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Flexible Farrar

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, September 29th, 2009 - 28 comments
Categories: dpf, election funding, flip-flop, scoundrels - Tags: ,


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). If you recall it was introduced by the last government, and backed by a majority of parties right up until the final reading. According to DPF (and his troll farm) it was an attack on democracy!, the rise of a fascist dictatorship!!, the end of the world!!!, and so on. Who could forget his Free Speech Coalition and the witty billboards (like the one above) that did so much to raise the tone of political debate in this country. (See the man himself defending them here). Ahhh, good times.

It can’t be nearly as much fun for DPF now that he has to spin for a government and so is at least somewhat constrained by the laws of common sense. Simon Power has released National’s revised version of the EFA. Let’s wait and see as the pundits digest it, but at first glance it appears not so different from the version it replaced. Certainly DPF’s more consistent ideological buddies are spewing. National Socialists Sell Out Again!:

The National-led Government’s draft proposals for legislation to replace the vicious Electoral Finance Act make one wonder why National bothered keeping its much-vaunted promise to repeal that Act, since what is proposed by Justice Minister Simon Power is in many instances indistinguishable from what was, says SOLO Principal Lindsay Perigo.

National to reintroduce EFA-lite:

Remember the protests over Labour’s Electoral Finance Act? Remember the wriggling by Greens and Labour supporters attempting to justify this outrageous assault on free speech? Remember the campaigns against it by the Free Speech Coalition and John Boscawen? Remember all the heroes? … Remember it well, because it was all for naught … Your democracy is still under attack, this time by the people who said they were going to protect it. Which is the biggest betrayal, do you think?

Poor DPF doesn’t get to play, because it’s his job to bend over backwards to sell the party line: “Overall it is a good document”. Yup – that’s it. As DPF’s pissed off buddies chastise him: “Apparently it’s only bad when Labour promotes such things”. From death of democracy to “a good document”. Not with a bang but a whimper. Now that’s flexibility!

28 comments on “Flexible Farrar”

  1. Tigger 1

    Farrar is as out of date and irrelevant as his byline “Fomenting Happy Mischief since 2003”. An apologist for the system, as he has become, doesn’t foment mischief…he justifies the status quo.

    I hadn’t ready a Perigo piece for a while. Good to see he’s as strident as ever! I don’t agree with him at all but I have to admire his passion.

    • Daveo 1.1

      I love how Perigo’s website is called “Solo Passion” – a tacit admission that libertarians are wankers if ever I saw one.

      Also hilarious how Perigo and the libertarianz are always putting out press releases lecturing Obama or calling mainstream NZ politicians Nazis. Have any of these press releases ever been picked up by anyone? Who do they suppose is reading them?

  2. sigh 2

    Poor big fulla. Not been a nice week for him what with this and having to defend Bill English’s rorting of the taxpayer sheesh see how defensive he gets on his comment thread on that one. Just can’t believe this was the same guy who cried blue murder every time a government/supporting MP last term did anything remotely dodgy, yet he is willing to eat whatever crap is served when it comes to his little blue heroes. I see he even has a huge hard on over a sniff of Owen Glen today, yet when it comes to Bill, it’s all apparently a matter of ‘perception’.

    The sad thing is he doesn’t even know they all laugh at him behind his back – useful idiot I think is the term.

  3. tc 3

    It just gets better and better…..Maori selling out their people and the land over ETS, Flat earthers ACT shafting the environment/auckland/anyone reasonable, JK reading lettermans scriptwriters lame gags whilst leaving Blinglish hanging, no tax cuts/cycleway and now no reform of the evil EFA or S59.
    Copenhagen should be another international ticking off for JK…..a new and uncomfortable top 10 awaits you there Johnny.
    As long as Goff pulls his head in, keeps the message simple and stops talking like a lawyer, or apologising for doing the right thing there’s every chance this will be a single term govt that doesn’t get to wreck too much more before they get tossed out.
    A perfect result would see ACT gone in 2011 also after the Nat’s shaft them over supershity and they do the tri annual dummy spit in an attempt to distance themselves from the pile of dung they helped create.
    Don’t expect any reasonable media summary of this…..it’s over the kids heads.

  4. scotty 4

    Deleted. Let’s keep it focused on the issues.

  5. I have been totally consistent on electoral issues. I doubt you can find one specific issue where I have advocated something different today compared to two years ago.

    [Two years ago you described the EFA as an attack on democracy and put out ludicrous billboards comparing the Labour government to a Fijian dictator. Now you describe the legislation, unchanged in many important respects, as “a good document”. And you have been “totally consistent on electoral issues”? What does the word “consistent” mean in your dictionary? The other EFA opponents cited in the original post have been consistent. You are consistent only in the sense that you exist to spin for National. Anyway – sorry I interrupted – you were busy explaining…]

    First of all you miss the entire point that this Government is consulting people on the policy for any law changes. This in fact is the second round of consultation. Plus there have been public meetings, a seminar and extensive multi-party consultations. This is how people are meant to change electoral law.

    To compare that to the EFB which was negotiated in secret between Labour, the Greens and Winston is the first failing. There was no public consultation at all on the policy before the bill was introduced.

    People forget how awful the EFB was. [The EFA is not the EFB David, you’re just trying to obfuscate. The EFB was revised into the EFA as a result of the public consultation process that you claim didn’t happen.] It would have outlawed e-mailing someone your opinion on a policy issue unless you filed a statutory declaration with your ISP. The Human Rights Commission, chaired by a leading unionist, condemned it as a breach of human rights and said it should be withdrawn – as did many other groups.

    Also worth remembering the EFB did not include any significant new transparency on donations. That was added in later.

    The EFA was better than the EFB but still very flawed. The Electoral Commission formally said it had a chilling effect on political participation. [For reasons, it appears at this stage, that the revised EFA does not seem to change.] So some of my criticisms were shared by the HRC and the EC (along with well dozens of other groups).

    The EFA was repealed earlier this year. Labour voted for repeal apologising for the EFA and saying it was a mistake. [Labour did not say that the goals of the EFA were mistake, only that their process was wrong and the result imperfect and too complicated] So again hey I am bloody proud what side of the debate I was on. [Are you equally proud of your tactics?] The one everyone from Phil Goff down is now on except for few holdouts here, plus the Greens.

    What Simon Power has released is a proposal document. Not only does it generally propose significantly more freedom than the old EFA (let alone the abortion that was the EFB) it proposes in some areas more freedom than the existing EA.

    Yes there are some options in there I am uncomfortable with such as a 1 May start to a regulated period. [Are you planning a billboard campaign?]But again you guys just do not understand the right way to do electoral law reform. Part of the responsibility of being in Government is including options the Opposition has advocated, even if you are not that keen on them.

    While there will of course be disagreements on aspects of electoral law, such a levels for donation disclosure, it is vital that electoral law not be unilaterally changed by the winner, without consultation, as some sort of winner takes all trophy. Within reason there should be good faith efforts to get consensus because it is a lose-lose having parties saying the electoral rules have been gerrymandered by the Government.

    Now here’s a challenge for you guys. Why not do what I did and actually blog on the issues around electoral law reform. Do you or do you not think the (for example) Greens should be able to spending their “broadcasting” allocation on non broadcast media? Do you think the Greens should be able to choose to purchase additional broadcast time beyond what they are allocated, so long as they stay within an overall spending cap? Do you think it would be better for all parties to have the same spending cap as the current law effectively gives National and Labour a much larger spending cap than smaller parties due to the broadcast allocation.

    [I don’t like sticking comments in other people’s text as I have here, but as DPF does this all the time on his blog I figured that he wouldn’t mind. — r0b]

    • Mike 5.1

      Wow, that got a bite.

      • Tigger 5.1.1

        David, I respect you coming here to argue your case but this very post proves my point – you are a promoter of the government . There’s nothing wrong with being pro-government. Until last year I was pro-government and proud of it. But you are not ‘fomenting mischief’. You’re ‘the man’ now, not a child throwing stones from the sidelines. Time to grow up, lose the by-line and get on with doing what you do well, which is running the government’s arguments for them.

        • David Farrar

          Tigger – you confuse (or disagree) the difference between being broadly supportive and unfailingly supportive.

          Of course it is no surprise I approve of most of what a National Government does.

          But that does not mean I will not criticise the stuff I do not like, In fact I have been one of the more vocal critics of the proposed changes to transport laws, and in a minor way contributed to a backdown (ie Minister knocking officials heads together) yesterday on the GPS on phones issue.

          On the issue of electoral law, I was planning to be broadly supportive of what Labour produced in 2007, and even said so publicly. The old EA had significant flaws in it, which I wanted fixed and I supported more transparency around donations.

          But the EFB (not the EFA) really was that bad that I quickly concluded that it should not survive first reading.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      First of all you miss the entire point that this Government is consulting people on the policy for any law changes.

      No it’s not, it’s ignoring them ie, the supershitty. Hell, they even made sure democracy couldn’t apply in that case by removing the right to referendum that Aucklanders had and they did that under urgency to ensure that they didn’t have to listen.

      Just another RWNJ where fact is ignored in favour of delusion that supports your little beliefs.

  6. Lew 6

    I think I can say with some certainty that neither DPF nor Perigo would consider the other an ‘ideological buddy’ of any sort.


  7. StephenR 7

    Haha yes Lew I was thinking the same, it’s a ludicrous suggestion really. The very few times i’ve been over ‘there’ (libertarian land) DPF has occasionally been described as ‘fan of big government David Farrar’.

    Those righties are aaaaall the same.

  8. Craig Glen Eden 8

    Its all clear to me now John Key is creating Policy due to DF influence. DF you are indeed the man no wonder John does not need Bill.

    Bill on the other hand is taking direction from John Armstrong ” Its not to late Bill give the money back and don’t take any more Buddy” HMMMMM.

    Rankin advises Bennett and the reason John Keys relaxed about it is……. he is always on holiday. When it all goes bad blame Helen. What a bunch of winners!

  9. felix 9

    Lew and StephenR,

    True in general, but on the issue of the EFA they were definitely “ideological buddies” – or at least that’s how Farrar positioned himself.

    The truth is that the real libs actually believe all that guff about Helen Clark being equivalent to H*tler and Mug*be, whereas Farrar just cynically borrowed their ideology as a convenient tool with which to attack Clark and Labour.

    Doesn’t mean it should be any easier for him to backtrack on it now though.

    edit: r0b (as usual) says this far more succinctly above.

    • ben 9.1

      The truth is that the real libs actually believe all that guff about Helen Clark being equivalent to H*tler and Mug*be

      Yeah. That’s what we believe. Modern liberals basically can’t tell the difference. Thanks for clarifying.

  10. BLiP 10

    Hasn’t been a particularly good start to the week for Farrar’s mate Blubber Boy, either. Watch here as Blubber Boy spins the positive for Bahtshitnagar’s proposal to close Auckland down at 11pm and compare with here where the proposal turns out to be “daft”.

    The sickening thing has been watching Bhatshitnagar blame the staff for his own failings.


  11. StephenR 11

    True in general, but on the issue of the EFA they were definitely “ideological buddies’ or at least that’s how Farrar positioned himself.

    Libertarians *hate* electoral spending legislation full stop – don’t think DPF is or has ever been in that camp. Could be wrong.

  12. burt 12


    Can you point me to any comments you made condemning the anti democratic nature of the EFB/EFA ?

    I’ve searched but can’t find anything remotely resembling discontent with either the law itself or the process that Labour used.

    • r0b 12.1

      I’ve searched but can’t find anything remotely resembling discontent with either the law itself or the process that Labour used.

      Searched did you – yes I’m sure. What’s the point Burt? You’re one of the most partisan and narrow minded people I’ve ever “met” – I’ll supply you with this evidence and it won’t make any difference. Two days later you’ll be claiming on another thread that I’m a mindless Labour lackey who never criticises Labour and never spoke out against the EFA and so on and on. Really – what’s the point?

      In full knowledge of the utter futility of trying to clutter your head with actual facts, here’s a few that I found. Here:

      Clearly the EFB was drafted hastily and in its original form it has faults. These have been pointed out in public feedback to the select committee, who are moving to correct the faults.

      Now we wait and see what comes out of that process. Call me a quaint old optimist (or a Liarbore hack whatever you like) I’m prepared to wait and see patiently. Others (DPF et al.) would rather use this time to drum up hysteria, as it suits their anti government agenda. They’re pretty good at it too.

      But have a little faith in NZ’s democratic mechanisms eh? Let’s see the final form of this legislation. If it turns out to be an evil attack on free speech, then I’ll join you on the barricades comrade.


      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.


      I’ve said previously that I think there are problems with the EFB in its current draft form. And while The Herald has certainly gone a bit overboard here with the scaremongering (and auto gratification), we should at least look on the bright side. It’s good to see a robust media taking on perceived injustice. (If only the American media were one tenth so brave eh?) We will certainly want this level of ummm zeal if the worst happens and we do get a National government next year. Shudder.


      Most democracies have legislation that sets limits on spending for political advocacy. We do too. Now you might want to argue that the limit of $120,000 is too low, and I might even agree with you, but you can’t argue on the basis of per member costs, without destroying the concept of meaningful limits utterly.


      “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.


      “OK. I’m confused. Are you saying that it is reasonable that a person with a megaphone should disclose who he or she is (as the law presently requires)’
      I’m not sure what John A thinks. Speaking for myself I find that suggestion very silly indeed.

    • burt 12.2


      That is marginally critical of the initial drafting. Interesting you also couldn’t find anything resembling disapproval with the process that it was eventually passed with. Guess as long as National have one round of consultation then anything goes according to the standard you approved of from Labour.

      • r0b 12.2.1

        That’s exactly what I expected from you Burt. It takes a big person to admit when they were wrong, and you were never going to manage it. Ta ta Burty.

      • burt 12.2.2

        You are right about that little rOb.

      • burt 12.2.3


        There are hundreds of links with you defending the EFA for what it achieved and the process used. Do you want to admit you were myopic on this or shall I start adding in links and quotes ?

  13. toad 13

    I see that over at the Dim Post Flexible Farrar has chimed in backing Lindsay Mitchell’s op ed in today’s Herald on her usual topic of attacking the welfare system.

    He might want to rethink his support for her after reading my response to it. In just two sentences she scores a hat trick for inaccuracy.

    Oh, but never mind the facts, just feel the ideology.

  14. ben 14

    No wonder this blog is heading south at such a rapid rate. Once again you write in defiance of reality. That reality is i) you are guilty of what you accuse Farrar of, and ii) every other day Farrar publicly disagrees with National and publicly agrees with something Labour or Greens have said or done.

    He gives us his opinion. You relentlessly and largely uselessly toe the party line and hope nobody will notice.

    Have some shame.

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