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Good on youse

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, October 3rd, 2008 - 49 comments
Categories: activism, election 2008 - Tags:

Yesterday, I printed and cut 6500 A6 leaflets from the designs on the Campaign Hub and took them along to Drinking Liberally. They were all gone in minutes.

The Right wins and keeps power by dis-empowering and disenfranchising, by taking away our voice. So, it was great to see so many people take it on themselves to grab a bundle of leaflets for delivering around their neighbourhoods to help spread the message.

It’s inspiring. Good on ya.

49 comments on “Good on youse ”

  1. Mike Collins 1

    “The Right wins and keeps power by dis-empowering and disenfranchising, by taking away our voice.”

    Yeah at the last VRWC meeting we were discussing how to do this more effectively.

    That is a seriously deluded/paranoid sentence SP. I campaign for policies and issues that I think will do the best for the community I come from (Porirua). I know of no one on the Right who has negative intentions (same of the Left btw), nor any sinister modes of getting our policies enacted as you suggest.

    Also kind of ironic that you talk about taking away “our voice”. The EFA is considered a pretty big attack on the “voice” of many – just so happens that they happen to be people you don’t normally agree with.

  2. Felix 2

    …just so happens that they happen to be people who don’t want anyone else to have a say.

    There you go Mike, fixed it for you.

  3. Ben R 3

    “The Right wins and keeps power by dis-empowering and disenfranchising, by taking away our voice.”

    I thought this was NZ, not North Korea? Also, don’t most journalists, academics & policy makers tend to be quite liberal?

  4. Mike Collins 4

    Please indulge me Felix. How so? I don’t understand how one person having a say prevents another having theirs. Also I don’t understand why the solution to this issue is to mute one section of views (via the EFA) while allowing others to have theirs.

    Now I know you don’t speck for SP, but you might be able to shed some light on how the Right disenfranchise and/or disempower. Be interesting to see how paranoid you (and I don’t mean you specifically but anyone holding this view) really are.

  5. Mike Collins 5

    speck = speak

  6. Pat 6

    Delivering 6500 leaflets takes a hell of a lot of man-hours, not to mention sore legs and feet. My guess is that anyone living on falt ground will get a leaflet, but anyone living on a steep hill will not.

    Plus it’s going to blow a gale this weekend. The resolve will be tested.

  7. you’re a real ray of sunshine Pat.

    You can deliver about 200 an hour, so you’re looking at 30-odd man hours. Probably an hour each for the people who took them.

  8. Tane 8

    Mike. He’s talking about the tendency of neoliberalism to turn us from citizens into consumers, and to turn public spaces over to private control.

    It’s far more nuanced statement than you’re imagining.

  9. Mike Collins 9

    “Delivering 6500 leaflets takes a hell of a lot of man-hours”

    Indeed it does. Does anyone else think it is somewhat unfair that the EFA regulates how much a group/person can spend on promoting their views but labour involved in disemminating views isn’t?

    As I have said a number of times some people have money but no time. Some people have time but no money. One group’s views should not take precedence over another simply by mode of conveyance.

    The only sensible way to get around this issue is not to regulate/ration what people can say or how they say it.

  10. Pat 10

    Mike – I think the (il)logic goes something like this:

    John Key is a rich prick.
    He made his money stealing from the workers.
    His greedy desire for wealth mocks his state house upbringing.
    His reluctance to retire quietly instead of taking a pay cut and getting the PM job means he must have some evil secret agends to oppress and silence the masses, and line his rich mates pockets.

  11. Pat. no, my logic is that the Right has opposed every extension in the franchise in history, has removed workers’ rights to protest on political issues, and has used force to put down the Left throughout NZ history. Then, as Tane mentioned, there’s the more insidious forces of neoliberalism and consumerism

    Mike. If you can’t find people willing to give up their time for your cause, the problem is with your cause not ours. Voluntary labour has never been counted as an election expense in any coutnry that I know of.

  12. Pat 12

    Don’t want to pour cold water on the enthusiasm of the Drinking Liberally leaflet droppers, but isn’t suburban Wellington a Labour stonghold anyway?

    Wouldn’t the cause be better served by taking a drive to a rural town?

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    Mike, When you say that some people have ‘no time’, do you mean that they are dying?

    Or is it just that they have other things that they feel are more worthwhile for them to spend their time doing?

  14. Mike Collins 14

    Tane – thanks for that.

    It’s not something I agree with but no surprises there. I started to write something based on consumers vs citizens and control over others. I realised that would probably be best left for another thread ;-).

    I might think on it a bit over the weekend and see if I can post some thoughts next week.

  15. Matthew Pilott 15

    Indeed it does. Does anyone else think it is somewhat unfair that the EFA regulates how much a group/person can spend on promoting their views but labour involved in disemminating views isn’t?

    Mike – everyone has an equal amount of labour to use as they wish. The same cannot be said for capital. EFA restricts capital, not individual labour.

    The EFA also allows for a decent expenditure of capital that more than makes up for labour available during a campaign period, should you have plenty of the former and little of the latter! How great is that?

  16. Felix 16

    Mike I’ll indulge you as soon as you back up your statement that

    “The EFA is considered a pretty big attack on the “voice’ of many”

    with some actual examples of people who have had their “voice” attacked or “views muted” by the EFA.

  17. Mike Collins 17

    “Mike. If you can’t find people willing to give up their time for your cause, the problem is with your cause not ours.”

    Heh I agree. But if that is the only unfettered option to disemminate views then that is not fair. How would you feel if I said to you: “If you can’t find enough people willing to pay to support your cause then that is your problem not mine. Oh by the way we are going to restrict how much labour people can donate to a campaign.”

    PB – No I don’t mean that they are dying. Something suspect you already knew. I mean that some people have more time on their hands, while others may have too many committments to be able to contribute (but they might have money instead). Obviously this cuts across political opinion but one can see how a group pushing a certain view or policy may in general have more committments to their time than their opponents.

    In very simple terms money is simply the product of stored labour yet to be realised. Why should that person who has a lot of stored labour be restricted from realising it?

  18. Matthew Pilott 18

    “If you can’t find enough people willing to pay to support your cause then that is your problem not mine. Oh by the way we are going to restrict how much labour people can donate to a campaign.’

    As I said above, what the law has done is equalled the balance between labour and capital. Your example isn’t an equivalence of the real world because people have limited labour, but can (relatively) have unlimited capital.

    In very simple terms money is simply the product of stored labour yet to be realised. Why should that person who has a lot of stored labour be restricted from realising it?

    Why should people whose labour is worth more be able to influence people politically far more than those whose labour is worth less, when converted into money?

  19. Mike Collins 19

    Mike I’ll indulge you as soon as you back up your statement that

    “The EFA is considered a pretty big attack on the “voice’ of many’

    Don’t worry Felix. Everyone else has been a bit more mature so you won’t need to indulge me.

    “with some actual examples of people who have had their “voice’ attacked or “views muted’ by the EFA.”

    I suppose I could spend some time looking up the references that support this. But then you’d likely dismiss these as anecdotal or from right-wing/wingnut/fruitloop groups so aren’t valid anyway.

  20. Pascal's bookie 20

    Those committments are choices though Mike. No one is forcing them to do it, they choose to do it. Fair enough.

    Those choices come with the oppurtunity cost of limiting their time available to do other things, like campaigning. Just as choosing to campaign leaves you with less time to make money.

    No one is restricting their freedom to campaign, they are choosing to do other things.

  21. Mike Collins 21

    “As I said above, what the law has done is equalled the balance between labour and capital.”

    As arbited by Labour, Greens and Winston without mass support and contrary to vast quantity of informed opinion. Yep I think the balance is fair alright.

    “Your example isn’t an equivalence of the real world because people have limited labour, but can (relatively) have unlimited capital.”

    Here is the problem, and I acknowledge we are unlikely to see eye to eye on this; If you can see that money is the value of your labour, and you have chosen to use some of that to promote your views, then what right does anyone have to say you can’t?

  22. Mike Collins 22

    “Those choices come with the oppurtunity cost of limiting their time available to do other things, like campaigning. Just as choosing to campaign leaves you with less time to make money.”

    I agree. However you are leaving out an important consideration when weighing up the opportunity costs. The value of labour. It is not uniform across society. If someone can earn $100 per hour they have a lot more to give up than someone who can earn $20 an hour. They are much more likely to choose the option that puts more in their pocket.

    To simply state that it is a choice is not looking at the full picture.

  23. Mike Collins 23

    “Those committments are choices though Mike. No one is forcing them to do it, they choose to do it. Fair enough.”

    Further to this (and thanks guys for engaging in debate) the choice you are suggesting is this:

    Here’s option A. You can either choose to do this or not. Whereas some people aren’t content with that. They may want to choose option B, and not be restricted in how much of option B they choose.

  24. Pat 24

    Does anyone have an insight as to why their seems to be more “Blue-John Key” billboards than “Red-Helen Clark” billboards around in Auckland?

    Have the Nat campaigners just been more organised? I expected Labour to give their billboard campaign a lot of emphasis.

  25. Pascal's bookie 25

    Only if they personally value it higher than campaigning. They still get to choose.

    You could just as easily say that the person earning twenty $20 an hour can’t afford to campaign because it will take them 5 times as long to make up the lost earnings.

    At the end of the day, we all get the same time, and choose to do what we want with it.

  26. Pascal's bookie 26

    Here’s option A. You can either choose to do this or not. Whereas some people aren’t content with that. They may want to choose option B, and not be restricted in how much of option B they choose.

    Close. What I am saying is that everyone has the choice to do as much option A as they want. This is free speech.

    On top of that, (and irrespective of how much option A you choose to excercise), you can also do a limited amount of option B, paying someone to speak for you.

    No more time, and yeah, thanks for engaging.

  27. Patrick 27

    Pat,

    “Have the Nat campaigners just been more organised? I expected Labour to give their billboard campaign a lot of emphasis.”
    Perhaps Labour are emphasising other parts of their campaign than billboards, I know I certainly would.

    “Don’t want to pour cold water on the enthusiasm of the Drinking Liberally leaflet droppers, but isn’t suburban Wellington a Labour stonghold anyway?”
    I’m not sure I agree with your premise, but your conclusion is pretty valid – and that’s why I took a bundle of leaflets to send to some people I know in smaller towns. Don’t worry, we won’t let small towners miss out on the fun 😉

  28. Nick 28

    Felix – an actual example of the ability of the EFA to prevent debate is Family First which wanted to publish and distribute a pamphlet into every household this election period, that would cost them $220K to do so. But the limit is $120K, so they cannot do it;; they cannot put a pamphlet in New Zealand letterboxes without breaking the law despite having printed them and having them available.

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    I think PB is saying much the same as I, Mike.

    If you can see that money is the value of your labour, and you have chosen to use some of that to promote your views, then what right does anyone have to say you can’t?

    We all have the same amount of labour, thus there is no restriction upon use of labour; however, the conversion of labour into money is not equal. Equal rights in democracy is important, nay, paramount. What right do you have to be far more influential in democracy because your labour:money conversion rate is far better than someone else? Money is therefore restricted to not unduly allow it so supersede labour.

    As arbited by Labour, Greens and Winston without mass support and contrary to vast quantity of informed opinion.

    and the 1993 EFA was…

    I don’t recall being asked if I was happy for National to use trusts to launder vast sums of money, follow the letter of the law and break every intent by knowing who their ‘anonymous’ donors were. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’s sanctimonious for National supporters to ply thse waters.

  30. Pat 30

    Patrick – I’m no expert on the EFA, so how does this exercise fit into it? E.g:

    Paper, printing and cutting costs for 6500 leaflets.
    Postage (stamps & envelopes) for all leaflets being posted.

    Also, without casting aspersions, some readers here enjoy employment in our growing public service. How can the humble tax-payer be assured that this type of campaigning is not done using Public Service equipment (paper, printers, photocopiers, envelopes, stamps) or during tax-payer paid business hours?

  31. Mike Collins 31

    “I don’t recall being asked if I was happy for National to use trusts to launder vast sums of money, follow the letter of the law and break every intent by knowing who their ‘anonymous’ donors were. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’s sanctimonious for National supporters to ply thse waters.”

    I am not a National supporter. And the assumption that I am does wear on me. I agree the Electoral Act 1993 did not have complete consensus. It was bi-partisan which is not the same thing. In fact it turned into a rort by which the two large parties were able to maintain their hold on power. Just look at the provisions relating to broadcasting allocations (and the corresponding ban on private funds being used. A far more equitable system, if agreement is reached for a cap on spending, would have been for any party to be able to use their own funds to top up to the same level of the highest recipient.

    The broadcasting allocation sets out anti-democractic criteria for the commission to make their determination. The purpose of this criteria is to enforce two party strangle-hold. Elections should not be about screwing the scrum in favour of incumbents. They should be equal rules for all.

  32. NeillR 32

    The Right wins and keeps power by dis-empowering and disenfranchising
    Yeah, the Left just sticks to the old-fashioned tactics of breaking the law and retrospectively validating their crimes.

  33. Matthew Pilott 33

    Point out where I said you were a nat supporter Mike. The sort of assumption you made there wears on me too. Read it a bit more carefully and you’ll see that point was not directed at you.

    They should be equal rules for all.

    They sure are – you can’t leverage a monetary advantage as you used to be. You answered your own question: “ then what right does anyone have to say you can’t?” Equal rules for all.

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    Yeah, the Left just sticks to the old-fashioned tactics of breaking the law and retrospectively validating their crimes.

    So did the right. Fingers in both pies, eh?

  35. Rex Widerstrom 35

    Felix asks for:

    …actual examples of people who have had their “voice’ attacked or “views muted’ by the EFA.

    Well off the top of my head I can think of Jim Anderton. Of course his hands aren’t tied quite as tightly as if he were a “third party” because the incumbent politicians all made sure they could spend more than the rest of us, but he’s tripped up on all the stupid red tape he voted to impose on others.

    Now if I lived in Sydenham and thus Mr Anderton were my employee I would want him to report regularly to me about what he’d been up to (and the “publication” he’s been potted on is nothing more than a collection of his press releases) without it counting against what he could spend in an election. Accountability is part of his job.

    And I wonder how many people have been deterred by the demand that they publish their home address on material, particularly if their views are contentious. We’ll never know, but having had my family attacked in my home when in politics I know I wouldn’t be keen.

    It’s a dud law. Simply doing a better job of imposing absolute transparency on donations and then letting everyone say and do whatever they like – limited only by laws against hate speech – would have been fine.

    The people who read political material are quite capable of allowing for the fact that Party A got less money than Party B and thus they can send out less leaflets. And if Party B got their money from dubious sources, then no amount of pamphlets will save them.

  36. Anita 36

    Pat writes,

    Delivering 6500 leaflets takes a hell of a lot of man-hours

    But that’s ok because women can do it in seconds!

  37. higherstandard 37

    Rex

    “….having had my family attacked in my home when in politics I know I wouldn’t be keen.”

    Really ?

    I’m staggered that anyone takes politics this seriously, there really are some feral nutters in this country !

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    And if Party B got their money from dubious sources, then no amount of pamphlets will save them

    Just because Bumbling Brash ballsed-up big time doesn’t mean we can expect that to happen every time.

  39. higherstandard 39

    Anita

    Going to the top of Mt Victorai in a howling gale and flinging them into the wind doesn’t count. 🙂

  40. higherstandard 40

    Argh bring back the edit button I say !!

  41. lprent 41

    Pat: There are better things to spend money on than billboards. The Nay’s do them because they have more money than volunteers – so they use relatively ineffective techniques.

    Besides the Nay’s billboards are pretty boring this time.

  42. lprent 42

    hs: I have a 2.6.2 version of wordpress and associated plugins almost ready to apply. The bit that is holding it up is to find time to do the css on the reedit. The later version of that plugin is ugly as hell in the native version.

    But campaign work keeps removing all of my spare time

  43. Steve:

    Taking away your voice?

    Why do those on the left feel that they have been victimized all the time?

    Do you really think your voice has been taken away?

    Has this site been shut down? Are you stopped from handing out flyers in the street?

    I know the very unwashed man in dreads who is always handing out his flyers about communism in chch is still allowed to, so im guessing people’s voices aren’t being taken away?

    Still hats off to anybody who gets involved in the process. 🙂

  44. Rex Widerstrom 44

    To hell with democracy, Lynn, enabling us to hide the fact that we’re barely literate gibbering baboons is more important! 😛

    higher standard: Yes, it truly happened. They were Winston supporters of such weirdness that if I hadn’t seen them myself I wouldn’t have believed they existed.

    When they started “helping” my campaign by grabbing what they thought was a reporter (actually it was an innocent young ad sales girl) and baling her up because they weren’t happy with the coverage, I asked them nicely to find someone else to support (I may have mentioned Peter Dunne was short of helpers, I’m not sure… 😀 )

    Alas that proved that I was part of some conspiracy involving the Tauranga Masonic Lodge, the US government and goodness knows who else. They burst into my home when I was in the shower, leaving me with two very unpleasant options.

    I took the “Borat” approach, and crash tackled one of them whilst naked (hey, thank me for that image later). The cops came and marched them off, and thankfully that was the last I saw of them.

    So the whole “home address” thing is a flaw in the EFA, yeah.

    If you saw some of the stuff that gets mailed to Parliament… how can the idiots who drafted and passed this law not have given a moment’s thought to the fact that that – and worse – may come hurtling through their campaign manager’s window?!

  45. Pascal's bookie 45

    That’s a shocker of a story Rex.

    They are amoung us, and they vote.

    I once got a hand delivered note in my mail box in reply to a ‘letter to the editor’ I wrote about the importance of keeping government secular. Clown must have been so peeved that he looked my name up in the phone book and matched it to the suburb published in the paper.

    Not quite a death threat, it was in the form of an ‘imprecatory prayer’. Which is a prayer that God should deliver his justice unto me, and going into some detail about what that justice should include, me being such a filthy sinner not fit to live.

    It’s been a few years, so Gods biding his time obviously.

  46. Ari 46

    And I wonder how many people have been deterred by the demand that they publish their home address on material, particularly if their views are contentious. We’ll never know, but having had my family attacked in my home when in politics I know I wouldn’t be keen.

    Hey Rex- I agree that it’s a recipe for attacks by nutters, but frankly, how else would you deal with abusers like the Exclusive Brethren who posted empty offices as their addresses on their paralell-campaigning material?

    Say what you like about someone having to be hassled for authorising this stuff, but at least it’s closed up the ridiculous loopholes that allowed the Nats to spend over the limit on more than just their GST.

  47. Tara 47

    You forgot to include the Alliance among the ‘progressive party logos’ at the Campaign Hub site.

    They are still around, do good policy and publicity material and have a valuable role to play.

  48. randal 48

    rex…what was it exactly in the “Kool aid” and why has your life turned into a marvel comic?

  49. Pat 49

    Is it true that SP’s posters have been deemed illegal by the Electoral Commission?

    [no. There has been no complaint about the posters, which do comply with the EFA. Slater took a complaint against a protest I took part in. He lost. I was not found to be in breach of the EFA. SP]

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