National hollow on election funding

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 pm, November 6th, 2007 - 21 comments
Categories: election funding, national - Tags: ,


It’s not often we’re wrong, but we’re right again.

Gerry Brownlee dropped a clanger in Parliament today when he admitted that National’s opposition to electoral finance reform isn’t to do with the drafting problems, nor is it to do with anonymous donations. It’s about being able to buy their way onto the Treasury benches in election year by making sure their spending is only counted in the three months leading up to the election.

Currently campaign spending is capped for the three months before polling day. National took advantage of this in the 2005 election with a pre-campaign campaign (known as a warm-up) of at least two months of unaccountable advertising, including the infamous ‘iwi/kiwi’ national billboard campaign. Just to give you an idea of the amount of money involved, a single billboard costs between $4,000-12,000 per placement per month – and that’s not including artwork.

It’s now widely accepted by journalists and academics that the election campaign now lasts for at least a full year. Journalists I’ve spoken to have told me they believe the 2008 election campaign has already begun. Because of this the campaign period is the most relevant part of the EFB since it counts election spending from January 1.

Have a read of what Gerry had to say in the house today. It really is quite revealing. For all their talk of principles and freedom, National really are that hollow.

Gerry Brownlee: “I have in my possession a document that sets out the fact that National was happy for a rollover, provided it would lead to a much shorter election period. I seek leave to table that document, along with the document of Mr Eagleson.”

Leave granted.

Hon Bill English: Can the Minister confirm that the effect of the Labour Party’s policy now on electoral reform, for the first time ever done on a purely partisan basis, is this: private citizens and organisations will be heavily restricted and tightly restricted on what they can spend rebutting Labour’s propaganda, but the Labour Government will have at its disposal millions for Government advertising, and all MPs’ expenditure has been exempted from tight electoral spending rules, meaning that taxpayers’ dollars will be sprayed around everywhere in Labour’s cause, and privately raised money will have to be very carefully restricted?

Hon Dr Michael Cullen: What I can confirm, thanks to the very helpful intervention by Mr Gerry Brownlee, is that Labour’s position is exactly the same as National’s on the parliamentary spending bill, except that National members want a shorter period of time for electoral spending because they have so much money in their pockets they cannot spend it if the limitations in that regard start on 1 January. They have been caught out by their own front bench on this question.

The next question is, is Gerry sabotaging the party or is he just that incompetent?

21 comments on “National hollow on election funding”

  1. the sprout 1

    poor Gerry, it can’t be easy being so handsome AND clever all at once

  2. Robinsod 2

    Ha! I asked DPF about this like ages ago and all the righties said I was mad (well, maybe I am but that don’t mean I’m wrong) they were all like “that’s bullshit it’s all about free speech” well what now my loverly righties? The Nat’s will support it if they just get that time to spend their extra moolaaa eh? eh? Fuck I love saying “I told you so”. Maybe a little too much. Why was I banned at KB again? Oh that’s right “slander”? Is it “slander” if it’s true?

  3. Robert Owen 3

    Congratulations on being right
    log on as someone else and give them heaps

  4. Steveb 4

    Ok. So is Gerry saying that he’s ok with spending restrictions for three months, but not for a year?

    I think that’s what they’ve been saying all along isn’t it? It’s one thing to limit spending to a certain figure for three months, quite another to say you can only spend that much in a year. I think he’s saying that three months is justifiable to the Nats, but a year isn’t.

    That’s like saying three months in prison is better than a year.It’s common sense.

    Or am I missing something here?

  5. The Prophet 5

    Yes Steve, you are missing Tane grasping at a hand full of straws.

  6. Benodic 6

    Ah Stevo, that’s the point. National’s only issue with the EFB is that it’ll stop them spending their big bucks. Free speech is out the window. That’s pretty fuckin hollow mate.

    (Captcha is ‘banned Democrat’)

  7. Robinsod 7

    Um steve – you do know about the election period is capped don’t you? Oh and your prison analogy? What a fuckin joke. ‘Cos bro there are three parts to a metaphor (and an analogy is a softened metaphor) they are the ground the vehicle and the tenor. Now the tenor is the real thing, the vehicle is the thing you’re comparing it with and the ground is the basis of the comparison. When you say it’s like prison – there is no ground. (That’s cos it’s not like prison and anyone who said it was was being a moron). Which is to say you can’t even muster a rhetorical argument let alone one based on fact.

    Oh and Profit? Straws? That’s even dumber.

  8. Bullshit, Tane.

    It is not “widely accepted by journalists and academics that the campaign lasts for a full year”. That is rhetorical hogwash, which you simply cannot back up.

    Yes, National “took advantage” of the three month election period in 2005. So did every other party. So has every other party since the three month rule was first applied: long before any of the current crop of MPs were even considering entering Parliament.

    The real reason Labour wants to increase the spending limit period is that they have no cash at all to spend, since they were forced to repay the money they stole from the taxpayer to outspend their electoral cap at the last election.

    Labour is changing the rules to suit itself, at the expense of everybody else.

  9. Steveb 9

    Rob- you’re going to have to rephrase this for me, I can’t make any sense out of it.

    “Um steve – you do know about the election period is capped don’t you?”

    I hope you see the irony in the fact that you followed this sentence up with a lecture on writing. I’m not trying to be argumentative by the way, I’m genuinely just trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.

    But- ok I think I see where you’re coming from. National is concerned that it won’t be able to spend its big bucks outside the three month election period. I think they’ve always been pretty open about this though- they either want a low spending cap for a short period, or a high spending cap for a long election period. They are opposed to a low spending cap over a long election period. They’ve always maintained this, so what is so surprising about what Gerry said?

    I’m not a fan of the Nats and think Gerry’s a dick, but I can’t see why the fuck Gerry stating what they have maintained all along is so fucken surprising.

  10. r0b 10

    Bullshit, Tane.

    It is not “widely accepted by journalists and academics that the campaign lasts for a full year”. That is rhetorical hogwash, which you simply cannot back up.

    Oh dear oh dear. IP – try googling for the phrase “permanent campaign”. Then riddle me this, which NZ political commentator said “most people accept we now have a permanent campaign over the whole electoral cycle”. Here, I’ll make it easy for you. It was DPF.

    Happy now?

  11. Lee C 11

    Tane – I’ve read this, and I have to say it is a quite desperate attempt to fabricate a ‘shock-horror’ slant on well – sod all really.

    About this; To quote Helen Clark to Key after his budget speech:

    “Is that it!!?? IS that it??!! Whoooooooooooooorraaaa lightweight!!!”

    All the same, Thank you for the gift of laughter. There really should be more laughter in the world.

    Anyway I came here just to ask what people think of the incredibly devious way Helen has expoited the Race Card viz-a-vis Maori and the ‘terrorism’ beat up.

    Wasn’t it predictable that after sanctioing the invasion of a community by anti-terrorist forces, that she would reap the niggaz-under-the-bed paranoia and fear of the MSM once Harawera was allowed to open his trap?
    If the intimidation of a community wasn’t enough she culd always keep the fire lit under it all with some well-aimed barbs about firearms and napalm in a toitally un related context for the media, couldn’t she?

    Divide and conquer, classic Helen, great way to minimise the growing support for the Moari Party that is coming from the Labour Party dissaffected.

    PS you don;t have to thank me for putting abit of life inot your otherwise sleepy little blog….

    Ahh the gift of laughter…

    start the car….

  12. Robinsod 12

    Lee – aside from the fact you seem to think you’re more interesting than you are I’d like to ask why you think National’s stance on your dreaded EFB is acceptable when all they are worried about is the term? I mean they don’t seem to have an issue with any of the “freedom of speech” issues you and your ilk have been frothing over for months now. Don’t you feel like you’ve been sold out?

  13. Santa Claws 13


    This looks to be about the Parliamentary spending bill, not the EFB. You wouldn’t be incorrectly combining the issues to justify another ‘hollow’ headline would you now?

  14. Robinsod (moderator) 14

    DPF Claws – you’re back! Not that I’m complaining but why did you ban me from the bog? I see you’ve just put up a series of posts over there too (I quite liked the one about Curran – very balanced). I take it your routine is to get your posts up over there and then pop over here to do a bit of revenge trolling?

    Oh and before our slower righties get too wound up “moderator” is a joke…

  15. Tane 15

    Claws, I’m aware of that, but the point stands. National’s opposition to electoral finance reform is not about principle, but its ability to outspend others. This has been revealed by Brownlee’s admission that National’s only real opposition to reform is the extension of the election period to January 1 the year of the election.

  16. Santa Claws 16

    Robespierre – yawn. Did you forget to take your smart pills this morning?

    Tane – Are the tabled documents available?

  17. Tane 17

    Santa, not that I’m aware of.

  18. Robinsod (moderator) 18

    DPF Claws – Of course I took my smart pills (hint: you can tell ‘cos I’m smarter than you). Did you take your neuroleptics? I’m sure they’re helping with your multiple personality disorder.

  19. Tane 19

    ‘sod bro, stop being a dick. You’re not a moderator. Nobody in their right mind would let you moderate anything – you can’t even moderate your own behaviour.

  20. Robinsod (moderator) 20

    [Robinsod (moderation) Tane::Off Topic, comment will be deleted –
    Use the General Debate Thread, if you believe your comment has any value.]

  21. Tane 21

    You’re a cheeky bastard ‘sod, but that’s why we like you.

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