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Follow the money

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, January 14th, 2008 - 76 comments
Categories: election funding - Tags:

I see Shadbolt is back on the blackmail bandwagon again with today’s Herald claiming he’s aiming to break the Electoral Finance Act (though I’m still not entirely sure why as the last time I checked the EFA and the EFTS system shared nothing other than their first two letters). The thing is neither the Herald, who amusingly fail to get the name of the act right, or any other news outlet I’ve seen have followed the first rule of journalism and asked where the money is coming from.

So I guess I will – Tim who’s paying for these ads? Is it the SIT, is it the council, are you paying for them yourself or is the money coming from elsewhere?

I’d assume from the para

His advertising would be done in his personal capacity, rather than as mayor, to protect the chief executive of Invercargill District Council from legal action.

that you’re gonna foot the bill yourself but I’d really like some clarification on that. After all good electoral finance law is about transparency and that means knowing who’s paying the piper. Surely we can all agree on that?

76 comments on “Follow the money”

  1. the sprout 1

    “Tim who’s paying for these ads? Is it the SIT, is it the council, are you paying for them yourself or is the money coming from elsewhere?”

    good question IB. perhaps a formal letter to Mr Shadbolt and cc’d to the Ombudsmen asking just that would be fruitful?

  2. IrishBill 2

    I agree sprout, this year the right is going to be ramping up their “repeat the lie” tactics and it’s going to be important for the left to disarm their spin at every given opportunity.

  3. Phil 3

    Sounds to me fairly clear that he’s paying for this with his own dosh… but the SIT is getting an afwul lot of free advertising, maybe they should pay for some of it (or at least give Tim an Honorary Doctorate)

  4. the sprout 4

    it would be very useful to get that sort of declaration on paper from Tim.

    you’re right IB – fighting it will require a frustrating attention to refuting each repeat of each lie every time they surface. it’ll be laborious but necessary.

  5. j 6

    I think that it shows the absurdity of our political punditry that no one seems to want to examine the strength of Shadbolts claims and are more concerned with his claims that he is, (or will be) silenced.

    This focus may actually have some validity if he actually found himself silenced for his views.His views are very well known.It is obvious that Tim is actually testing the law to gain increased focus for his regions share of national taxes.

    His freedom of speech was never in question,he can make that arguement all year.What was in question is his third party advocation of a change of government.Who the fuck is Tim Shadbolt to inform the country to vote National at such volume?

    For what reason does the screaming of his political concerns outweigh any other citizens concerns. And the irony is a National Government could very well be detrimental to the economic health of our poorest most uneducated citizens? Where are their billboards and newspaper ads?

    …and the big question, how the hell would a National Government help him? As far as I understand they have no interest in his problem , solving it would be in direct conflict with the tight public purse policy they identify themselves with.Has anybody asked them?

    Tim Shadbolt – boldly enjoying his freedom of speech , trying to distort third party advocacy laws for the glory of his own selfish political career. I’m sure there are problems in Southland worthy of considerable discussion but this is no way to go about it. Stretching a good law and advocating irrational political change in order to get headlines for a subject that should be discussed on the strength or weaknesses of its owm merits.

  6. Matthew Pilott 7

    I think Tim is refusing to register so that he can break the law without hgavign to spend too much – $120k is quite a lot of money for the ordinary citizen.

    His incompetance is actually counteracting his intentions – if he signed as a third party, he’d probably be within the law. Given it’s free and simple to sign up, he’s breaking the law for the point of breaking the law – not because it is wrong, or preventing him from acting.

    Ergo, Shadbolt is a Flaming Muppet.

  7. Santi 8

    “Given it’s free and simple to sign up, he’s breaking the law for the point of breaking the law..”

    Your obedience of every Labour dictum is pathetic. Whatever risible laws they pass, you obey.

    Ergo, Matthew Pilott is a Brainless Follower.

  8. j 9

    Santi,

    Please tell us what Shadbolt is trying to say that has been suppressed. If he didn’t advocate a National Government, a party that doesn’t even support his politics this wouldn’t be a legal issue.

    His advocation of a political party is the problem here , (and that’s not actually outlawed , it’s just regulated after a bunch of gods servants abused the hell out of the laws last time and screwed up what up till then had been a pretty useful channel. A $1,000,000 spent to give god the government he wants.WTF.

    Anyway Santi debate the issue, should Tim get the taxpayers money he wants? What are your views on this?

  9. Santi 10

    “His advocation of a political party is the problem here, (and that’s not actually outlawed , it’s just regulated..”

    You said yourself (unmasking yourself along the way), j.

    The issue at stake is Tim’s desire to say whatever he wants to say without any limit whatsoever. It’s called freedom of speech and has nothing to do with the amount of money involved.

    All this obviously does not coincide with your Labourite views.

  10. BeShakey 11

    “The issue at stake is Tim’s desire to say whatever he wants to say without any limit whatsoever.
    All this obviously does not coincide with your Labourite views.”

    Nor does it coincide with the views of National. Or ACT. Or even the Republicans from that bastion of free speech the USA.

  11. Is this the same Tim Shadbolt that has to register to stand as a Mayoral candidate, has to ensure every election ad is authorised, fill in a donations return and election expenses return every Local Government Election. Isn’t that the very thing he is now complaining about – apparently these measure deny him free speech! It hasn’t stopped him standing for Mayor of Invercargill several times…

  12. j 13

    Great point Beshakey. Santi reread it.

    Santi,

    You haven’t answered my question.Tim wants more tax dollars. Should he get them? What are your views on this?

    “The issue at stake is Tim’s desire to say whatever he wants to say without any limit whatsoever.” – santi

    He can say whatever he wants. He just can’t campaign for the National Party in election year unless he follows laws that are common all over firstworld democracies.

    These laws are in place to protect the weight of the prinicple of one citizen, one vote.

    It is a principle that is more important than the capping of Tims fiscal ability to support a well funded and publicised political party, a party that already recieves an incredible amount of money and airtime.TIM DOESN’T EVEN KNOW NATIONALS POLICY ON HIS PROBLEM.FFS.

    The issue of education funding in Southland has not been suppressed. What are your views on it? Does it warrant Shadbolt breaking laws when he could draw just as much reasonable attention to it by campaigning on the issue at hand and not on the limitations of chequebook party advocacy.Why should shadbolt be able to play with our laws just to get himself more attention and more taxpayers money for his political desires?

    Why aren’t the National Party confirming hsi beliefs that they will let him keep his funding? Why aren’t journalists doing their job? A free enquiring media is one of the backbones of freedom.

  13. j 14

    Tony Milne smacks a six, brillant post.

  14. Is this the same Tim Shadbolt that has to register to stand as a Mayoral candidate… etc

    Yes, that one – the one who doesn’t think the same registration burden applying to someone standing for office should apply to a private citizen expressing a political opinion. Why exactly does Labour imagine it should?

    Who the fuck is Tim Shadbolt to inform the country to vote National at such volume?

    Uh, yeah – how could we possibly have imagined you guys have a bad attitude towards freedom of speech?

  15. j 16

    “to a private citizen expressing a political opinion.”

    He’s expressed that opinion , we all know it, what’s the secret, let’s debate it Milt? What do you think of his funding bid? There’s no suppression on this debate.What do you think of his funding bid?

    If you actually talked to the issue we could help him solve it. Lets’s talk, lets free speak about tim shadbot and his education empire.

    Tim wants to spend a whole bunch of money on supporting national, that’s the no -no. That’s an issue all western democracies face. A finite campaign period that is designed for a cross section of views and opinions , not just huge “iwi/kiw” two party marketing campaigns.

    The dumb reality here is tim is asking us to vote for a party that isn’t even going to help him. I can’t feel sorry for a lawbreaker who intentionally set out to let the law trip him up.Tim has free speech on funding!!!!

    What do you think of his funding bid?

  16. Daveo 17

    Yes, that one – the one who doesn’t think the same registration burden applying to someone standing for office should apply to a private citizen expressing a political opinion. Why exactly does Labour imagine it should?

    But private citizens merely expressing a political opinion aren’t affected by the legislation at all. It’s only when they start spending thousands of dollars to influence our political system that they become third parties and are required to register and limit their spending to $120,000. Even then, they can still say whatever they like, they just can’t purchase more than $120,000 of paid speech.

    I really don’t understand why there’s opposition to this concept. As the 2005 election showed, without caps on third party expenditure the party spending cap is meaningless. To advocate the abolition of third party spending restrictions means you’re actually advocating the end of any campaign spending restrictions – and that’s a position far to the right of even National.

  17. But hang on, Fairfax reported that he past a motion at his last council meeting that read “That this council strongly oppose funding cuts for the Southern Institute of Technology”.

    And then it has been found out that the Audit committee, which of course does not have all the councillors on it, agreed to fund some of his advirtising, which came out of the councils contengency fund.

    So the council is forking out for some of his campaign when really he is running an anti-Labour campaign not generally opposing the funding cut.

  18. Matthew Pilott 19

    Santi, you missed my point (although that’s not exactly without precedent…), Shaddolt’s free speech isn’t being violated, he is voluntarily making it so by refusing to register. Therefore, his speech isn’t being viloated.

    I’ll make it simple for you – it’s like refusing to open your mouth, then claiming that the government is silencing you.

    …a private citizen expressing a political opinion. (or pressure/lobby group, or any sort of third party with $120,000… Would it be better to make it more complex, by having separate regimes to apply to different types of groups/individuals? I wouldn’t have thought so – but it’s impossible to please everyone.)

  19. “After all good electoral finance law is about transparency and that means knowing who’s paying the piper.”

    Labour deliberately allowed anonymous donations to continue, so either you disagree with your own statment above, or you don’t think the EFA is a good electoral finance law.

    p.s: you’re captcha system sucks. it appears to accept a comment even if you don’t complete the captcha. then it doesn’t show up, and when you go to enter it again it says you’ve already said that comment – even though it didn’t show up.

  20. j 21

    “Labour deliberately allowed anonymous donations to continue.”

    That’s a part of the legislation I’m not happy about too, that should have changed as far as I can see but i assume if we have agreement on that the rest of the law has merit?

  21. So, in summing up: your free speech isn’t restricted, you just have to register with the authorities to express it, and be careful not to express it too widely. Why, it’s enough to warm an old authoritarian’s heart – too bad I’m not one.

    j: the facts that Shadbolt is stupidly asking for taxpayer funding so he can continue to undercut competing tertiary institutions, and even more stupidly imagines National might be more likely to pay up than Labour, are completely unrelated to the point of principle under discussion. What I think of his funding bid should be clear enough from the above, but the fact is he’s entitled to promote his opinion even if it is a particularly stupid one.

  22. j 23

    “but the fact is he’s entitled to promote his opinion even if it is a particularly stupid one.”

    absolutely brother, i agree.

    He just can’t be a bagmen for National that’s all. They are allocated more than enough resources to get their message across. ..But he can promote an issue and he can ask political parties to present policy on that issue. Which is what should be happening now.

  23. Matthew Pilott 24

    Psycho Milt, free speech is not restricted, your ability to disseminate an opinion by means of paid advertising is. That’s quite a big distinction.

    Might not warm an authoritarian’s heart, but could give a slight chill to those who recieve revenue from advetising – I wonder what got the Herald so worked up anyway…?

  24. Daveo 25

    So, in summing up: your free speech isn’t restricted, you just have to register with the authorities to express it, and be careful not to express it too widely.

    No, you don’t have to register with the ‘authorities’ in order to express an opinion. That’s free to anyone.

    It’s if you want to become a party to the election by spending thousands on paid political advertising that you have to register with the Electoral Commission and limit your advertising spend to $120,000.

    Your mistake is to conflate spending with speech.

  25. Phil 26

    J

    “Who the fuck is Tim Shadbolt to inform the country [how] to vote…?”

    I suspect, as someone with a great deal of time spent ‘on the inside’ of the political circus, he is vastly more qualified to tell the country how to vote than, say, Sam Neill or Michael Campbell

  26. Robinsod 27

    Bro, Shadbolt’s not inside the circus and hasn’t been for a long time – he’s a provincial mayor who’s got a cushy $130k figurehead position that lets him take all the “fact finding trips” he needs to stop the boredom destroying the parts of his brain the decades of heavy potsmoking have left behind.

  27. j 28

    “I suspect, as someone with a great deal of time spent ‘on the inside’ of the political circus, he is vastly more qualified to tell the country how to vote than, say, Sam Neill or Michael Campbell”

    So obviously you think his education funding platform is reasonable and that national will support it.I mean that’s where his political compass is set at the moment. In “confusion” world.

    If Sam Neill or Michael Campbell have points of view, speak up. Just don’t advocate for a party outside the third aprty election laws, but let’s hear from as many people as possible.

  28. …free speech is not restricted, your ability to disseminate an opinion by means of paid advertising is. That’s quite a big distinction.

    It’s if you want to become a party to the election by spending thousands on paid political advertising that you have to register with the Electoral Commission and limit your advertising spend to $120,000.

    Yes, like I said: your free speech isn’t restricted, you just have to register with the authorities to express it, and be careful not to express it too widely. I’m glad we’re agreed on this. The only remaining disagreement seems to be whether we think that’s a good thing or not. For my part, when the govt gets a hefty $120,000 cap on disseminating “policy information” (snigger) in election year, I’ll reconsider my view on its desirability – until that happens, I’ll continue to think it sucks big time.

  29. Phil 30

    J,

    I’m not quite sure how you made the connection from a tounge-in-cheek insult of pro-labour ‘celebrities’, to my advocation of Tiny Tim’s platform… It sounds like you made a leap of faith!

  30. j 31

    Fair enough phil. I don’t even really know if Shadbolts claims have merit because all the focus is on his up and coming lawbreaking and not on the validity of his arguement.The press could solve this issue by canvassing the parties on it.

  31. Matthew Pilott 32

    Yes, like I said: your free speech isn’t restricted, you just have to register with the authorities to express it, and be careful not to express it too widely. I’m glad we’re agreed on this.

    Yes, like I said – your free speech isn’t restricted at all. You don’t need to register with anyone to exercise it. Which is just fine and dandy.

    If you choose to take it further, by using capital in exchange for the commercial right to disseminate your views above and beyone the means of most New Zealanders, then you have to register, and there’s a cap to ensure that you aren’t able to give your message an inordinate level of exposure.

    Nothing too earth-shaking in there, in fact it’s down-right democratic if you ask me – one person one vote and all that. I’m glad we agree on this.

    Now I know that we don’t actually agree – don’t put words in my mouth and I’ll reciprocate 😉

  32. j 33

    “and be careful not to express it too widely.”

    I think you should be careful to express it rationally and with logic and merit.

  33. Kimble 34

    So free speech is fine, but not if too many people hear you.

    This is EXACTLY what you are saying.

  34. J 35

    “So free speech is fine, but not if too many people hear you.”

    If you are way louder than everybody else just because you have money, that’s the problem. Volume is a problem.Your bretheren friends made this an issue kimble.

    A million dollars for gods party, don’t forget that.

  35. Kimble 36

    “If you are way louder than everybody else just because you have money, that’s the problem.”

    For the life of me I cannot think of how else you would be able to be louder than everyone else unless you paid to be able to communicate wider.

    So what you are saying is that it is wrong for anybody to be louder than anyone else. Being forced to remain as quiet as everyone else is hardly holding up the ideals of free speech.

    You arent maintaining the spirit of democracy by ensuring that people are equally ineffectual.

    It is not my anything that made this a problem. It was YOUR party rigging the rules in their own favour.

  36. Kimble 37

    How are you supposed to get a lot of people to hear you if you are not aloud to be louder than everyone else?

    I will repeat, you are saying that it is the very act of reaching a wide audience that you want to restirct.

  37. Kimble 38

    oops, allowed

  38. Aj 39

    ” it is the very act of reaching a wide audience that you want to restirct”

    Only if it costs more than $120k? if it costs less you can speak to everyone?

  39. J 40

    “You arent maintaining the spirit of democracy by ensuring that people are equally ineffectual.” (or ensuring a realitive equality)

    Kimble, you get the equation. You choose to look at this act with emotion rather than with logic.You can campaign on issues until your hearts content. You can even start a political party. You can’t become an unofficial campaign hq for the National Party by spending unlimited funds. After a while your spending erodes the dialogue of the election.I don’t $120,000 to spend. I wish I did.I wish i did.
    Lucky old Mr Horton.What a loud vote that man will have.

    Don’t worry about National. They’ll have their huge campaign. You can’t attempt to drown out electoral debate with money but it’s still impossible to break the cartel.

    Wake up and start talking policy and embrace modern politics. We need more voices in our parliament, not just an exchange of red and blue seats.National need to win an election on policy not fear and they need to start building consensus not betting the houe on a one party term.

  40. J 41

    National need to win an election on policy not fear and they need to start building consensus not betting the house on a one party term.

  41. Phil 42

    Out of interest, how was the $120K figure arrived at?
    Was it pulled out of thin air, or was there more sound commercial reasoning behind it?

  42. J 43

    That’s a good question phil.

  43. Matthew Pilott 44

    So what you are saying is that it is wrong for anybody to be louder than anyone else. Being forced to remain as quiet as everyone else is hardly holding up the ideals of free speech.

    Now I know it’s your modus operandi, Kimble, to toss in a few lies among the pigeons; do you really think it’s that quiet? Perhaps you need to get away from the blogs or something, there’s a lot more going on out there!!!

    If the EFB is viewed with logic, it stands that very few people will be affected by it. They’ll even save a few bucks… 😉 Now whether you believe that political advertising can sway people or not the Bill will either :

    1- have no effect as people aren’t swayed by advertising, and a few rich ladies and gents will save a few hundred thousand

    2- stop a limited number with means well above and beyond those of the average New Zealander from having an inordinate sway on New Zealands domestic politics.

    So guys, which is it, and why is it a bad thing?

    Remember – no one’s being silenced here.

    Phil – I’m not sure as to how the figure was attained. We all know the bill was ushered in a hurry, so I doubt there was extensive study upon the figure. I do recall the last select committee arrived at that figure but as to their reasoning – I’m not sure.

  44. Daveo 45

    Out of interest, how was the $120K figure arrived at?
    Was it pulled out of thin air, or was there more sound commercial reasoning behind it?

    It was arrived at via public consultation through the select committee process. The original limit was going to be $60,000 but due to some well argued submissions the committee decided to increase the limit to $120,000.

    Funny thing is it was at that very time that the right were complaining there had been ‘no public consultation’ and the bill was being ‘rammed through’. The lesson here is to not believe everything the National party tells you.

  45. J 46

    Cheers mate, I think if anything will need to reviewed on this legislation post election it will be that figure. What is $120,000
    worth ? The thing about advertising too is it’s a haggle business, ratecards are just for people who don’t know any better.

  46. Matthew Pilott 47

    The original limit was going to be $60,000 but due to some well argued submissions the committee decided to increase the limit to $120,000.

    I stand corrected then – I didn’t realise it was part of the original submissions.

  47. ..why is it a bad thing?

    Well, I already answered:

    For my part, when the govt gets a hefty $120,000 cap on disseminating “policy information” (snigger) in election year, I’ll reconsider my view on its desirability – until that happens, I’ll continue to think it sucks big time.

    After all, if we’re looking to

    stop a limited number with means well above and beyond those of the average New Zealander from having an inordinate sway on New Zealands domestic politics

    why exempt the govt, who fit the above definition perfectly?

    It’s a bit beyond me why Labour thinks this was a good idea, unless they’re desperate and clutching at straws. It’s all very well to stack the deck in favour of the incumbent when you’re the incumbent, but sooner or later someone else is going to be the incumbent, and then you’re up shit creek.

  48. Tane 49

    why exempt the govt, who fit the above definition perfectly?

    Because government advertising is by definition not electioneering. People have a right to know that they’re entitled to information about things like KiwiSaver, and you can hardly argue that drink drive ads are designed to make people vote Labour.

    It’s a bit beyond me why Labour thinks this was a good idea, unless they’re desperate and clutching at straws.

    Without restrictions on third party spending the party spending cap becomes a farce. Are you suggesting we should get rid of all campaign spending restrictions?

  49. j 50

    yeh Psycho Milt, you don’t even seem to understand that the difference between an elected government, established parties and the exclusive bretheren…or maybe you do and you’re just not clever enough to entertain even such a slight complexity in your black and white world.

  50. Matthew Pilott 51

    I think that if we look at the implementation of Psycho Milt’s idea we see the problems becoming very apparent.

    So there’s a restriction on Government spending in election years. As mentioned, drink-driving ads stop. So will ones advertising Kiwisaver, the anti-domestic violence ads and so on. I understand there might be advertising this year telling the public what they are entitled to regarding healthcare.

    Is it ok to censor a government department? I don’t think so. We have a right to know what they are doing, what is available to us, and they have an obligation to keep the public informed of their activities. Do we want one year in three where it’s illegal to know what our government does for us?

    Such an idea is clearly unworkable. If anything, perhaps a clearer delineation between the Government (in the administrative sense) and the party in charge is required – it seems even Psycho Milt can’t see the difference so I guess others might as well.

    I would have thought it was pretty clear though.

  51. Billy 52

    “Because government advertising is by definition not electioneering.”

    Unfortunately, Labour exposed that as the lie it is when, before the last election, all its “public information” publications bore the proud declaration: “You’re better off with Labour”. If Labour are going to be cute like that, people will get the “wrong” idea and think they are trying to use electoral law to suit themselves.

  52. Tane 53

    Hi Billy, I haven’t actually seen that one. Can you post a link?

    If what you’re saying is true then it’s not on. You’re sure to have the odd stuff up or abuse in any system, but the answer isn’t to ban government communication with citizens during election year, it’s to make sure government advertising is non-partisan.

    It’s certainly not a reason to abolish party spending caps, whether in law or in practice through allowing unrestricted third party campaigning.

  53. Kimble 54

    “You’re sure to have the odd stuff up or abuse in any system, but the answer isn’t to ban government communication…”

    Why not? I am constantly being told that the EFA is only required because of the actions of one strange christian sect.

    Why does the EFA cover actions from the 1st of January? If it covered only 3 months before the election then a curb on government advertising wouldnt be that onerous.

    Do you see what Labour has done? By making the time period start at the beginning of the year, they can excuse a lot of their own misbehaviour and restrict everyone else.

  54. Tane 55

    I am constantly being told that the EFA is only required because of the actions of one strange christian sect.

    Well you’re obviously listening to too much National Party spin. The Nats abused third parties in a whole range of ways, including with the Fair Tax lobby. If the EFA hadn’t been brought in I’ve no doubt we’d have seen more of the same from the likes of Sensible Sentencing and Family First with all their American evangelical money. Have another read of the Hollow Men. It lays out pretty clearly what National was up to, and it’s primary material so you can’t dispute its accuracy.

    Why does the EFA cover actions from the 1st of January?

    Because as National showed us in the last election it can spend up large outside the official election spending period and make the party spending cap meaningless. Remember all those billboards that sprang up during election year 2005? John Key himself admitted in December 2007 that the election campaign for ’08 had already begun.

    If it covered only 3 months before the election then a curb on government advertising wouldnt be that onerous.

    I can see where you’re coming from but I’m not entirely sure how practical it is to ban any government advertising about, say, domestic violence, drunk driving or advising workers of their KiwiSaver entitlements.

  55. Kimble 56

    Tane you do your credibility no good by admitting you dont know about the Better Off With Labour issue. From Wiki,

    “Before the 2005 campaign, public funds paid for bus billboards showing the Labour election phrase “You’re better off with Labour”. However the Speaker ruled that this advertising promoted the national budget, not the Labour Party.”

    Do you see that? Can you comprehend why we think this stinks? The billboards said YOU’RE BETTER OFF WITH LABOUR but somehow the “impartial” speaker of the house said this was promoting the national budget?

    What the fuck?

    These are your guys. It boggles the mind that you expect us to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they didnt MEAN to rig the rules in their own favour.

  56. Kimble 57

    “Well you’re obviously listening to too much National Party spin.”

    No, I am reading The Standard.

    “Because as National showed us in the last election it can spend up large outside the official election spending period…”

    And what is wrong with that? They can still spend up large in November and December. Where would it end? Is the next step pushing it back to the middle of the year before?

    “John Key himself admitted in December 2007 that the election campaign for ’08 had already begun.”

    Of course he did. Because Labour had effectively pushed back the start date to Jan 1!

    “I’m not entirely sure how practical it is to ban any government advertising about, say, domestic violence, drunk driving or advising workers of their KiwiSaver entitlements.”

    We wouldnt need to if Labour actually obeyed the rules. Give the EC more power. They ignored his warning last time and deliberately broke the rules.

  57. Tane 58

    Kimble, wasn’t the bus ad controversy over whether Parliamentary Services money was spent correctly? That’s a completely different issue.

    The argument here is about government advertising – i.e. advertising conducted by government departments, such as the IRD advertising KiwiSaver.

  58. Tane 59

    And what is wrong with that? They can still spend up large in November and December. Where would it end? Is the next step pushing it back to the middle of the year before?

    Sure, they can spend up large in November and December if they like, but it won’t be as effective as, say, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars four months out from the election.

    There is no absolute answer to this question. Maybe the whole term should be counted, maybe the last six months, maybe the last eighteen. As it stands I think three months is too short for a modern election campaign, and that January 1 on election year is pretty fair and reasonable.

  59. Matthew Pilott 60

    “John Key himself admitted in December 2007 that the election campaign for ’08 had already begun.”

    Of course he did. Because Labour had effectively pushed back the start date to Jan 1!

    Kimble is of course conveniently ignoring National’s billboard campaign that was well outside the three month period prior to the 2005 election. National had already set the precedent of a year-long campaign well before 2008.

  60. Santi 61

    and that January 1 on election year is pretty fair and reasonable.

    Who says so? Your opinion counts as much as the next man on the street.

    Tane and his unassailable logic. What a talent!

  61. Matthew Pilott 62

    Well Santi it has to come from somewhere, if you recall there was quite a process for enactment of this Bill, select committees and the like.

    Would Jan 2 be better for you? What did your submission to the select committee say?

  62. Tane 63

    and that January 1 on election year is pretty fair and reasonable. Who says so? Your opinion counts as much as the next man on the street. Tane and his unassailable logic. What a talent!

    Yes Santi, it’s an opinion. I would have thought the phrase “There is no absolute answer to this question” and the fact I prefaced my statement with “I think…” would make that clear to you, but feel free to state the obvious.

    For what it’s worth, I think January 1st is reasonable because recent evidence suggests election campaigns now last the entire election year and so it only makes sense to count election spending from then. The three month cap does not appear suitable to modern election campaigns.

    You’re free to disagree, but it’d be nice to see some real discussion from you rather than the usual misinformed sniping from the sidelines.

  63. Because government advertising is by definition not electioneering.

    That’s odd, I seem to recall the last time National was in govt Labour was regularly accusing them of disguising political advertising as policy information, quite justifiably I thought. And yet it was “by definition” not political advertising? Oh, what a change of heart having your arses on the Treasury benches can bring…

  64. Tane 65

    Psycho Milt, I suspect it’s an accusation you’ll see from any party in opposition. That’s why I’d agree it’s important a suitable distance is kept between government advertising and political electioneering. It’s not an argument against the Electoral Finance Act.

  65. Kimble 66

    “Kimble is of course conveniently ignoring National’s billboard campaign that was well outside the three month period prior to the 2005 election. National had already set the precedent of a year-long campaign well before 2008.”

    National is in opposition. Eveything it does is campaigning to be elected the next time round. If that is your only excuse for pushing back the start date then we might as well not have one.

    “if you recall there was quite a process for enactment of this Bill, select committees and the like.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! Thats a good one. You are now claiming that there was extensive consultation before the EFA was enacted? Talk about deluded!

  66. Kimble 67

    “That’s why I’d agree it’s important a suitable distance is kept between government advertising and political electioneering.”

    And yet you will still defend Labours actions? You know, when they were told they werent allowed to use tax payers money, and then they went ahead and did it anyway.

  67. Tane 68

    National is in opposition. Eveything it does is campaigning to be elected the next time round. If that is your only excuse for pushing back the start date then we might as well not have one.

    What a silly argument. National’s 2005 billboard campaign timed to occur outside of the spending cap made it clear that the traditional three month period was no longer suitabole for a modern election campaign. Even Key said late last year that the 2008 election campaign had already begun.

    Therefore, if we are going to have campaign spending limits they need to, within reason, capture spending for the whole campaign. Given the evidence from 2005 it would appear a January 1 start date is more appropriate for a modern election than the traditional three month period. You can argue a few months here and there if you like – as I say it’s not an exact science – but this is no ‘attack on democracy’ or any other such ill-informed hysteria.

  68. Tane 69

    And yet you will still defend Labours actions? You know, when they were told they werent allowed to use tax payers money, and then they went ahead and did it anyway.

    No Kimble, I wasn’t even talking about that. See, here’s what happened: Your example of government advertising as electioneering turned out to be a dud and your accusations of political ignorance came back to bite you. Just take it on the chin and move on brother.

  69. Kimble 70

    “National’s 2005 billboard campaign timed to occur outside of the spending cap made it clear that the traditional three month period was no longer suitabole for a modern election campaign”

    And does their statement that the campaign had already started in Dec07 mean that the date of 01Jan is not longer suitable? What if they had started campaigning from the first day after the last election? How far do you go?

  70. Tane 71

    And does their statement that the campaign had already started in Dec07 mean that the date of 01Jan is not longer suitable? What if they had started campaigning from the first day after the last election? How far do you go?

    As I say, it’s not an exact science, you just have to work with what you’ve got. I reckon January 1 is a reasonable date for reasons I’ve outlined, but others may beg to differ. It’s a perfectly legitimate debate. Let’s just not get carried away with the ‘attack on democracy’ rhetoric as it clouds the real issues.

  71. Matthew Pilott 72

    Kimble, what do you think the original intent of the law was, which restricted spending in the three month cap? Do you disagree with it? Do you think that it is foolish to moderate laws as conditions dictate; what is the point of an obsolete law?!

  72. Kimble 73

    “Your example of government advertising as electioneering turned out to be a dud…”

    What do you mean a dud? The speaker of the house said that something saying “You’re better off with Labour” was actually promoting the national budget.

    Lets just ignore that a national budget doesnt need any advertising.

    All you are doing is sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling “LABOUR IS GOOD. LABOUR IS GOOD!” over and over again.

    Drink driving campaigns, domestic violence campaigns, fine. Kiwisaver education campaigns, fine as long as they actually ARE education campaigns and not pure fluff pieces saying explaining why the government has introduced them.

    Recall the WFF education campaign? All but 50,000 people would be getting paid automatically. So why did they need a national advertising campaign?

    Over $20million was spent on that campaign to reach 50,000 people. Even if you believe the wildest fantasies about the Exclusive Brethren, their $1.5m budget is completely dwarfed.

    If it takes $20m to educate people about something they dont need to know, how the fuck can $120k be enough to educate them about something they do?

  73. Matthew Pilott 74

    but 50,000 people would be getting paid automatically

    If it takes $20m to educate people about something they dont need to know,

    Sort it out, did they need to know or not? Tossing a few lies in among the pigeons again?

    Was the campaign exclusively to target those $50,000, or do you think people might be interested in knowing how their own government is arriving at the level of taxes/credits required? Apathy isn’t universal, despite your protestations.

    So it seems we’re agreed then, that the one year limit is fine, and we’re moving on to the $120,000 limit issue, correct?

  74. Kimble 75

    Obviously I was refering to the vast majority of the audience of the campaign, not the 50,000.

    “do you think people might be interested in knowing how their own government is arriving at the level of taxes/credits required?”

    This is precisely the problem. You could define anything as an education campaign, if the only basis is “Hey, they may want to know that their Labour-led government is currently doing.”

    The truth is, only 50,000 people needed to know that they could apply for WFF benefit payments. Only 50,000 people needed this education. This does not require an expensive nationwide television campaign.

    If National was in power and spent $20million on and advertising campaign during an election year, letting people know that they are cutting taxes, oh and by the way a few thousand people may need to contact IRD to confirm their details. Is that an acceptable education campaign? Because that is EXACTLY what Labour did.

  75. Matthew Pilott 76

    The EFB restrains political advertising within the one year period, which is (as discussed above) clearly ample time to make sure the effects of such advertising (political, as opposed to apolitical advertising – clearly the majority of government advertising is the latter) aren’t strongly felt come election time.

    This is hardly an attack on Democracy.

    All you’re doing is plugging your ears and shouting “LABOUR BAD! LABOUR BAD!” !!

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