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From a sinking ship

Written By: - Date published: 12:43 pm, June 12th, 2013 - 61 comments
Categories: united future - Tags:

While Peter Dunne is on leave for a week, things are not going well

UnitedFuture has applied to be re-registered as a political party claiming it now has more than enough members. However, it has hit a stumbling block after not providing the information in the required format. … The party had attempted to supply electronic records but the commission required signed paper copies of a member’s application.

UnitedFuture will meet with the commission today to discuss the requirement saying it would be too difficult for any new party.

Oh please. Mana managed it.

Dunne’s staff, meanwhile, have begun picking up jobs elsewhere within the Beehive.

His long-time press secretary, Mark Stewart, has been given a job in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Elsewhere Todd McClay, who has taken over Dunne’s portfolios of revenue and associate health, has taken on Dunne’s former chief of staff Rob Eaddy and senior private secretary Anne Small.

Guess they can read the writing on the wall.

61 comments on “From a sinking ship ”

  1. Rich 1

    Dunne should realise that a ‘like’ on Facebook doesn’t equate to financial membership.

    The Electoral Act requires that party members make a conscious commitment to join a party based on applying and paying a fee. That needs to be evidenced to the electoral commission, and they take the reasonable view that absent any simple means of electronically verifying identity, they want to see a piece of paper with a signature on it.

    (They don’t go further and require party members visit a JP or post office with ID, as one has to do for a bank account. But they have to take reasonable steps to require identification, otherwise a party could just provide a randomly selected list of names).

    • weka 1.1

      “they take the reasonable view that absent any simple means of electronically verifying identity, they want to see a piece of paper with a signature on it.”

      What does that mean? And thinking about it, if someone was intent on fraud, why would a signature on a piece of paper be more valid than an email address?

      btw, here is the UF’s sign up form. Looks reasonably comprehensive to me.


      • McFlock 1.1.1

        Signatures are still easier to match to an individual than electronical sorcery.

        • weka

          How? How would the Electoral Commission know what my signature looked like?

          • McFlock

            They wouldn’t. But if someone sent you a membership card or the EC decided to check with a random sample of supposed members and you said “did NOT!” they could go back to the form and match it with the example on the back of your credit card or similar.

            • weka

              I still don’t see how that is more valid than email. It’s pretty easy to validate that I am sending something from my email address.

              Also, matching signatures from credit cards across the country is not easy.

              • McFlock

                Drivers’ licence signature is digitised.

                And there’s many a slip from “email”, through “spoofed email address”, and “actual email address”, “actual address belongs to that person”, “that person’s computer accessed that email address”, to “that person sent that email from that computer using that address”.

                Whereas if the sig on the form is block-caps “WEKA” and the sig on your licence is a wiggly “W” and a particular scrawl pattern afterwards, non-specialised staff have enough to raise a flag.

                • weka

                  Not everyone has a drivers licence McFlock. And are you suggesting that NZTA and EC are data matching? Or should be? I’m not really following you there. Yes email can be faked, but so can signatures.

                  • McFlock

                    No, I’m suggesting that if there is a complaint made of electoral fraud in the style of pauline hanson and referred to the police (blast from the past, that :)) then it is more straightforward to investigate than electronic-only records.

                    I mean, you can look at email headers all you want, but they are insanely easy to fake, and you’d need warranted access to the ISP server logs to verify, and even then that only identifies the computer and not the user at the keyboard

                    [edit] – forgery is much more difficult, and carries a higher penalty.

                    • Rich

                      You wouldn’t even need to fake an email header. Just sign up on gmail or whatever with a random electors name and then fill the form out. Supply a prezzy card number and pay your five bucks. Do that 500 times, and for $2,500 you’ve just fraudulently created a political party.

                      A piece of paper with a signature on it is at least marginally more effort (or work factor, as they say in the trade) to generate.

                    • McFlock

                      $2500 that you just paid to yourself, at that.

                    • Rich

                      Also, an original handwritten signature can be verified by a forensic document examiner with fairly high certainty (~ 97%).

                      That not only allows a fake signature to be detected, it allows a persons claim that they didn’t sign a document to be challenged (non-repudiation).

                      A web form gives you none of this.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      A web form gives you none of this.


                    • Rich

                      That “sign with a mouse” thing isn’t more than theatre, really. The signature gets done with a mouse and will only be tangentially similar to one with a pen.

                      Also, one could take a signature image, put it through raster->vector software (https://code.google.com/p/rastertovector/) and have an instant fake.

              • Colonial Viper

                it’s quite fair for the Electoral Commission to want extra verification for UF as the reliability of their previously submitted documents was in question.

                • weka

                  Was it? I assume it was, but we don’t know much detail yet.

                  • Tigger

                    It was. Stop being dense.

                    • weka

                      I’ve only read the article linked in this post. It’s not that clear exactly what the problem was (unreliable documentation, or a higher degree of proof being needed). If you have read something else, why not say so and link to it?

              • paul andersen

                its pretty easy for anyone to use your( or anybody else’s) e-mail address.

    • Jim Nald 1.2

      Maybe the Speaker’s magic spoon-bending, rule-bending abilities can be extended so that his bad and wrong ruling can be prolonged some more?

    • James 1.3

      “otherwise a party could just provide a randomly selected list of names”

      Sounds not unlike the “save our Assets” petition.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        more like the names enrolled to buy Mighty River Power (3/4 of whom mysteriously disappeared, and they were the smart ones because the ones who were left lost their savings)

        • James

          No – they enrolled for a prospectus. Not necessarily to buy. And you blimmin well know that.

          Good try tho’

          • McFlock


            how the spin changes. Key was arguing it was support for asset sales.

          • Colonial Viper

            No – they enrolled for a prospectus. Not necessarily to buy. And you blimmin well know that.

            So according to you 3/4 of the investors examined the prospectus and decided it was a bad deal?

            And from the shares performance results to date, they were spot on.

            • Te Reo Putake

              C’mon CV, it’s winter time. 300 thousand kiwis apparently needed something to light their fires with.

              • Ed

                That nice Mr Key said that the more people that asked for a prospectus the higher the price would be. Any patriotic New Zealander that listened to and trusted Mr Key would of course asked for a prospectus, regardless of whether they intended to purchase, or even had enough money. We can only be surprised (and perhaps informed by) the large number of people who evidently didn’t listen to or didn’t trust JohnKey – or perhaps just didn’t care or didn’t want anything to do with the ShonKey sale.

                It is a bit like the smacking referendum – almost anyone could have justified voting either way. . .

  2. Jim Nald 2

    Wow. That job in the PM’s office came up quick?

    I can understand the two other jobs and the need which would be involved with the portfolios.

    • tracey 2.1

      I believe the PM;’s office has had good job growth during the GFC. Probably indicates that Dunne’s press secretary was always working for the Johnster 😉

  3. weka 3

    We don’t really know what that means though. The Green Party has been using online registration for years, and afaik if you set up an AP your membership just rolls over. No paper copy with a signature. I think you can join over the phone too.

    So is the Electoral Commission requiring something specific from UF, because they need to be especially confident that UF does in fact have over 500 members? Or are other parties also not complying with regulation? Or is it that registering/reregistering requires signed paper copies and after that membership can be electronic?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      The Act requires …evidence, in a form approved by the Electoral Commission, that the party has at least 500 current financial members who are eligible to enrol as electors…

      My bold.

      Obviously Dunne’s facebook page didn’t qualify, but perhaps the information required by the Greens’ online membership application form does.

      • weka 3.1.1


        Their respective online forms don’t look too dissimilar, except the the GP requires people to read a membership agreement and the Green Charter. Oh, and UF say you can belong to other parties.

        Is the FB comment a dig, or you are saying they really did use FB to get members?

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          It was a dig, and yes, I see what you mean about the online membership forms – given the similarity between them, I’d like to know what the sticking point is, assuming Dunne hasn’t been stupid enough to advance false names.

    • Malcolm 3.2

      You can also join Labour on the website, fill in the online form and it even accepts CC payment. Perhaps in addition to this Labour/Green has 500 members who filled in a paper form.

      • aerobubble 3.2.1

        Green, Labour, National are huge parties with historical large memberships.

        Dunne is one MP who went to the election promising not to sell assets and his paltry party membership numbers likely failed to renew their membership.

        Now of course Key wants to keep the mandate to sell assets.

        But Dunne is done, and it would be inconsistent for him to keep his party status even if he was able to get the necessary 500 members when so many of those members would be new and so not supportive when he won office.

        This is even before prospective members decide whether they support Dunne due to the leaking etc.

        Its just plainly perverse the election list loophole that hands so much power to one single MP, who can leverage it to get ministries and sit on the intelligence committee. People only vote for these seats, Banks, Dunne, because of the huge payoff should they reap list MPs.

        Whereas Winston Peters got many more votes and no representatives.

  4. tracey 4

    C’mon folks, the required form approved by the Electoral Commission probably just need a quick googling or a trip down the office at the beehive to someone who has one. It really isn’t that hard to get the correct form.

    Everyone cool that we are now officially paying Dunne to do nothing?

    • Jim Nald 4.1

      hair’s the quick googling 🙂

      “For each member a personally signed and dated declaration (usually the membership form) which contains:
      – the member’s name and residential street address
      – confirmation by the person that they are eligible to enrol as an elector
      – the amount of the membership fee that has been paid to the party
      – authorisation for the party to record them as a financial member of the party
      – authorisation for the party to release their membership details to the Electoral Commission for the purpose of the application to register the party under the Electoral Act.”


      So what has been missing from the stuff submitted from the Unidentified Future organisation (UFO)?

      • weka 4.1.1

        Looks like it’s the reregistering that requires signed paper forms (as opposed to maintaining membership after that over time).

  5. Winston Smith 5

    Well it finally happened but Labours finally managed to extract Utu on Peter Dunne for leaving the Labour party


    • weka 5.1

      Funny, I thought this was a demise of Dunne’s own creation with a bit of help from his friends in the National Party.

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      Well it finally happened but Labours finally managed to extract Utu on Peter Dunne for leaving the Labour party

      Who in Labour cared enough about Hair Do to bother, seriously.

      • Winston Smith 5.2.1

        I’d bet theres one or two oldies out therein the labour thinking hes got his just desserts…

        • McFlock

          so Labours finally managed to extract Utu on Peter Dunne has quickly slid into one or two oldies out therein the labour thinking hes got his just desserts. Mucj lolz.

          Thousands of people in Labour. Statistically you’re probably correct on the latter statement.

          But “just desserts” does not equal “utu”, Labour had nothing to do with Dunne’s inability to keep 500 documented supporters, and I suspect the majority of labour members (like most nzers) don’t give a shit about dunne one way or ‘tother, let alone it being a collective desire of “Labour”.

        • bad12

          Not a Labour member but the ‘Hairdo’ got what He deserved, believers in nothing and everything we as a country can do with less of in the parliament…

        • Linz

          No entrées or mains then?

  6. bad12 6

    The rats bolting off of the ship certainly describes Dunne’s office departing en masse for the National Party,

    30 pieces of silver by any chance, one of the scenario’s running through my mind vis a vis the leaks from the Kitteridge report is that perhaps Dunne wasn’t the initial leak,

    Could Captain Panic Pants have played man in the middle here knowing the ‘Hairdo’ was all a’throb over the Dom-Post reporter Vance,

    Obviously Vance who has now conveniently been shuffled off out of the country would have also been playing the story every which way, (that’s what the rats nest downtown does all the time),

    In such a situation dropping the relevant piece of juicy red meat Winston’s way would have been a breeze…

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      The rats bolting off of the ship certainly describes Dunne’s office departing en masse for the National Party,

      It says far more than that about the relationship between Dunne and the PM.

      • JK 6.1.1

        CV and Bad 12 – maybe “the rats bolting off the ship” were part of whatever “deal” Dunne made with Key ie you keep my vote if you look after my people sort-of thing ? ?

  7. dan1 7

    It is interesting that electronic lists are not sufficient for party lists when the National Party has used $2 raffle ticket butts as proof of membership for years!
    You bought a raffle ticket: you were a member of the National Party!!!!

  8. Rodel 8

    Funny all this kerfuffle over Dunne, Peters,Key, Mallard, Carter’s blunders and the media junkies and the political addicts who discuss everything so fervently, as if anyone else really gives a toss.

    Especially for the million or so who don’t vote, it all means nothing to them. The protagonists seem to think they are sooooo important and the nation is really interested and that their petty little Wellington squabbles matter deeply to us. They are just cosmetic little mini sagas designed by quasi journos and is about selling newspapers and TV items and has very little to do with us and our lives.

    There are a few politicians on both (all) sides who are detached and aloof from this nonsense. All power to them.
    For the rest, I say put them all into a box with Schroeder’s cat and forget them.

  9. Hami Shearlie 9

    Apparently David Lange once said that Peter Dunne was so boring that if his life flashed before him, he wouldn’t be in it!! I’m still coming to grips with Peter Dunne actually believing that a young woman like Andrea Vance would be interested in HIM, of all people?? No charisma, and elderly-ish with a penchant for wearing bow-ties! Oh Lordy!!! Maybe he’s well-heeled but still, – REALLY?? Mrs Dunne must be mentally dividing up the house, moolah and gold-plated pension as we speak!!

    • Rhinocrates 9.1

      There’s no evidence that she was interested in him, just rumours that he was interested in her. It takes two to tango, but only one to do the twist.

      Never underestimate the power of self-delusion.

      Edit: yes, I see that you didn’t suggest otherwise.

  10. vto 10

    Peter Dunne looks very unhappy. In a deeper sense. It is always a bad situation for someone to go through something like this where their entire career or life is dumped in the ditch, no friends, cast adrift, reputation sullied. Especially when it is due to circumstances not entirely within one’s own control. It is devastating. It is a form of mourning, as someone expressed it to me once (and having been through it I agree). It is a life now lost. The entire world shifts on its axis.

    So I feel for Peter Dunne. It happens to many people in life, especially those who stick their heads above the parapet. So, Peter, keep your chin up, walk tall and know that time passes and heals. It is tough fulla but just keep on truckin’….

    • Rodel 10.1

      Yea. I’m thinking the same actually.His constituents seem to like him and apart from being a chameleon opportunist.. who in politics isnt? , perhaps he’s being honourable in some way.

      • Nordy 10.1.1

        It is hardly honourable to refuse to cooperate with an inquiry tasked with finding out who leaked sensitive material.

        Stop making excuses for someone is supposedly a ‘servant of the people’ but whose sense of entitlement seemingly knows no bounds.

        As an experienced Cabinet Minister he knows very well the boundaries of behaviour and propriety. If he can’t operate within those boundaries he has no business being in parliament, let alone Cabinet.

        He has tried to deflect attention from the obvious by claiming there are privacy issues involved. What a load of nonense. All actions and activities of Cabinet Ministers undertaken in relation to their membership of Cabinet of are public interest and they are accountable to the public/taxpayer for those activities. A politician who argues otherwise is simply being self-serving, and deserves our contempt.

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      Peter Dunne looks very unhappy. In a deeper sense. It is always a bad situation for someone to go through something like this where their entire career or life is dumped in the ditch, no friends, cast adrift, reputation sullied.

      Most political lives end in failure and ignominy. Those are the rules of the game.

  11. georgecom 11

    I’m just a wee bit confused. The UF membership form mentions $5 to join. Is that $5 we have to join or do they give us $5 for joining. The latter seems more sensical. Giving them $5 seems like wasted money whereas if they pay people to join, 500 people wanting some easy money are more likely to sign up.

  12. tracey 12

    Peter has had years to do the right thing… and its always been the right thing for him.

  13. Populuxe1 13

    It has come to my attention that Andrea Vance is friendly with Jordan Williams, to the point of helping him make some contacts in London. Jordan Williams is, of course, Simon Lusk’s minion. Make of that what you will…..

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