More from the Hollow Men

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, October 10th, 2007 - 8 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

laundry.jpgNational doesn’t want you to see this.

If you read five pages today, read these.

It’s the transcript of Nicky Hager’s submission to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on the Electoral Finance Bill.

Gems include:

“…Don Brash, John Key, Murray McCully, Gerry Brownlee were all able to use the secrecy of the situation to deny that they had know that the Exclusive Brethren were involved and that they were liaising with the National Party. They all told lies…”

And later, just in case anyone missed it, Hager repeats his point:

What I am absolutely sure of, what I have absolutely confident knowledge of, is that the people who the Exclusive Brethren liaised with and informed of their plans completely were the leader, Don Brash, the finance spokesperson, John Key, and the campaign manager, Steven Joyce… The subsequent denials were not correct. They were untrue.

There’s plenty of other material in the document worthy of dicussion here on the The Standard. Check back soon.

Here’s a link to the PDF (120K).

8 comments on “More from the Hollow Men”

  1. tom-tom 1

    Invercargill’s Nat MP Eric Roy enjoyed huge support, overt and covert, from The Exclusive Brethren in the city. His name is rarely mentioned in connection with the Brethren issue – perhaps he is too small a fish. The local newspaper wouldn’t publish a letter to the editor asking if the ‘Hollow Men’ was to be staged in the city. Keepin’ a tight lid on it in the south!

  2. Sam Dixon 2

    Chris Tremain in Napier also got huge EB support (being the son of an All Black, who captianed the Magpies to Runfury victory in the ’60s and set a major real estate company helps too).

    On the EFB, Charles Chavuel said the other night at a forum that he thinks something more akin to the Canadian elecotral fiancne system will emerge from the select committee process. I would welcome it, the Canadian system is all about disclosure and keeping secret money out of politics, its very close to what the Coalition for Open Government wants.

  3. Lee C 3

    – I’m here!

    Well at the risk of sounding ‘paranoid’ I invite your comments to this about Hager’s submission to the Selct Committee:

    There are several issues there, and Hager mixes them liberally with opinion and accusation, some of which stick, and some of which are his assumption (and here I regard anything that cannot be supported by evidence as such).
    In that regard, I have disregarded factors raised which I do not think are relevant to the Bill as it stands but will comment on what I think is relevant to New Zealand in the 2005 election.
    So the following is a summary of what I believe Hager was saying:
    · Firstly it is apparent that national attempted to circumvent the Election Rules by employing EB cash to the tune of $1.5 million
    · They used the lack of transparency in the present system to try to deny this when caught out & But they were caught and Brash resigned.
    · Hager says ‘the Bill’ is needed, I would disagree ‘A Bill’ is needed, but not this one.
    · He indicates there is a problem with the drafting of a definition of ‘election advertising’
    · He asserts that $60,000 is plenty of money to cover electioneering over a nine-month period
    · He suggests a $2 million spending cap for all parties in an election cover concerns of Labour who aren’t prepared to move on anonymous donations
    · He indicates that controls on anonymous donations are absent from the Bill
    · Neither are there controls on secret trusts which are ‘worse than a third party campaign.”
    · Neither does the Bill tighten declarations on how money is spent
    · He says that we need to register third parties throughout the electoral cycle.
    My thoughts on this are much the same as before. When you get through the (and there’s that word again) hyperbole, my opinion of the Bill as it is drafted still sits with the criticisms I have made after reading the HRC and Law Society submissions.
    Well, let me count the ways:
    · There is an issue with the drafting of a term for ‘election advertising’ (ok that could be sorted)
    · $60,000 is a small sum to be allowed over the nine months of an election.
    · Is the government subject to a cap?
    · $2 million is a good idea, but the Labour Party won’t go for that because of the anonymous donations they need
    · anonymous donations, secret trusts are not controlled so the Bill will encourage those things. If all the stuff about National and the EB is so evil, why wasn’t the Bill structured to address those very things?
    · Getting people to put their names and addresses on placards soes nothing to tighten declarations of spending (if we had a definition of what ‘spending’ is & and that is missing from the Bill)
    · The need to register third parties throughout the electoral cycle is negated by the gaping holes in the rest of the Bill’s construction. It is pointless bureaucracy.
    So Robert Owen, after you get through the valid criticism of how evil the EB and National were & the Bill itself, and this is in Hager’s own opinion, even though he comes across as an advocate for it & is a crock.
    And funnily enough that is my opinion of it too.

    Thing is, I would wish for transparency about political donations, including secret trusts, and third-party involvemtn. I would also like to see a proper definition of what constitutes election spending, and I would like to see a reasonable time scale (and I think ninety days is reasonable) for these factors to be employed.
    It sounds like a National Party line, perhaps, but in all honesty, that is coincidental. I’m not trying to assert that two rights make a wrong, Far from it I’m trying to illustrate that there is a lot of sanctimonious twaddle coming from some quarters about how some people manipulate the existing laws, but fail to acknowledge the same when it happens to come from a Party with whom they agree.
    My view of the Bill is it is inherently badly written. No fine tuning can fix it.
    It’s like you have inherited a car, the body is rusted, the engine is shot, and the tyres are bald, but, rther than save your time an effort by having it crushed, yo are insisting that a bit of paint and some chrome polish will make it humm like new.
    As we say in the UK, ‘You can’t polish a turd!’
    Then it occurred to me, that Nicky Hager makes some VERY VALID points about the National Party Key, Brash et al and the Exclusive Brethrens collusion.

    BUt that was all in the ‘Hollow Men’ was it not?
    Hager’s testimony on that score amounted to little more than a grandiose plug for his book, abetted by Benson Pope who has his own reasosn to bury the EB.
    Are we suggesting that major constituional reform be based:
    not on public consultation or referendum (see Winston’s Party principles)
    not on a proper enquiry and cross-part consultation, but rather
    on one book? (as worthy and well written as it was?)
    I mean I can understand enthusing about a book, even giving it a glowing review!
    But to base major constituional Law reform on it!!??
    Hager, too must be even now counting the ways his royalties can go into his own pension fund and good luck to him, I say!

  4. Robinson 4

    Lee – if they trash the bill and try to get another one up it won’t happen in time to clean up the next election. In my opinion the time to do this was 2002 but now we’ve finally got something on the table it can be used to get some progress. Unfortunately I don’t think changes will include fixing anonymous donations but maybe next time around. Oh, and it’s good to see you over here – are we ever going to have that dinner date?

  5. Spam 5

    Oh No! Those evil, evil EBs! They actually tried to point out how absurd the green’s policies were (eg. comprehensive capital gain’s tax etc). Must stop that kind of nonsense in the future!

  6. Robinson 6

    um Spam – I tend not to use the word “evil” but if I did I’d use it to describe the EB. Do you know what you are defending?

  7. burt 7

    Hager’s had a history of insightful and credible stories about corrupt politicians hasn’t he.

    Corngate springs to mind:

    “Over the following weeks, the pulling up was replaced by a cover-up. Helen Clark’s government did a U-turn: the contaminated crops, including thousands of GE sweet corn plants, were allowed to spread their pollen and then be harvested for sale in New Zealand and overseas. The rest of the known contaminated seed batch was approved for planting. The public was not told. The Government misled the Royal Commission members about the incident to stop it influencing their findings.”

    So do we take all he has said in the past as credible, or do you choose to only believe the stuff that’s not about Labour?

  8. all_your_base 8

    My view has always been that not all “evidence” is created equal. It’s pretty hard to argue with pages and pages of emails, faxes and diary notes. Worth pointing out too that not a single fact to my knowledge has ever been convincingly challenged from The Hollow Men. When Brash tried, he was shown to have lied and hastily resigned. It’s my opinion that Key still has questions to answer about the full extent of his involvement. More tomorrow…

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