the Police  file of their investigation into Banks’ anonymous donations arrived today. John Key had said the law would be changed if “they could find the time.” Today David Carter found the time to say the law will be tightened before the 2013 elections.It will be very important that all the lessons from this sorry affair can be properly considered  at select committee.

Know when to run

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 pm, September 3rd, 2012 - 21 comments

Key has gone for a gamble again; but not the gamble some of the pundits were expecting. On the asset sales, he’s chosen flight over fight. But the real problem the asset sales face now isn’t Maori action, it’s the state of the economy.

Banks case to Police lawyers

Written By: - Date published: 10:07 pm, July 5th, 2012 - 36 comments

The Police have concluded their investigation into John Banks’  donations to his 2010 mayoral campaign.  The Police legal section will now decide whether or not to prosecute. There are two tests; the evidential test and the public interest test. There is no question that if the evidence is sufficient, prosecution is in the public interest. It comes down to credibility – best decided in court.

The name’s on the cheque!

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 pm, April 30th, 2012 - 55 comments

Campbell Live showed us pictures of the Cheques by which Kim Dotcom’s company Megastuff made donations to Team Banksie 2010. How can John Banks argue that the two donations of $25,000 from Kim Dotcom’s company Megastuff Limited are anonymous when the company name is on the cheque? You could look up their address on the website. Game over, John and John.

Firewalls up in smoke

Written By: - Date published: 6:35 pm, April 30th, 2012 - 34 comments

David Cameron’s defence of embattled Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been called a “firewall” that’s failing to hold.

Cameron needs Hunt to stay or else Cameron is the next to go. It is the same for John Key.

As the stench of corruption around John Banks grows, he desperately needs him to stay or else all he loses legitimacy for asset sales and potentially his majority on the issue as well.

Policy for Money?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 pm, April 29th, 2012 - 13 comments

Party donations for the 2011 general election  will be published on Tuesday . One new provision in the Act provides for the declaration of the number of donations in two bands; $1500 to $5,000, and up to $15,000. It will be very interesting to see the number of upper level donations in National and ACT particularly. They could hide Banks-type split donations from asset-sale backers.

What the BSA said – Key on RadioLive

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, October 14th, 2011 - 112 comments

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has decided that Key’s hour-long promotional programme on RadioLive was not an election programme.

It will now be very interesting to see what the Electoral Commission decides in relation to advertising complaints.

What the Commission said – Key on RadioLive

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, October 11th, 2011 - 64 comments

Key’s staff spun to media that his Radio Live show was ok if he didn’t discuss politics, saying the station had received advice from the Electoral Commission that “political content’ could breach rules. That didn’t sound right to me, so I asked the Commission what they actually said.

Interesting elections #3 – recall in Wisconsin

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 pm, August 22nd, 2011 - 2 comments

The recall elections in Wisconsin over Governor Walker’s attempt to remove collective bargaining for public servants had it all – Republicans running fake Democrats in primaries, massive spending by faceless outside bodies, and two Republican senators losing their seats in the subsequent ballot. Democrats did not succeed in overturning the Wisconsin Senate majority for  Walker’s Republicans, but it is down to one and there is one Republican who voted against the anti-union law.

Electioneering on the public dime?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, June 29th, 2011 - 48 comments

According to Audrey Young: “National and Act, the parties that kicked up a stink in Opposition about Labour’s taxpayer-funded election advertising, are engaging in their own taxpayer-funded binge this month”…

Broadcasting allocations

Written By: - Date published: 3:20 pm, June 1st, 2011 - 21 comments

No Right Turn asks an interesting set of questions about the state allocation of  broadcast media time.

“..if we think TV and radio broadcasting is so influential that it must be restricted to produce a level playing field between parties – which I agree with – why do we allocate it so it produces the opposite?”

Democracy Under Attack!!!

Written By: - Date published: 10:15 am, December 21st, 2010 - 22 comments

I couldn’t let the last of the year slip away without a fond farewell to the good old Electoral Finance Act.  Last week the government passed its replacement legislation.  It tweaks some thresholds, but retains the principles and much of the substance of Labour’s EFA.  But this time there is no “Democracy Under Attack” campaign.  I wonder why…

Spending Brown

Written By: - Date published: 2:41 pm, December 13th, 2010 - 49 comments

ACT, through Rodney (who’s so careful with the taxpayer’s money) and Jami-Lee Ross, are trying to make an issue with Len Brown’s spending.  I’m shocked…

Where in the world is Wong?

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 am, November 24th, 2010 - 61 comments

Two Friday’s ago, corrupt Nat Pansy Wong resigns as minister. Key tells her not to talk to media. As if she can’t remember her own overseas trips. Gives her a week’s leave. Wong disappears. Week’s up – no Wong. Where is she? Mallard’s heard she’s overseas. Fundraising for the Nats. Is she using her travel perk?

Meet the new EFA same as the old EFA

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, November 23rd, 2010 - 66 comments

In developing their replacement for the EFA the Nats have decided to limit what lobby groups can spend on election campaigning — despite strongly objecting to limits in 2008.  Interesting how the responsibilities of government mean that the Nats have to repudiate so much of their irresponsible opposition rhetoric!  But some of their spinsters are still stuck in the past…

Electoral finance reform in NSW Parliament

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 pm, November 18th, 2010 - 9 comments

The NSW Parliament has just passed passed the Election Funding and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2010. It includes donations capped at $5,000 for parties and $2,000 for candidates and third parties, all donations over $1,000 declared, caps on expenditure for parties, candidates and third parties, reimbursement of election spending up to a reasonable limit, and provision of funding for policy development.

National’s donation spin

Written By: - Date published: 2:03 pm, July 17th, 2010 - 30 comments

National is claiming its donations are strong but the numbers tell another story all together.

With an election possible within 12 months, National needs to scare up some cash – and quick.

Fixing the election date

Written By: - Date published: 7:23 am, July 17th, 2010 - 10 comments

Pundit writer and legal academic Andrew Geddis has been doing some important work on electoral law, including contributions to the select committee that is looking at the 2011 referendum on MMP and the reform of campaign funding practices. You should head on over to Pundit and have a look.

Electoral Reform Needs Fixing

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, June 5th, 2010 - 5 comments

Two Electoral Reform bills are currently accepting submissions, and each contain one particularly large flaw. Firstly, as I commented on the Electoral (Finance Reform and Advance Voting) Amendment Bill: getting rid of the 3 month election period is a very dangerous move. National have now decided that the election period only starts on the day […]

On GEO group, conservative politicians, lobbyist groups, and prisons

Written By: - Date published: 11:06 am, May 2nd, 2010 - 9 comments

In Florida, a legislative plan to close as many as five state prisons and ship inmates to a private prison run by GEO Group was scaled back last month.

The feds may be searching to see if former state House Speaker Sansom received any kickbacks from the company. The GEO group are also contenders for running private prisons here.

Power pulls a swifty on electoral finance

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 pm, April 30th, 2010 - 25 comments

The Electoral Finance (Reform) Bill contains a major change from what had been previously indicated. The regulated period for limiting election expenditure could be as little as six weeks. This is effectively a 50% increase in the expenditure cap.

It looks like a swifty by Simon Power tilting the election playing field.

Electoral finance reform hohum?

Written By: - Date published: 2:53 pm, February 17th, 2010 - 11 comments

I’ve been looking for feedback on Simon Power’s electoral finance reform package but I can’t find anything from Labour. After the hell that rained down on them over the EFA (much of it richly deserved) I can only assume that Labour thinks National’s got it about right.

More dodgy fundraising by ACT

Written By: - Date published: 8:54 am, October 22nd, 2009 - 13 comments

The ever industrious No Right Turn has turned up more dodgy fundraising practices by ACT. Last month, three ACT MPs held what was billed as “a forum” on “the hard questions – and some answers” at the plush Mecure Leisure Lodge in Dunedin. Three strikes, VSM, local government, and smacking were discussed. People were invited […]

Oldest trick in the book

Written By: - Date published: 5:49 am, October 14th, 2009 - 7 comments

How do you get someone to change their mind about something they like? Simple, find one negative element to it (nothing is perfect) and blow it into a major issue. Nick Smith knows how to do this, he’s built a career on it. Now, he’s trying to make compensation payments to criminals the issue in […]

When you wake up to the fact your paper is Tory

Written By: - Date published: 2:43 pm, September 30th, 2009 - 29 comments

Hilarious reading through the Herald’s Your Views on election funding. Seems the Herald’s meek acceptance of the Government’s electoral funding plans has alerted a few of their readers to the fact they were duped by the paper’s blatant political advocacy for National last year. Here’s what Jay of Swanson had to say: I am gobsmacked […]

Electoral finance: the proposal document that didn’t

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, September 29th, 2009 - 7 comments

Rob Salmond Yesterday Simon Power released the Government’s Proposal Document about how to reform electoral finance. On the easy issues, he got it vaguely right. That is a start, at least. So we’ll have one electoral agency instead of three (good), we’ll keep the rules about political donations first proposed in the Electoral Finance Act […]

Flexible Farrar

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, September 29th, 2009 - 30 comments

If DPF doesn’t practice Yoga already I think he should take it up. He’d be a natural. He’s so damn flexible! I’ve had occasion to comment on this once before. But for the EFA we see DPF lowering the bar of consistency to unbelievable depths, and limboing right on down. The Electoral Finance Act (EFA). […]

Power’s electoral finance reform proposals out

Written By: - Date published: 2:39 pm, September 28th, 2009 - 32 comments

Justice Minister Simon Power has released the Government’s proposals for reform of electoral finance law. Remember, Labour’s reforms of electoral finance law were branded an assault on democracy and free speech by National and its affiliates like the Herald. There were protests in the streets (oddly, at the Wellington one, most of the several dozen […]

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