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Introducing Campaign Hub 2008

Written By: - Date published: 3:37 pm, September 11th, 2008 - 67 comments
Categories: activism, election 2008 - Tags:

Helena Catt, head of the Electoral Commission, says the EFA has had a ‘chilling effect’ on democratic participation. I’m convinced that that is a foolish position based on a belief that ‘democratic participation’ is rich lobby groups paying for ads and billboards, trying to market to us. What the EFA has actually done is democratise participation in democracy. No longer are ordinary people drowned out by the rich organisations. Now, people have the opportunity to be heard in whichever way they choose, they just need to get out there and do it. Anybody can be a third party if they choose, you just have to have the decency to tell the people who you’re trying to influence who you are.

One measure of the health of democratic participation is the vibrancy of the blogosphere. Since we installed our stats package in March, our pageviews have tripled. During the first nine days of this month, Kiwis spent over 125,000 minutes on this blog alone, making over 2500 comments. If that’s not healthy democratic participation, I don’t know what is.

In my darker moments, however, I fear that the blogosphere has become a substitute for real-world action for some. On the one hand, its fantastic to be able to discuss issues with some many intelligent thoughtful people and the blogosphere is a source of quality information and debate in a way that the mainstream media simply is not. On the other hand, spending time trying to convince some libertarian that we shouldn’t just let the poor starve is not as productive as getting out there and trying to show ordinary Kiwis that we’re better off with a left-wing government than National.

I would encourage each one of you to spend time in the next eight and a half weeks contributing to keeping the Left in power. That could be by assisting a political party or a third party campaign, or you do something off your own bat. I really encourage the latter. Don’t wait to be led; lead yourself. Get a few mates together, plan and carry out some political theatre. Make up some posters, leaflets, banners and get them out around your community. There is nothing to stop you doing this, nothing. And its great fun too. We had a ball at the ‘Great New Zealand Sell-off’ protest outside the National party conference. The other day me and a mate spent a couple of hours dropping some leaflets in mailboxes – nice walk in the sun, had some laughs, spread the good word. Easy.

To help out, we’re launching the Campaign Hub 2008 page on The Standard which is twinned with a Campaign Hub Facebook group. The campaign hub will carry info on how you can help out and tips for getting active. Best of all, you can send us your poster and leaflet ideas, and we’ll put them up so people around the country can print them off.

Have a gander, sign up, use the resources at the Campaign Hub, or just get into it. It’s only 58 days until the election, make it count.

Remember, voting should not be the pinnacle of your participation in democracy. It should be only the beginning.

67 comments on “Introducing Campaign Hub 2008”

  1. I hope the Vote With Both Eyes Open group are cool with me linking to their posters, which are available for download already on botheyesopen.org.nz… and stealing a little bit of their text for the ‘tips’ section

    looking forward to seeing the designs you send in

  2. higherstandard 2

    Can I turn the hose on you if you come knocking at my door ?


  3. randal 3

    rock on dude…i’ll check back to hip.hq for some really COOL t-shirts!

  4. you’re a real ad for toryism HS.

  5. Vanilla Eis 5

    Not just the left SP – I’d like to see the right get involved as well. Despite my leanings, I encourage all of my friends to vote regardless because I’d much rather they voted for a party that I personally dislike than stay at home out of apathy on election day. I also try and tell them why I’m voting the way I will, but some won’t hear a word of it.

    So I’d also like to invite any dirty tories out there to also make up some fliers, do some street theatre and generally get into the spirit of things.

    Widespread participation is the best way to make our democracy stronger, and that requires all sides to come to the table.

  6. Vanilla. Agree with the sentiments, especially about voting. The Hub is designed for the Left only but I’m sure they can organise themselves

  7. “…and the blogosphere is a source of quality information and debate…”

    (cough) er…as any good public librarian or information science teacher/tutor/lecturer will tell you: it sure as hell isn’t.

    As for your comment in regard to Helena Catt- well frankly I trust the judgment of a paid, professional ,highly qualified ,specialized and impartial public servant in regard to the EFA more than I would any member of this govt or Labour party activists. But hey, perhaps you’ll tell me the public service are all a bunch of lazy know nothing rotters?
    Now there would be a flip flop of titanic proportions.

    Well, I’m off to stuff some mailboxes for National.
    P.S remember to put your name and address on any home made material advocating people to vote for Labour etc.

    Cheers 😉

  8. BeShakey 8

    “(cough) er as any good public librarian or information science teacher/tutor/lecturer will tell you: it sure as hell isn’t.”

    I suspect they would tell you it isn’t a UNIFORM source of quality information and debate. But I would be surprised if they said there was absolutely nothing of value.

    With regard to Helena Catt, a paid, professional, highly qualified, specialised and impartial public servant, wouldn’t enter into political debates in their professional role. I haven’t seen the context for her comment, but I’d hope it changes the effect of it significantly.

  9. Vanilla Eis 9

    SP: Oh, of course I expect them to organise themselves – lord knows some of them have the funding! I found out the other day that one of my more prominent right-wing classmates was sponsored by Bob Jones while at Vic Uni. Not for anything in particular, just for being right wing and promising!

    Anyway, I digress.

    The tories can organise themselves to vote and campaign, but I very much hope they do.

  10. “As for your comment in regard to Helena Catt- well frankly I trust the judgment of a paid, professional ,highly qualified ,specialized and impartial public servant in regard to the EFA”

    Actually no, you only trust her judgement becuase shes saying what you want to hear, anything else and she woudl be another labour lacky with her snout in the trough.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    I would encourage each one of you to spend time in the next eight and a half weeks contributing to keeping the Left in power. That could be by assisting a political party or a third party campaign, or you do something off your own bat. I really encourage the latter.

    I thought that said ‘assassinating’. Bit extreme, even for you, SP.

    I agree somewhat with getting mired in the blogosphere too. It’s not hard to feel you’re really contributing but it is a niche, albeit an expanding one, and you can also forget about the rest of the world out there, one that doesn’t pay as much attention to politics as those in this sphere.

    No substitute for getting out there.

  12. Well, I’m off to stuff some mailboxes for National.

    But Ricky – you told me you were not a National Party activist:

    Robinsod: sorry old boy/old girl I’m not one of the party faithful of either National or Labour

    Yet more government waste

    Someone from the Nats lying??? Say it ain’t so ricky. Say it aint so.

  13. Oh yeah – and my follow up comment from way back then:

    Richard – I know you are a National party activist. Why are you (and so many other tories) ashamed to admit it?

    The first step to fixing the problem is acknowledging it Ricky…

  14. Totally agree, people should get out there and campaign for the party of their choice, grass roots politicians I think they call it.

    I don’t think bloggers have that much impact though, take a look at 2006 in the USA with Lieberman .

    Anyway, glad your doing your bit, by putting leaflets in people’s mailboxes, even though its for a party I don’t support, who knows a national party supporter by put National leaflets in your letterbox. Or have a group of National supports marching and chanting down your street.

    I hope the left now realizes free speech applies to everybody.

    Oh I would appreciate any tips you could give me.

  15. Its only 58 days till the election?????

  16. Brett. Based on Nov 8 (19 days left in Sept, 31 in Oct, 8 in Nov).

    If Nats want to chant down Highbury Rd, they’re more than welcome.. bit hilly though and not too many jokers about.

    Richard. You’re right, materials should be authorised, there’s info on that on the Campaign Hub page http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?page_id=2984

  17. Patrick 17

    Brett – good luck! I’m sure many people on the left would love to have National’s ‘policies’ distributed to homes.

    I do agree with you about the political impact bloggers can have though, Ron Paul is probably a more recent example of a huge political savvy online following that simply did not exist offline.

    I’ve had a friend describe blogging as talk back radio for young people, and sadly I think it’s a pretty accurate description, as much as I enjoy it!

    Hehe, recaptcha: persuade on

  18. Daveski 18

    I don’t see any publicity about the election date unless the Standard/SP does have a direct line to the 9th floor
    [self-moderation: read the about pages and repent and the BOFH will get you!]

    Likewise, I have difficulty with the way in which you simply dismiss negative views of the EFA from impartial and non-political qangos. I can only imagine the outrage if any National-govt legislation had the same result.

  19. Daveski. Like everyone else, I’ve worked out the election will almost certainly be on Nov 8 by simple process of elimination. Do you really think that if I did have a direct line to the 9th floor I would be revealing it through indirect references?

    I don’t ‘simply dismiss’ Catt’s comments, I argue they are wrong by referring to evidence that contradicts her comments. She is neither automatically right, nor automatically wrong. And I would note that you and the rest of the Kiwiblog Right have repeatedly attacked Catt for the ECs decisions this year when National, Farrar etc have tried to abuse the EFA to prevent unions and others from having their voice and have failed miserably.

  20. Daveski 20

    SP – attempt at humour C-

    It does raise the question (no begging allowed) as to why the date hasn’t been formalised.

    And while I can’t accuse you of being joined to the 9th floor hip, you can’t paint me with the Kiwiblog brush.

  21. Patrick. I think there’s more to blogging than that, especially in NZ with its shallow pool of professional media. The major blogs undoubtedly influence reporting and flows on into the discourse. Indeed, that was one reason The Standard was set up, because journos were just running National’s lines received via Farrar without question. I think there’s also an important informative role. Remember when people always used to talk about benefit numbers exploding under Labour? That’s a view you could hold if you just read the mainstream media but leftwing blogs have destroyed arguments like that so comprehensively time and again that you rarely see even the most rabid Kiwiblog Right types making them anymore.

    But, yeah, mostly it’s good fun and an opportunity to talk politics.

  22. Patrick 22

    Oh that’s certainly true, and we’ve seen several examples already this year of blogs breaking major news stories, and it’s great to see. Another, unfortunate side effect is seeing Farrar labeled a “political commentator”.

    But for the most part it’s just people talking to the wind, but boy is it fun hehe.

  23. Tane 23

    SP, I’d recommend doing an email list too. Not everyone uses facebook.

  24. Daveski 24

    Both Kiwiblog and the Standard add considerably to the political landscape. Both are partisan, undoubtedly, and both discount the merits of the other.

    I don’t think anyone would go to either to look for balanced analysis but there is undoubtedly passionate discussion on both sites.

    Whether the blogosphere will make any different to the election remains to be seen.

  25. I would suggest that membership of political parties and organisations was a better proxy for democratic involvement than how many hits The Standard gets 😉

  26. Ari 26

    Both Kiwiblog and the Standard add considerably to the political landscape. Both are partisan, undoubtedly, and both discount the merits of the other.

    I don’t think anyone would go to either to look for balanced analysis but there is undoubtedly passionate discussion on both sites.

    Whether the blogosphere will make any different to the election remains to be seen.

    A lot of sentiments being expressed in the blogosphere have made their way into the general election discourse. Whether that means it’s influential is a different matter, but it suggests the possibility at least.

    As for partisanship- it would certainly be nice to have a site that’s either non-partisan or multi-partisan, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  27. lprent 27


    It does raise the question (no begging allowed) as to why the date hasn’t been formalised.

    It is formalised.

    An election must be no more than 38? months from the date of the previous one. Our previous one was Sept 17 2005. So this one is no later than Nov 17 2008.

    It must have at least 6 weeks notice from the time that the election is called to when it is performed.

    The GG can call the election, but in practice it is usually triggered by the PM resigning the government, and staying on in a caretaking role (or something daft like that is the convention).

    These sites aren’t there for balanced analysis. They’re there for prying around anything related to politics on a partisan basis and disseminating it.

    If you have a look at the About for this site, you’ll find that it is quite explicit about being there to support the labour movement activists. It does this by providing a discussion area and a way of distributing ideas. The mere fact of having debate running across the political divides is just a bonus (and largely due to the moderators and myself not wanting to look at the same old tropes over and over again).

    For me the best thing about the site is when I hear people repeating points to me and referencing the site as being where they came from. That is why it is here.

    SP: Also 7.8GB of data transferred in 10.7 days. This after I’ve spent days tweaking things to minimize data transfers. My bloody swap is running at about 50MB which means that soon I’ll have to start thinking about upping the RAM again.

    Currently the lurker to commentator ratio is creeping close to 50:1. Most of the readers don’t go into comments – they read the posts up on the front page.

    I’m pretty politically active outside the blogs, but not in street theatre, etc.

  28. r0b 28

    Excellent post – one of the best. And what a good idea to set up Campaign Hub. Outstanding!

    I’m up to my shapely ass in real world campaigning, and can only encourage others (of all political persuasions, but hmm maybe especially you Greens and lefties!) to get out there and get involved. As Vanilla Eis said so cogently above, it’s all about strengthening democracy.

    And on that unusually hopeful note, toodle pip!

  29. Phil 29

    Re; printing leaflets about John Key

    I don’t mean to be picky, but “climate change is a hoax” wasn’t the direct quote

  30. Still raining but spring is in the air 30

    I will go up into my attic and get down some of my eighties badges supporting labour and unions and will wear them even though I will look a complete gonk! (-:

    I already volunteer as a literacy tutor and between working full-time and being a full-time mum, that is all I can manage without everything turning to complete crap.

  31. IrishBill 31

    “I’m up to my shapely ass”

    I had no idea you and ‘sod were an item.

  32. Billy 32

    I’ve never heard anyone describe ‘sod as “shapely”. And he’s a donkey.

  33. r0b 33

    I had no idea you and ‘sod were an item.

    Alas, ‘sod is already taken, I can only dream of what might have been.

  34. forget it.. 3 strikes and all that!!!

  35. Cecil 35

    Great idea get active punch a politician. Clever Trevor did.

  36. explanation: I lost the first two comments without any effort whatsoever.. maybe some improvement to the encryption thing is in order.. increases receptivity.. etc

  37. randal 37

    in the mentime please send donations or sign up to donate to the party that has done more for new zealand in the last nine years than national has ever done in this century!

  38. Cecil 38

    RANDAL – never in New Zealand’s history have so many Labour MP’s been caught up in sordid corruption. Labour are history, nobody in their right mind would vote for the deceptive, despicable creeps!!

  39. r0b 39

    RANDAL – never in New Zealand’s history have any Labour MP’s been caught up in sordid corruption.

    Fixed that for you.

  40. Cecil 40

    r0b – when does Fatty Field appear in the criminal dock?
    Will he use the standard lying Labour lawyer?
    Who will Trevor punch out election night?
    Will Peter kiss another man election night?

  41. r0b 41

    Ahh Cecil that didn’t take long did it. Plonk.

  42. Quoth the Raven 42

    Who will Trevor punch out election night?

    Whenever I read anything about Mallard like the above, I can’t help but mention Gerry two tonne Brownlee, who actually got convicted of assault.

  43. Robinsod, I didn’t know my comments have meant so much to you that you cling on to them. I don’t know if I should be flattered or creeped out.
    With the future of NZ at stake in this election I am defiantly a Nat activist now. I hope that will keep you warm at night, I doubt much else does 😉
    (Sorry with that last comment, I’m descending to your level, I ‘ll stop that.)

    Killinginthenameof (that’s a hell of a tag!) You assume too much and I would turn your comment around and say the judgment of Dr Catt is being called ‘foolish’ here because she implies criticism of Labours EFA. If she was saying everything is fine and dandy then people here would be saying she is a trusted, respected, professional and impartial civil servant whose judgment is far better than the oppositions and so on.

    Here is the context of Dr Catts comments which came from a recent speech she gave in her professional capacity:
    Judge them as you wish. If you find the nzherald an unacceptable source then email her office for a copy of the transcript of her speech. I’m sure her office would be happy to supply it.
    Steve: Your right, we found a leaflet drop walk round the block very enjoyable, even if it was a bit chilly J

  44. higherstandard 44


    There is a very good and humorous look at the biff in NZ politics over the years here if you want a chuckle.


  45. tothetight 45

    For posters why not use some of the Russian ones in WW2 showing JK in a German uniform and HC as a solider saving the motherland by slaying JK.

  46. higherstandard 46


    I’m not sure which is the more absurd comparing John Key to a Nazi or Helen Clark to a Stalinist.

  47. higherstandard 47

    Eh moderation, which word’s in the naughty list ?

  48. mike 48

    Nice graphics SP, it looks like you are recruiting for the mongrel mob.

    Mind you I think you will need any help you can get if the next poll figures are anything to go by…

  49. Quoth the Raven 49

    Good article, thanks HS. I wish people wouldn’t get so hung up about a bit of biff in parliament.

  50. Cecil 50

    Parliament is the highest court in the land. I must tell the judge the next time that a “bit of biff” is ok mate !!

  51. T-Rex 51

    Note to those distributing National party policy – Don’t bother hitting any of the cafes, they’ve already been covered.

    Great initiative, go hard! I’m ill placed for leaflet dropping, but I’ll try and come up with something posterworthy.

  52. “Killinginthenameof (that’s a hell of a tag!)”


    “Here is the context of Dr Catts comments which came from a recent speech she gave in her professional capacity:

    My main thing is does she mean chilling like putting something in the freezer, cools it down a bit, not quite so active. Or does she mean chilling like security cameras on every lamp post and people dissapearing in the dark of night. I’m hopeless at english, and can’t really pick which. I’d like to think she means the former, but Farrar and co are certainly presenting it as the latter. I honestly don’t know.

  53. Dean 53

    “Ahh Cecil that didn’t take long did it.”

    Field was only guilty of trying to help his constituents, right r0b?

  54. r0b 54

    Nah Dean Fields was guilty of a whole lot more than that from the sound of it.

  55. Cecil 55

    More expensive state funded litigation caused by unsavoury Labour MP’S . It’s bloody disgusting and now the Winston saga. When will it end Gladys?

  56. Quoth the Raven 56

    Cecil – A troll aren’t you. Let’s have a think about the unsavoury National MPs. Gerry Brownless done for assault, Nick Carter done for drunk driving, Shane Arden got charged with disorderly behaviour. Who was the last party to be investigated by the SFO. That’s right it was National in 1998. Didn’t national “miscalculate its GST” at the last election. What party did Winston Peters used to belong to?

  57. Dean 57


    “Nah Dean Fields was guilty of a whole lot more than that from the sound of it.”

    Now there’s an ex Labour MP we don’t hear much about these days. I wonder what adjectives Helen could find to describe such an individual?

  58. Razorlight 58

    “Anybody can be a third party if they choose, you just have to have the decency to tell the people who you?re trying to influence who you are.”

    I don’t think many authors from The Standard or contibutors, myself included, would agree with you there SP.

    Other than yourself there are not to many on here saying who they are in their attempt to influence.

  59. Robinsod, I didn’t know my comments have meant so much to you that you cling on to them. I don’t know if I should be flattered or creeped out.

    Sorry to disappoint you ricky but you’re not that special – I just have a near photographic memory – especially for text. It’s very useful for calling idiots to account and cross-referencing all sorts of information but the downside is I’m cursed to carry every retarded blog comment I’ve ever read around in my head for the rest of my friggin life.

    Talk about a Faustian pact…

  60. randal 60

    In the westminster system of government it is the prime minister who calls the election and nobody else. that is why he/she is the prime minister,it is her prerogative. (john key note spelling and try the correct pronunciation). anyway please donate your time and cash to the party who does more for new zealand than running round whingeing and crying haRD DONE BY AS THE NATS DO.

  61. Razor, well blogs have an exemption but I don’t see the harm in having to put your name to real world political action.

  62. Phil 62

    I just have a near photographic memory – especially for text


  63. I guess this video kinda relates to our election, its Scottish Comedian Craig Ferguson telling Americans to vote.

  64. Bill 64

    Craig Ferguson’s routine on dinosaur extinction used to be a lot funnier than this. At least proselytising that T-Rex should knit woolly jumpers would have had a noticeable effect. But voting between candidates of corporate america?

    Maybe you lose your edge when you become an American.

  65. I just have a near photographic memory – especially for text


    Like I said Phil – every retarded comment. Thanks for adding to that burden…

  66. deemac 67

    isn’t it Catt’s job to decide what the legislation means? not to say we won’t know till it’s been tested in court – that just sounds like buck passing to me. Surely her job is well paid because it involves responsibility.

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