Electoral Finance Act victory for free speech

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, July 30th, 2008 - 8 comments
Categories: dpf, election funding, national, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The Electoral Commission has ruled that several unions affiliated to the Labour Party are able to register as third parties under the Electoral Finance Act. Their registration was objected to initally by David Farrar, the National Party frontperson who is the principal behind the registered third party known, ironically, as the Free Speech Coalition.

The National Party then objected to the Commission’s original decision to register them on a legal technicality. National’s objection was upheld by the High Court, and the decision returned to the Commission.

It is encouraging to see that common sense is finally coming to the fore as the election nears and the Chicken Littles of the world such as Farrar are exposed.

Perhaps Farrar’s third party should be renamed as the “Free Speech (if it’s for National) Coalition.” It would be a more accurate description.

8 comments on “Electoral Finance Act victory for free speech”

  1. MikeE 1

    How of earth is it a victory for free speech if you have to register and get approval to say something?

  2. djp 2


    It is encouraging to see that common sense is finally coming to the fore as the election nears and the Chicken Littles of the world such as Farrar are exposed.

    Sure if you define:
    common sense = “the law does not apply to us”

  3. djp. The law has applied to the unions and it has been interpretted correctly – the EC’s decision is the one even a medicore first year law student would have come to (heaven knows why they went off on the ‘only applies to natural persons’ red herring in the first place). I know you’re upset that democratic voluntary organisations represnting hundreds of thousands of working Kiwis will have a transparent and open voice in the coming elections but tell you what, harden up.

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    How on earth is it a victory for free speech if you have to register and get approval to say something?

    What’s free about speech you need to pay $12,000+ for?

    Cap – mutely aggregate – that was Farrar’s gameplan, methinks.

  5. r0b 5

    How of earth is it a victory for free speech if you have to register and get approval to say something?

    You can say anything you like. If you want to say it real loud (spend more than $12K) then you need to be honest about who is speaking, that’s all. Otherwise NZ ends up with the kind of duplicitous secret campaigns that cost the last National Party leader his job.

    So think of it as kind of workplace safety legislation for National party leaders. Since they couldn’t keep it honest themselves, this helps them to do so, and therefore keep their jobs.

  6. djp 6

    steve,


    The law has applied to the unions and it has been interpretted correctly – the EC’s decision is the one even a medicore first year law student would have come to

    Well that is your opinion. I think farrar has a good case (one example is where Andrew little says “we are represented at all levels in the party, at electorate committees, at some of the national committees, on the New Zealand Council, we’ll continue to do that”).


    I know you’re upset that democratic voluntary organisations represnting hundreds of thousands of working Kiwis will have a transparent and open voice in the coming elections but tell you what, harden up.

    No its not that. I was just looking forward to Labour and thier allies being in the crossfire of their own law (im with Sir Bob, the EFA is a pig of a law and an affront to democracy in NZ)

  7. Swampy 7

    “The law has applied to the unions and it has been interpretted correctly – the EC’s decision is the one even a medicore first year law student would have come to (heaven knows why they went off on the ‘only applies to natural persons’ red herring in the first place)”

    But didn’t the EPMU go to court in the first case to argue that, in effect, such a definition should stand?

  8. Swampy 8

    “So think of it as kind of workplace safety legislation for National party leaders. Since they couldn’t keep it honest themselves, this helps them to do so, and therefore keep their jobs.”

    Like nonsense, Brash lost his job because Mister Key was lapping at his heels, and a whole lot more besides.

    For most National voters, I doubt that the issue of the EB has registered in the slightest, and Brash’s huge achievement in turning National around after Bill English’s disastrous form in 2002 is generally overlooked.

    The issue of the 2005 campaign did not require the Electoral Finance Act, it was all well discussed long before that piece of tacky legislation was even thought of. Quite simply, Labour has created a solution that a problem barely exists for. There is very little evidence whatsoever that having access to large sums of money will guarantee a certain result in an election. The Act party has spent more per vote than any other party by a long way, yet has got very poor value for money in its electoral results, for example.

    Simply put, the EFA represented another opportunity for Labour to keep beating the drum on Nicky Hager’s breathless drivel and milk it for maximum publicity, as well as take another walk down its well trodden predictable path of the unions attacking big business, yadda yadda.

    It’s interesting that the boot was on the other foot in regards Hager in the 2002 campaign.

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