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Granny Herald’s campaign fails

Written By: - Date published: 2:46 pm, January 28th, 2008 - 33 comments
Categories: election funding, Media - Tags: ,

Hidden away today at the bottom of the Herald’s story on further data from the latest DigiPoll is the news that only 3.8% of those surveyed rate the Electoral Finance Act as a vote influencing issue.

You can just about feel the Herald’s despair that despite an unprecedented, wholly unbalanced and misleading campaign against the EFA they have not managed to manufacture outrage and concern beyond the well-heeled National and ACT supporters who tottered along Queen St last year.

This election will be fought on issues, real issues, like health, education, environment, security, and yes taxation. And it is a good thing that issues will drive the campaign.

Interesting also to see Family First’s full page ad in weekend papers on the referendum to re-establish the defence of reasonable force for those who beat their children. Emotive twaddle no doubt, but fully acceptable within the scope of the Electoral Finance Act. (though possibly in trouble in terms of the 1993 Act that covers referendums- that would be an Act passed by National….)

Free speech lives, but don’t tell that to the coalition.

33 comments on “Granny Herald’s campaign fails”

  1. Lisa 1

    Great to see Labour have put the Family First .

  2. AncientGeek 2

    Hidden away today at the bottom of the Herald’s story on further data from the latest DigiPoll is the news that only 3.8% of those surveyed rate the Electoral Finance Act as a vote influencing issue.

    That is what I get. I work in a relatively conservative workplace. There was a lot of discussion last year on defence of reasonable force, but absolutely nothing on EFB. I think that is an issue that is of interest only to the chattering classes.

    It has been interesting talking to people over the last few days when I’ve been off the web, mentioning the exclusive brethren decision to vote this election. In all cases the words ‘hypocrital’ or hypocritic featured. I don’t think that anyone was that happy with what they did in the last election apart from some of the rabid right.

  3. AncientGeek 3

    Ummm what happened to the spell check – I meant ‘hypocritical’

  4. Ruth 4

    This has always been a beltway issue. I don’t like the EFA, but I have said many times b4 that I wish I had so little else to worry about in my life that I had the time to march down queen st about it.

    Shows the disconnect between reality and the blogosphere/talkback radio. Same with the smacking thing, I think. This is important to a very small number of fanatics who welcome the govt into our bedrooms and homes when it comes to other issues – eg homosexuality, abortion.

    Typical of the far right – love your fetus, hate your kid.

  5. AncientGeek 5

    Going off on an aside.

    Ruth: I backtracked onto your site and found an interesting post that you put on about house affordability.

    Wish I’d had that Hargreaves report when I was annoyed about a rather self-serving housing study last week.

    You are right. Ultimately the market will determine the housing prices, and there isn’t that much government can do about it. Well not unless we want an economy like North Korea (or muldoon’s NZ).

    However, there is one area that I think a government has a legitimate reason to be involved in housing. That is as a public health issue.

    There is no point having all of the clean water and sewerage systems, if you have significant portions of the population living in an open air hovel’s. A population that is living in sub-standard accommodation is just as dangerous to the rest of the population as having open air sewers.

    World-wide there are two general solutions – one is to have ghettos, shanty towns, etc for the poor, and the other is to provide safe housing on the bottom end of the market. The possible third solution of the market providing doesn’t seem to occour in practice.

    I won’t bother going into the public costs of the shanty town solution in crime, disease reservoirs, and strains on public health systems. Personally I think that the highest cost long term is in losing the potential from almost all of the children born there.

  6. Phil 6

    Not so sure about that Ruth, a lot of Labour core voting base – single mothers, familys on low incomes etc – seem to be quite angry about the anti-smacking bill.

  7. AncientGeek 7

    Phil: It is usual for people to be passionate about single issues talking to pollsters well out from an election. They tend to think wider when they actually get around to deciding who to vote for.

    Thats why you tend to find a lot of movement in polls with difference between parties diminishing closer to elections. Personally I have never had much faith in polling. The more you know about stats and the population makeup, the less you believe that they are measuring anything significant.

    Besides, didn’t almost all parties including the national party vote for the legislation.

  8. Lisa 8

    All my girls friends, who are young mothers are totally against this smacking law .

    Yes AG – Chester did kiss Sue .

  9. Tim B 9

    I agree the EFA is probably an issue that is only a major concern for those living “inside the beltway”. However, to me it is still an obnoxious piece of legislation that the left should not support – requiring people to register with the state just to organise a protest march, publish a leaflet or express any sort of political opinion!

    Also it’s particularly galling to see groups like Family First being able to parade around as champions of libertarian democratic values when as Ruth points out they are nothing of the sort. But this the unavoidable outcome of allowing the pragmatic concerns of the parliamentary Labour Party instead of core left wing principles guide our position on this issue…

  10. Dan 10

    3.8% is about right. That about sums up the anti-smackers, the David Farrars, the anti-ELA ers. Such is the nastiness of some of their blogging on various blog sites, it smacks of desparation.Key and English will eventually disassociate themselves from the loyal but rabid right. NZers are much more sensible. Helen Clark will sail down the middle with her practical, cautious, humanitarian policies in the next election, and the loony rigt, the 3.8%ers, will head off to Australia, where they will find it is not all honey and roses.

  11. outofbed 11

    or beer & skittles

  12. AncientGeek 12

    Tim B:
    On the whole I’d actually agree. It is definitely not what I would have been considered to be ideal.

    However it is an inevitable consequence of MMP. Because the political parties cannot concentrate on marginal electorates as they did under a FPP or in aussie under a STV system, the campaigns last longer. Politicians have to convince a much larger group, and as they are restricted mainly by a lack of active people, they will start earlier.

    Most of the EFA provisions were also provisions in the old act – they were just restricted to 3 months. The new act extends that out to up to 10 months, assuming the latest possible election date.

    The new provisions were a mostly a recognition of changing technologies of communication and financing.

    The reason that it done this term was a direct consequence of some of the stuff that went on last election. The exclusive brethren mail drops, the national billboard campaign starting 7 months out from the election, and some of the rather dodgy donations that were going on.

    I really can’t see a lot of choice…

  13. AncientGeek 13

    Also in some ways it is less restrictive. From memory under the old act you were required (more observed in the breach than the practice) to put your name on anything prompting or attacking a political party anytime. Now it is just a max of 10 months.

    Parliament decided to not to legislate the unenforced.

    captcha: grief persecution
    wierd..

  14. AncientGeek 14

    Quite enjoyed this blog “The Master Plan” in OnPoint on Public Address. It is an excellent summary about what I think is likely to happen than Bill Ralston’s rather strange article.

    It is all pretty standard economics, and I’m really glad that this global recession is starting after we’ve finally got rid of muldoon’s debt from the 70’s and 80’s.

    excerpt (just to get people to go and read it):

    This part of the coming election is becoming clear now. There will be a spending spree, and there will be a lot of effort to portray the spending spree next year as, oh, I don’t know, “the last ditch attempt by a tired, directionless government desperately trying to hang on to power”, that sort of thing.

    But is it? It’s undeniably convenient for the government that a global recession is looming on the eve of an election. Not only can they spend big with a good conscience, with fewer inflationary pressures from overseas, but they (well, Cullen) can simultaneously blame America for the global woes and tsk tsk their right-wing economic policies.

    I think we can give Cullen the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn’t engineer the subprime crisis, but the Government hasn’t found itself in this position by chance, either. Cullen has spent almost a decade resisting the political pressure to splurge — with mixed success — but he has ultimately emerged from the other side intact.

    It may still fail miserably, or even spectacularly, but succeed or fail, this will be Cullen’s master plan, carried out in full. It won’t be simple opportunism or the panicked flailing of the arms. If anything, this is the only part of this Government which still has a strong sense of direction and purpose.

    It’s also a reflection of Cullen’s own theoretical and ideological leanings, so the outcome will vindicate or indict the ideas, along with the man.

    The next budget is going to be bloody interesting.

  15. MikeE 15

    Thats the first time I’ve been referred to as “well heeled”..hmm

  16. Robinsod 16

    Jeez TDS – you go away on holiday, get all refreshed and that’s the best you can do? How dull.

  17. AncientGeek 17

    AG – good grief you must have been asleep last year if that is your interpretation of the EFA.

    I’m not talking about propaganda, I’m talking about the actual acts. And it was a pain matching them up as well. Would have been nice to have found a sectional cross reference.

    How many MMP elections have we had now, without such draconian and unnecessary legislation?

    Four – as is noted in the preamble on the bills, along with some of the issues that lead to the decision to bring the bill forward.

    Its odd though that it is only supposed ‘transgressions’ by the Nats are the reason AG gives for ‘needing’ the EFA. Pity he is so blinkered that he misses what Teh Party got caught at eh?

    They are the ones that I notice. But I will add that some of the issues arose during the Petters vs Clarkson case, and a number of them were brought forward from the electoral commission of 1986 on electoral reform (that led to the MMP).

    It isn’t like it was a sudden decision to go ahead… It should have been done in the 1993 electoral act

  18. Draco TB 18

    Interesting aspect of that article is that it still shows that 75% of people just don’t care about tax cuts.

    The possible third solution of the market providing doesn’t seem to occour in practice.

    That’s because at the moment the housing market isn’t shaped to be of any benefit to society. Change it so that houses are no longer investment properties (rental properties) and speculating in the housing market is a losing proposition and house prices will fall and stabilize.

    Excess rental property is actually bad for the economy same as any other excess in the market is. The rent money comes out of the economy, goes into someone’s bank account (some it is living costs, some for saving), when enough is saved they buy another house to rent out because it’s probably all they know about “investing”. All this investment into housing removes needed investment in other more productive sectors such as R&D, factories etc effectively strangling the economy.

    Home ownership also has benefits for society. The people who own their own homes tend to participate in the community more and are more stable which reduces crime and improves schooling therefore helping the children to a better life.

  19. Peak Oil Conspiracy 19

    Robinsod:

    I take it your 9.11 pm and 9.28 pm posts were in response to comments by “The Double Standard” – which have been deleted?

    The Standard moderators:

    In the interests of transparency (and for the benefit of those reading through threads after the event), wouldn’t it be wise to clearly indicate where comments have been deleted, and if the reason isn’t obvious, why?

  20. AncientGeek 20

    I believe that they do – bold with []

  21. Peak Oil Conspiracy 21

    Ancient Greek:

    “I believe that they do – bold with []”

    Yes, but it doesn’t always happen – and the result is some threads lose their logical flow.

    See the sensible approach taken here:
    http://www.publicaddress.net/system/topic,917,hard_news_monster_weekend.sm?p=39614#post39614

    IrishBill says: Generally comments which cross the line receive warnings and if they are repeated they are deleted with an explanation. Comments that we identify as concerted trolling by way of them being strictly abusive or having been cut and paste from attack-lines elsewhere will be deleted without explanation just as spam is.

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    Excess rental property is actually bad for the economy same as any other excess in the market is. The rent money comes out of the economy, goes into someone’s bank account (some it is living costs, some for saving), when enough is saved they buy another house to rent out because it’s probably all they know about “investing”. All this investment into housing removes needed investment in other more productive sectors such as R&D, factories etc effectively strangling the economy.

    Capital gains tax time!

    As I see it (a long time renter, who hasn’t really started dreaming of owning) demand in New Zealand is driven by the profitability of property ownership. A large proportion of New Zealands housing stock is in the hands of a small group of people with multiple (at least two) properties.

    They’re holding on to these until they retire, and then they can sell up and walk away with up to a million for a fairly bog-standard house, depending on the location.

    A capital gaius tax would make this type of ‘investment’ less profitable and people would start selling houses in order to invest in proper growth funds (with the advantage of incresing capital available to New Zealand’s domestic industry, among other things).

    More houses would be on the market, prices would drop and further encourage sales intil some equilibrium of ownership to renters is reached.

    Some, who have been making money, or expecting to (at the expense of those who cannot afford to purchanse property), will suffer, as their ‘investments’ lose value, but this will probably be a short term correction, as housing and land prices are re-aligned with incomes and continue to grow with inflation, and not 10% faster.

  23. Michele Cabiling 23

    Matthew Pillock wrote:

    “As I see it (a long time renter, who hasn’t really started dreaming of owning) demand in New Zealand is driven by the profitability of property ownership.”

    Rewriting this sentence to convey its true intent:

    “As I see it (a long time renter, who hasn’t really started dreaming of owning) demand in New Zealand for a capital gains tax on residential housing is driven by the envy of those who have not succeeding in achieving property ownership.”

  24. unaha-closp 24

    This election will be fought on issues, real issues, like health, education, environment, security, and yes taxation. And it is a good thing that issues will drive the campaign.

    And if Labour/Greens can win 50 out of every 96 votes they can win.

    This has always been a beltway issue.

    This has always been a NON-issue. Only through hard work and obstinance in the face of wide opposition has the government managed to create (out of nothing) a 4% voting group that will not vote Labour.

  25. the sprout 25

    the Family Fist referendum may be in a bit of trouble because many of the signatories signed before Key’s ‘imaginary amendment’ that then allowed the msm and ‘mainstream’ NZers to think it wasn’t so bad after all.
    so there would be a possibility of signatories withdrawing their support for a referendum because they nolonger support its intent.

  26. the sprout 26

    the herlad’s campaign hasn’t been completely pointless though – it’s been useful in further diminishing their cedibility

  27. Matthew Pilot: “A capital gaius tax would make this type of ‘investment’ less profitable and people would start selling houses in order to invest in proper growth funds..”

    Yesssss… those ‘proper growth funds” that have been doing soooo well lately? Sorry but houses are still safer than anything else. Until that changes a capital gains tax would be kicking people for trying to save via property ownership. Changing the RMA to increase land available for housing should help to deal with demand and supply. Another option is to end taxation on earnings from savings and non-property based investments to make them more attractive.
    Capital gains tax isn’t a solution. More tax is not the answer for every problem.

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    Michele, O Wretched Troll, do you think it a good situation whereby the property market is persistently failing?

    Oh, that’s right, the market is perfect, democratising and seeks to create balance. Because it’s still the 18th century, in your mind at least.

    Tell me, have they invented the Internal Combustion Engine yet, and how is that mercantilism treating you all? Pity you won’t get to vote for another century or two, but medicine will start to increase your chances of surviving giving birth, should you decide to spaw…I mean reproduce.

    I have a thought for you to consider – the market isn’t “the force”, life isn’t Star Wars and Jedi Knights don’t run around being the “invisible hand” that makes the market work perfectly.

    On a less serious note, one can only assume Michele is too dim to consider that the lack of a capital gains tax is encouraging housing demand at the expense of investment that improves this country, as opposed to the detrimental situation at hand.

    P.S – did everyone see Moreau’s cartoon today about Family Fi(r)st? Nice to see that term catching on 🙂

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Richard, I’m somewhat familiar with the argument about changes to the RMA and see several problems.

    1-there isn’t (as often percieved) a great shortage of housing in New Zealand. People often rent when tehy would prefer to own. Creating a situation to increase availability of houses would simply overstock supply.

    2-This would have the same effect as the tax (reducing land costs) but instead of freeing up existing stock – a la CGTax – it would drive people into new housing. This would probably have the same effect on existing owners of multiple houses (the value of their investment would be shot) but for no benefit. With the tax, they could still sell and reinvest – unlikely if there was an oversupply.

    3-What’s been proposed would lead to all the problems of urban sprawl and ghettoisation, not to mention potentially depopulating exitsing areas needlessly.

    Tax isn’t always the answer, but it doesn’t mean it’s always the wrong answer!

    There are plenty of savings options that can be effective. Houses aren’t that safe as an investment, as the RMA solution illustrates. Since housing stock is so overvalued at present, it’s not going to take that much to burst the bubble, but it’s going to be a right shock to many people when it happens.

  30. Michele Cabiling 30

    Empirical research establishes that property markets are cyclical over a seven year period. This is because, in the short term, supply of a particular class of property is relatively illquid, meaning the market is slow to respond to changes in demand.

    The ability of the housing market to respond to changing market signals is (as in every case where leftard know-betters attempt to replace the Invisible Hand of the market with the visible hand of Big Gummint) hampered by zoning controls and urban growth boundaries.

    The upsurge in Auckland house prices is primarily due to the short supply of affordable development land at the urban periphery. What’s needed here to solve the problem is not MORE gummint, but LESS gummint.

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    Michele, haven’t you noticed that the upsurge in housing prices has been throughout the country, and persistent for some time now? There isn’t a shortage of developable land throughout the country, which implies there’s an external cause for much of the country’s housing price problem.

    I find it interesting that someone with an interest in economics would look at a market in isolation, thereby ignoring the distorting effect of other factors on the property market, as I established above.

    This distortion isn’t caused by a housing shortage – it doesn’t exist. It’s a shortage of saleable houses caused by them becoming an investment option over and above a necessary commodity for families. A ‘redistribution’ is what’s required, and the market (as always) isn’t up to the challenge.

  32. Matthew P, I beg to disagree,

    1. The type of property currently held by people owning more than one property varies widely, some of it unsuitable for families. As an example 1-2 bedroom flats and apartments. One only needs to look at Auckland to find this. Freeing these properties up via a capital gains tax would not help first home family buyers.
    New home stock is required. Also since much more land would become available this would reduce the value of ‘land parcels’ held by developers thus encouraging them to either build or sell onto someone who will.

    2. The value of property can’t ever really be ‘shot’. It can decrease but never actually be destroyed. (apart from being physically destroyed of course!) In Mary Holm’s excellent short investment guide: Snakes and Ladders she makes the point that between 1970-2004 house prices have risen by an average of 10.2% per year. This, despite oil shocks of the 1970’s, 1987 crash, dotcom collapses in the 1990’s, 1997 currency crisis and Enron in the US. Property is still the safest investment. I don’t like it because property produces nothing for export and simply adds to inflation but there it is.

    3.I agree a capital gains tax would free up stock for buyers but it would also decrease rental options for renters thus causing rents to rise due to decreased supply. That is not a desirable outcome. So again more housing stock is needed.

    As you point out there are other savings options but its best to use carrots, like cutting taxes on income from savings, rather than sticks like capital gains tax to encourage people towards non-property investment.
    As an example Kiwi saver is choca with carrots and thus is reasonably successful in getting people to sign up, despite its current processing problems.
    Cheers.(and tables).

  33. Matthew Pilott 33

    Richard, sorry for the late reply if you don’t see this before it disappears into the æther.

    Just a few quick thoughts anyhow.

    1 – Many people see an apartment as a viable firstproperty. People are starting families later and are happy to live in such accommodatiion for far longer. It’s not proven that the housing stock required is suburban redidential.

    What with all these calls on changes to the RMA, one would think there was a moratorium on house building. After a drive through the North and South Islands recently I can assure you this is not teh case, from Wellington’s Northern Suburbs, to Papamoa, Kaikoura, Reefton, opotiki and beyond. Houses and subdivisions are going up everywhere.

    2 – You are right. I was overstating it by saying that a serious ddecline in housing would occur. What I meant there – a moderate decline in hosusing, or a hiatus in the rampant cost increases extant would suffice to help aligh costs with incomes. this would reduce the potential growth valuse of a house compared to other forms of investment.

    3 – Many of the buyers would be current renters!

    As for a carrot – cut a corresponding tax that would encourage real savings 🙂 (there – I’m not all for tax!) if it’s possible to do so without providing an income loophole for those with the wherewithal to stash their extra cash!

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