National’s spin doesn’t stack up

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, December 4th, 2007 - 101 comments
Categories: national, spin - Tags: ,

National’s attempt to spin its way out of John Key’s DVD debacle doesn’t stack up.

Here’s the official line:

National’s campaign manager Jo de Joux blamed the production company.

“Obviously, National relied on the expertise of the production company that put together the video and its soundtrack,” Ms de Joux said.

“We’ll take all available steps to retrieve copies of the DVD which have already been distributed to electorates, and we have replaced it on our website and National’s You Tube channel.”

It may well be that we don’t know for sure until Hager’s given the emails but my guess is that Jo’s still not being entirely straight with us.

Remember that “Clocks” by Coldplay wasn’t chosen at random by Production Shed.TV. It was the song that John Key entered their Party conference to some months back. They even ran a competition to help pick it.

My guess is that Production Shed.TV approached the Nats to see what music they wanted used in the video. Jo de Joux or John Key or Murray McCully or whoever it is that makes these decisions would have indicated a preference for “Clocks”. On finding out what it would cost to use legitimately the Nats would have encouraged the producers to “explore other options” – read “change one note, and rip it off”.

Now it’s all turned to custard National’s hoping to point the finger elsewhere. It’s time they took some personal responsibility for their actions.

101 comments on “National’s spin doesn’t stack up”

  1. Lee C 1

    Gosh, this is so exciting.

    Who can tell the depth to which National will plummet next.

    They are certainly setting the benchmark for lowering the bar in NZ politics.

    I wonder what we might compare it to?

  2. Susan Deare 2

    Lee C – Sarcasm isn’t a substitute for a good point or a decent argument. Here’s one to fill the void you left:

    National didn’t buy the rights to an artist’s music, but instead tried to cheaply rip it off, got caught out and blamed the production company. It’s as unethical as it is incompetent.

    It shows poor judgement and poor leadership from John Key, the star of the promotional DVD. And this man wants to be PM? What a joke.

  3. Billy 3

    Just another day at the Clocks blog.

  4. Visitor 4

    Two statements from John Key, as reported in today’s Herald:

    “The original version of Clocks was used for Mr Key’s entry at the party’s annual conference in August. He said the National Party had paid for a public performance licence to use the song on that occasion.”

    and …

    “Yesterday, Mr Key said the party had “relied heavily” on the production company Production Shed TV for advice. He understood National had not specifically asked for music that reflected Clocks.”

    In other words, National used Clocks, then asked the production company for new music, and the company came up with music that National had definitely NOT asked them for … which by an extraordinary coincidence, happens to sound just like Clocks.

    Tui time?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10480145

  5. Lee C 5

    National didn’t buy the rights to an artist’s music, but instead tried to cheaply rip it off, got caught out and blamed the production company. It’s as unethical as it is incompetent.

    It shows poor judgement and poor leadership from John Key, the star of the promotional DVD. And this man wants to be PM? What a joke.

    Susan I agree totally. This was all covered on kiwiblog yesterday. And has been done to death over here on the VDS.

    The issue here is that The Very Double Standard is so keen to keep the fire lit under this issue, when really, it is a beat-up, dog-whistle attempt to neutralise the ‘threat’ from the National party to Labour’s precious hegemony..

    National have withdrawn the DVD, made their excuses and will reissue it with another track.

    I agree with you totally, but for goodness sakes, the Frikken EFB is about to be debated in Parlaiament, and all the VDS can do is talk about this tiddler, or villify DPF.

    If this lightweight tabloidy stuff constitutes the ‘Labour movement’s’ approach to the next election, then they are in serious trouble.

    I’m sure you guys have this mental image of John key in the studio, manipulating the dials so that they can ‘get away’ with the rip off!

    That’s why I am sarcastic.

  6. the substantive issue however is that Key and his team have proven themselves once again to be piss poor at managing a campaign, broadly incompetent at handling the basics, and disingenuous when it comes to taking responsibility for their mistakes.

    that’s a bigger issue than clocks itself

  7. Susan Deare 7

    Lee C – I think the point you’re making is an ideologically charged false dichotomy. The issue of this thread is important unto itself because it affects the credibility of NZ’s opposition leader, quite irrespective of anything else.

  8. Lampie 8

    Yes, think bean and Susan have mentioned what the actually point of this thread is. You may suggest that the present Government should be replaced because of bad management and so forth but do we replace it with another group who are just as bad???

  9. Outofbed 9

    JK the clock is ticking

    The man has proved himself to be incompetent.

    2 years ago I wanted Brash to remain leader as I thought Key would bring it home.

    Now I want key to cling on and the Nats not to roll him and install English, because thats the only way they may stand a chance in 08

    Carry on Mr Key (good film title)

  10. Lee C 10

    Lee C – I think the point you’re making is an ideologically charged false dichotomy.

    what as opposed to a true dichotomy?

    Big words don’t don’t make small mindedness any grander, they just expose weak arguments.

  11. Lee C 11

    The issue of this thread is important unto itself because it affects the credibility of NZ’s opposition leader, quite irrespective of anything else.

    I think you nailed it in that last bit, though.

  12. Lee C 12

    yes yes,
    I know… I once used the word ‘egregious’.

    The EFB is egregous though.

    The CLocks thng – well, like I say – ‘exciting’ I suppose, if it floats your boat.

  13. rjs131 13

    Didnt anyone from the labour party take personal responsibility after the auditors general report in light of the 2005 overspend?

  14. gobsmacked 14

    Lee C

    It is JOHN KEY who thinks touring small towns handing out a shallow, policy-free DVD is more important than campaigning against the EFB, or talking about any other matters of substance. That is HIS choice, not the Standard’s.

    You can hardly blame the Standard for focusing on what the National leader himself has chosen to do.

    If you’re not happy with John Key’s priorities, take it up with him.

  15. Eddie 15

    Didnt anyone from the labour party take personal responsibility after the auditors general report in light of the 2005 overspend?

    I think you can safely say that the president did – and then raised over $800,000 to pay it back. Which he duly did and remarkably it was barely mentioned in the media.

  16. lemsip 16

    While we are talking about the credibility of policitcal leaders perhaps we should flog Helen Clark’s dead horse: fradulently passing off some one else’s art work as her own…

  17. Camryn 17

    This DVD issue only seriously undermines the competence of John Key in the minds of those who’re looking for any angle to justify a belief they already hold. It takes several assumptions to come to that conclusion: (1) That he had any awareness of the decision making around the music, and (2) whether the decision making was malicious or stupid. The more reasonable interpretation is ‘a little of both’ – the production company said “we can change it enough for you to use what we make without infringing Clocks” and someone at National said “tee hee hee… saving pennies… cool” and didn’t get a second qualified opinion apart from the one of the person trying to sell them something.

    Coming out of this, National looks like it can admit to mistakes, which is at least second best after not making them. It’s Labour that the populace is tiring of overall. Given how long that has taken, it shows that it takes more than an issue of this scale to cause serious damage to a political party. This probably isn’t any bigger than “Paintergate” in terms of damage or significance.

    I would now commence to do the usual castigation of The Standard for therefore “wasting time” on this, but I’m sure Kiwiblog was 100% dedicated to Paintergate for several weeks so I’ll call it even.

    The long and the short of it is that opposition parties always have to face the “credibility” or “lack of experience” taunt after multiple terms out of office. And it’s true to some extent. It’s balanced, though, by fact that governing party also tends to run out of steam after multiple terms too… too many scandals, too few new ideas, etc. Both parties will attempt to minimize these effects, and the most successful or the one that can introduce some game changing effect will win the next election. All just business as usual.

  18. Lampie 18

    EFB is been a poor bit of work. I agree with the intent, but was proably a bad copy of either UK, Canada or USA (or mixture) law.

    So while Ms Clark is most likely not too happy with the workers involved as it hasn’t gone smoothly, Mr Key is most likely kicking Jo de Joux’s arse. So I think there are some sore arses in both camps.

  19. Dean 19

    Eddie said “I think you can safely say that the president did – and then raised over $800,000 to pay it back. Which he duly did and remarkably it was barely mentioned in the media.”

    Are you suggesting that it was worthy of a lot of attention?
    The money should never have been spent in the first place. All Mike Williams did was to correct a problem that shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.

    It was reported, and the saga was over. I don’t see that he should have been up for any pats on the back.

    I now await Nih, who will duly accuse me of having multiple logins, or for working for the National party.

  20. Billy 20

    “I now await Nih, who will duly accuse me of having multiple logins, or for working for the National party.”

    Or of beig gay which, according to Nih, is a bad thing.

  21. Gruela 21

    I really don’t understand this penchant the right has for continually throwing the $800,000 overspend into any debate, since it WAS paid back, the National party ALSO had to pay back $112,000 at the same time, and National ALSO have been using the same loophole to boost their own election spending for any number of years.

    It’s a pretty thin argument, guys.

    Also, about the pledge card: “Bill English”, “Pledge Pamphlet”, “2002”.

  22. the sprout 22

    “pay it back”

    speaking of which, has National ever paid back the thousands of GST component in its spending that it “forgot” to declare?

    “Coming out of this, National looks like it can admit to mistakes”

    hmm, almost, but blaming it all on a sub-contractor doesn’t sound much like an admission of repsonsibility does it? should read “coming out of this National looks prone to mistakes”

  23. deemac 23

    if you think The Standard is being unfair on Key, don’t look at Stuff’s website whatever you do – their daily poll is beyond sarcastic:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/view-poll-results.html?section_id=10&poll_id=15582&option_id=25852

  24. Lampie 24

    National looks like it can admit to mistakes

    Agree sprout, Key’s statement was “passing the buck” plain and simple.

    Imagine your in business and you delegate responsibility for an awareness campaign for a product and /or service to one of your subordinates. You get done or caught say for a copyright issue. Hmmm I be thinking very highly of my subordinate in their choices of third parties, NOT!!! Most likely get the sack!

  25. Santi 25

    Gruela, why don’t you apply the same twisted logic to Winston’s NZF and Dunne’s UF? They haven’t paid a cent of the stolen money in the hope their support with the EFB will make the debt go away. Not very principled, uh?

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    rjs131, under the Auditor General’s interpretations of Parliamentary spending, you’re aware that a party would not be allowed to publish a budget right? So that works for you then? Interesting….

    You do realise that bringing that up on each and every thread doesn’t actually lend any credibility to the right? As we’ve seen that argument kicked all over the park time and time again…

    Although while we’re at it, might I remind you that Labour didn’t blame it on the company that manufactured the pledge cards 😉

    And when National (deliberately or otherwise) overspent $115,000 by not paying GST, they refused to pay the money back, admit they had done wrong, and suck up the penalty. Cop-outs right, right and centre right – there’s a “Very” Double Standard I don’t hear you banging on about, Lee C.

    Santi, I don’t support either NZF or UF but their overspend has nothing to do with the EFB, just muttering them in the same post doesn’t inextricably link them together…

  27. slightlyrighty 27

    As to the non payment of GST, the payment of GST in that instance would have resulted in a breach of the law. It could be argued that a spending limit on an election campaign might or might not have included GST and I am unaware if the legislation suurounding it actually stipulates if GST is to be included or not. When the National Party discovered what had happened, THEY contacted the electoral commission and endeavoured to solve the problem with the Electoral Commission’s assistance.

    National tried to get an amendment in parliament to enable debts to be paid without a law breach, and it was voted down by the same people who had voted to make their own deliberate illegal spending ( having been informed that the planned spending would be in breach of the law) legal, and have now passed laws to allow that spending to continue.

    National HAVE reached agreement with their creditors to fund charitable advertisements to the value of $115000. The issue is settled.

    So Matthew, get your facts right.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0512/S00066.htm

    You can start here.

  28. Gruela 28

    slightlyrighty

    WTF? You’re telling people to get their facts straight?
    The Auditor-General warned ALL the parties that their previous spending was getting near to illegality. At no time before the election did he explicitly warn Labour that their spending would be considered illegal if they went through with it.

    As to your defending National by arguing that their actions weren’t illegal but merely incompetent, have you ever heard the phrase that starts: “With friends like these….”?

  29. Lampie 29

    It is not the size of the money that counts, it is the act!

  30. Billy 30

    Gruela,

    I think SlightlyRighty is referring to the fact that Mike Williams was warned before the election that the pledge card spending would need to be in Labour’s return. He said it would. By the time he filed the return, he had changed his mind.

  31. Gruela 31

    Billy

    Was he? Are you sure? Damn, there goes that argument, then…

  32. I see that Labour has spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money to develop its new website. They have cunningly done so before 1 January, to avoid having that expenditure counted as an election expense under the Electoral Finance Bill.

    Labour is already looking at ways to rort the taxpayer, and outspend everybody else during the 2008 campaign.

    But of course, the Standard only cares when people use their own money to promote political causes. Stealing public money to rort the system is fair game.

  33. Billy:

    I don’t think you get the point. When the Labour Party lie to the Auditor General, and the Chief Electoral Officer, saying that they won’t steal taxpayers’ money to outspend everybody during an election campaign, and then proceed to do exactly that, it’s always Heather Simpson or Mike Smith who are to blame. Never Helen Clark or Mike Williams.

    Because Helen Clark and Mike Williams cannot ever be held culpable for Labour’s theft of public money to spend on elections, the Labour Government has to pass retrospective legislation to validate the illegal expenditure. I don’t see what problem you have with that. You’re just being picky.

    But if John Key releases a DVD, produced by a production company, and paid for by National Party members, as opposed to the taxpayer, then John Key is personally liable for the creation of a six-second musical piece, three chords of which are similar to a pop song.

    John Key’s disgraceful conduct in composing this music should not go unpunished. Annette King should include a last-minute amendment to the Electoral Finance Bill, banning John Key from standing at the next election.

    That is the only suitable remedy in this fiasco.

  34. Gruela 34

    Insolent Prick

    National had a $112,000 overspend. Did they lie to the Auditor-General?

  35. Visitor 35

    The spin is starting to unravel, hour by hour.

    Here’s the Dom-Post online today:

    “Mr Key said the first he knew of the problem was Friday night”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/dominionpost/4311912a6000.html

    And here’s John Key’s media release, the Tuesday before:

    “This morning I launched a 12-minute DVD, “Ambitious for New Zealand – Meet John Key”. The DVD is intended to give Kiwis a closer look at my life and what I stand for. . You can download and watch it here.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0711/S00545.htm

    So he didn’t actually listen to a DVD he was handing out and telling us all to watch?

  36. No, Gruela. National did not exceed its spending cap. It didn’t overspend. It failed to account for the GST component. Additional public money was not spent. Broadcasters were out of pocket as a result of National’s mistake. National settled privately with broadcasters to ensure they were not out of pocket.

    National should have been prosecuted for its broadcasting error. National never sought to justify its mistake.

    National made no undertakings to the Auditor-General before the election about its broadcasting expenditure. It did give the A-G an assurance that it would not use parliamentary funding for election purposes. National included the expenditure in its 2005 election spending cap. National did not exceed the election spending cap.

    Labour gave that same undertaking to the Auditor-General. Labour then used $800,000 of taxpayers’ money to buy itself the core plank of its 2005 election campaign: the pledge card. Labour agreed with the Chief Electoral Officer that it would include that expenditure in its 2005 election return. It later refused to do so. If it had included the pledge card expenditure that it illegally took from the taxpayer, Labour would have exceeded its election spending cap by close to a million dollars.

    Labour subsequently attacked the Auditor-General for acting unfairly against the Labour Party, and refused to pay the money back for a year. It was only after Labour saw the massive public outcry–what it had originally deemed a “belt-way issue”, that it agreed to pay the money back. Labour took a further year to do so.

    In response to Labour’s theft of public money to rort the electoral system, Labour wrote the Electoral Finance Bill to suit itself, at the expense of everybody else.

  37. Robinsod 37

    Slightly – I have heard unverified rumours that a lot of those charity ads went to right-wing causes like Family First. Does anyone know if this is true or not?

  38. Lee C 38

    gobsmacked – Key is doing his thing, English is doing his re. the EFB.

    Personally there are few who would suggest I have been particularly glowing about Key’s attitde and lack of leadership over the anti-EFB movement.
    But the point remains in my mind, the attempts by some to capitalise on the DVD thing – it’s a beat up and there are more worthy things to attend to as we speak.

  39. Robinsod 39

    Lee – you mean more worthy things like defeating the EFB? It was a lovely day in Auckland on Saturday. I got my washing dry by lunchtime and had a few beers with friends on the patio. Did you get sunburned while marching for our freedoms?

  40. Matthew Pilott 40

    Slightlyrighty, one was a case where a strict interpretation of the law meant that no Party would be able to spend public money. On anything. As I mentioned, how would they be able to publish a budget? Tell me that before you lie through your teeth telling me to get my facts right.

    Your, and IPs, spinning of it as theft is a joke and you all know it, why persist? I guess because most of the time people can’t be bothered rehashing the same old arguments to counter your lies, it does get rather tiresome. I mean look at IP’s 1:51 effort – how many million times has he trotted out the same rubbish, only to have it shot down, only to come yapping back like a faithful little tory attack-dog.

    When National overspent, it refused to pay back the money owing through proper channels. That they later settled it with a donation doesn’t mean that they didn’t overspend and then squirm their way out of it.

    They didn’t pay it back legitimately but that’s typical stuff from the right – they’ve paid back the money to their creditors, who cares about the law?

    IP are you still complaining that Labour’s new website was a waste of propaganda money as there isn’t new content on it (forgetting how the interweb thingy works again?), or are you going to admit that it was a pathetic and desperate attempt to divert attention from John Key and national trying to steal IP from Coldplay, or get out of paying them on a technicality?

    And we’re still waiting for any decent figures from you about the cost of the website (not any website that a designer would charge to set up, but the ACTUAL costs of Labours’) but since time and time again you blatantly lie I don’t know what I bother asking you. So in hindsight, don’t worry about those figures, you’ll be wasting your time.

    John Key’s disgraceful conduct in composing this music should not go unpunished.” At least there was a diamond amoing the turd 😉 Since it appears they were deliberately trying to rip off an artist you’re dead right on that count.

    P.S deliberately overstating the problem doesn’t actually diminish it in reality. Just so you know, IP.

  41. Tane 41

    I still can’t believe Lee can buy so fully into National’s spin about the Electoral Finance Bill without even having read The Hollow Men. It’s a quick read Lee, and there’s sure to be a copy at your local library.

  42. Santi 42

    I suggest you read Das Kapital, Tane. You’ll love it.

  43. Robinsod 43

    Santi – that doesn’t even make sense. You’ve never read Das Kapital, have you?

  44. Matthew:

    I’ve already reported on the Standard, I believe, that Labour’s website required 42 web designers and developers, working full-time over six weeks on building it. I have got quotes from industry suggesting that the cost was at least $51,000. Ironically, the people giving the quotes were the same people who gave quotes to the Standard, for the Standard to arrive at its figure of $50,000 for the DVD.

    Of course, Matthew, if you want to submit the actual invoices for the website build, you’re welcome to do so.

    Some people on the Standard have claimed that the website was built by Labour Party volunteers. If that were the case, then the website would not have been funded by the taxpayer, and would not include the parliamentary crest. As it happens, the website was taxpayer funded.

    It’s no surprise that the website build–along with Labour’s entire rebranding exercise–has been loaded into the 2007 year, to avoid the expenditure being included in Labour’s 2008 election campaign under the Electoral Finance Bill.

    Labour is already rorting taxpayers to buy itself propaganda for the election campaign. I would have thought Labour might have learned a few lessons from the public outrage at how cynically it stole money to pay for its campaign in 2005. Evidently, Labour hasn’t learned any lessons.

  45. the sprout 45

    “Labour has spent tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money to develop its new website”

    what a complete crock of shit. there’s no way that development would be charged to parliamentary services, come from any kind of parliamentary budget or otherwise be charged to the public. it would be paid for by the party if at all, more likely it would be done by a volunteer. oh that’s right, i keep forgetting the right don’t understand that word.

    still, another noble attempt at a feint to distract from jonkey’s latest screaming example of incompetence.

  46. Matthew:

    You said: “When National overspent, it refused to pay back the money owing through proper channels. That they later settled it with a donation doesn’t mean that they didn’t overspend and then squirm their way out of it.”

    There were no proper channels. National would have been breaking the GST act by paying the money. It is unlawful to deliberately break the law. National repaid the broadcasters in a private settlement through a mechanism that did not break the law. The broadcasters were not out of pocket.

    Secondly, there was no overexpenditure. The $112,000 GST error was included in National’s election return. National did not exceed its spending cap.

    Labour, however, did not include the money that it stole from the taxpayer, against the orders of the Auditor-General, in its election return. It was required to do so by the Chief Electoral Officer. If it had included it in its return, Labour would have exceeded the spending cap.

  47. the sprout 47

    btw IP, and sorry to burst your tiny misninformation bubble, but the inclusion of the parliamentary request is mandatory for some publications – it isn’t in anyway an indication that a publication was necessarily parliamentary funded.

  48. Sprout,

    I suggest you check the law. It is a requirement for all publications that are publicly funded that they include the parliamentary crest. Labour has developed its website using parliamentary funds.

    I challenge you to get Mike Williams to deny it.

  49. IrishBill 49

    Insolent Prick – you’re repeated posting of the same off-topic issues is getting dull. Especially as you have had your comments refuted many times before. Why are you behaving this way?

  50. the sprout 50

    “National would have been breaking the GST act by paying the money… there was no overexpenditure. The $112,000 GST error…”

    hmm starting to lose your touch there IP – so your defence of National is that they failed to right their law-breaking because it would break the law, and the reason they broke the law is because they are so incompetent they still haven’t worked out how to do GST.

  51. Matthew Pilott 51

    IP do you still think that the new website was a failed piece of propaganda, since it has largely the same o=content, at present, as the old website?

    As I have already said, you lie repeatedly and I therefore will choose not to believe you on this one either.

    To give an example, you disagreed with Gruela that “National had a $112,000 overspend.” That is a bare faced lie. National bought $112,000 worth of advertising over and above the cap. That they underhandedly bought people off later with their own money does not make it alright.

    They bought services and received over and above the cap – they just didn’t pay for them. Not a good look.

    Given you are against the EFB and want National to be able to spend millions extra (or have it spent on their belalf) I am not surprised you support such lies and deceit.

    That you do so behind a pseudonym is stunningly apt.

  52. Mike Williams 52

    Oh my god – did impotent prick call me out?? Shit, um mr Prick we didn’t use parliamentary funds to build our website – please don’t savage me with your razor wit mr Prick, sir..

  53. the sprout 53

    “It is a requirement for all publications that are publicly funded that they include the parliamentary crest”

    Logic 101 IP, see if you can work it out witho8ut asking a grown up:

    All dogs are animals, not all animals are dogs.

    Similarly,

    All parliamentary funded publications must display the crest, not all publications that display the crest are parliamentary funded.

    Get it IP?

  54. Robinsod 54

    IP will never get it. He’s incapable.

  55. The Labour Party website is funded from Parliamentary Services, Sprout. Until you get the real Mike Williams to deny it, you haven’t got a case.

  56. Matthew Pilott 56

    National had a cap of $900,000 and they recieved services over and above that, to the order of $112,000. Unless you can prove otherwise you haven’t got a case.

  57. Lampie 57

    Why hasn’t Key got the balls to admit “we had fucked up”, that would be worth tens of thousands of votes alone.

    Thats the problem today, most won’t accept they have made a mistake as they percieve it as a weakness. (I’m talking business leaders and so forth). Time to stop passing the buck and stand up like a man (and occassional woman).

    *waits for the wrath of woman kind*

  58. Gruela 58

    Insolent

    Are you saying that if National had included the GST component in their spending report, then they still would have been under the spending cap?

    And also, call me Mr Thicko, but didn’t the Auditor-General declare that all such spending was retroactively illegal, and wouldn’t that include National’s spending during previous elections? Wouldn’t that imply that we’ve probably had illegal National Governments in the past?

  59. Robinsod 59

    I thought he just did deny it.

  60. Robinsod 60

    The Labour Party website is not funded from Parliamentary Services, Prick. Until you get the real John Key to deny it while dressed in a gorilla suit, you haven’t got a case.

    Yay – I’m learning to argue like prick!

  61. Gruela 61

    That’s what I thought. I’m lost here…..

  62. it’s prickle robinsod. cos when you first look you are expecting a prick but then it is soo tiny that only a pair of tweezers can locate the bugger

  63. oo yay i’m learning to be as off topic as prickle!

  64. Gruela 64

    My turn.

    From now on I’m gonna call him Lil’ Bobbit, in honour of another VIP (Very Irritating Penis) that made the ultimate sacrifice for his beliefs.

  65. Lampie 65

    Guys, our friend Mr Prick, has heard of the saying “pot calling the kettle black”

  66. Gruela:

    The Auditor-General expressed concerns about use of parliamentary expenditure on election campaigns following the 2002 election. He said that the rules were messy, and needed clarification. In 2005 he met with all political parties to explain his view on the appropriateness of using parliamentary expenditure on campaigning. This interpretation was backed up by an opinion from the Solicitor-General.

    All parties agreed not to use parliamentary funding on electioneering during the 2005 election. Heather Simpson subsequently authorised, on behalf of the Labour Party, more than $800,000 of parliamentary funding on Labour’s campaign. Prior to the election, Mike Smith agreed to include that expenditure in the election spending return.

    Subsequent to the election, Labour refused to repay the parliamentary expenditure it illegally spent, and refused to include that expenditure in the party return. Had it done so, Labour would have breached its election spending cap under the Electoral Act.

    National’s broadcasting GST error broke the Broadcasting Act. National should have been prosecuted for its breach of the broadcasting act. The GST error would not have exceeded National’s electoral act spending limit.

    Labour legally spent $4.6 million on the last campaign. Labour illegally spent a further $800,000 of public money, which was not included in its return.

  67. I take it that the Standard commenters who are currently claiming that Labour’s website is not funded by Parliamentary services will be feeling very silly when they are subsequently proven wrong.

  68. Gruela 68

    Insolent

    So how did National break the Broadcasting Act? Which part of the Act, exactly?

  69. Lampie 69

    subsequently proven wrong

    so you have evidence to present, present it then

  70. Section 70 of the Broadcasting Act sets out that a political party cannot purchase its own television advertising. All television advertising must be paid for by an allocation from the electoral commission.

    National cannot spend more than its allocation, without effectively purchasing its own television advertising and breaching section 70 of the Broadcasting Act. As a consequence of the GST error, the taxpayer wasn’t out of pocket, because the National Party could only spend what was allocated to spend.

    The broadcasters were out of pocket. National settled privately with the broadcasters to ensure they weren’t out of pocket. But National still broke the Broadcasting Act, and should have been prosecuted.

    There isn’t a spending cap on television advertising. There is merely an allocation, and a ban on parties spending their own money on television advertising.

    There is a spending cap on election-related expenses under the Electoral Act. National was well within its spending cap, even with the GST error. Labour did not declare the pledge card expenditure, despite undertaking to do so prior to the election. Had Labour done so, Labour would have blown out its total election spending.

  71. r0b 71

    IP, you are doing an excellent job at running the National party line on this (long past) issue. Naturally, the Labour party line has a different point of view. Here’s Michael Cullen:

    “Let us come back to a very simple point. What the National Party cannot demonstrate, in trying to justify the position taken by the Auditor-General, is that there is a single sentence in the 2005 report that says the then assumed interpretation of the spending rules was wrong. It is nowhere in that report. All that happened is that a year later the Auditor-General said that he had said something like that. But he did not. All he said in that report was that the rules are unclear and need to be clarified after the election, and people should obey the rules as they were. It was like a referee during a game of rugby saying what the going-over-the-top rule is, then, after the game, pinging somebody and saying he had breached the rule, although no explanation was given at the time. That is what the Auditor-General has done.

    The entire case actually rests upon that point. National Party members are trying to say—and I want to get this very clear—that they are the only party in the House that knew that the interpretation of the rules had changed. Clearly, nobody else did. Yet they went ahead and broke the rules as they understood them—the only party to do so. What every other party has said is that the rules were such that the spending was legitimate, and the Auditor-General has changed the interpretation of those rules.”

  72. Lampie,

    I’m sure you’re an honourable person. How will you react if it is proven that parliamentary services paid for the website?

    It is unprecedented for political parties to include the parliamentary crest on any communications that are not paid for by parliamentary services. Conversely, it is mandatory for political parties to include the parliamentary crest on all communications that are funded by parliamentary services.

  73. Lampie 73

    Show me the money

  74. Robinsod 74

    Lampie – he can’t. He’s a liar.

  75. Lee C 75

    I am not so ready to jump to a conclusion based on one ‘quick read’ Tane.

    ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ is a quick read, too. By your logic should we exterminate wolves on that basis? If the Labour Party needed the fur, would yu go out hunting tonight? Don’t like to think for yourself? Or are you nothing more than a spin parrot?
    Tane. Which part of the EFB will erradicate the abuses that were perpetrated by ‘The Holow Men’?

    Which part of it will hold the Unions accountable for similar practices?

    How many of the other four million kiwis have read the ‘Hollow Men’?

    Do they all therefore deserve the EFB to limit their freedoms?

    I can’t believe that you can buy so fully into the EFB when the Herald, Dominion Post, Sunday Star Times, Espiner, Hager, Law Society, Human Rights Commission, Grey Power, SST, yes National and the Electoral Commission all appear to be in opposition to it.

    So, what gem of insight into New Zealand’s constitutional democracy does Labour have which gives you special dispensation to completely disregard every shred of evidence to the contrary, and still support the EFB?

    And why have you done such an apalling job of sharing this gem if wisdom with us?

    Just for clarity: Let us summarise the Labour Party line;

    ‘It [The EFB] will stop peole like the Exclusive Brethren and John Key rorting the electoral process.” (Helen Clark – Hansard, September 16th 2007)

    Bullshit!

    My attitude towards the EFB is based the evidence, rather than blindly following ANY Party line.

    Val Sim’s advice to the Government, Hager’s the Law Society and Human Rights Submissions to the SC, Espiner SST, Dominion, Herald, Hansard, Burton, King, English, Key, Electoral Commission, excerpts from the Hollow Men and reviews of the above.

    You, on the other hand have ‘The Hollow Men’ and One or two spurious sound-bites on your side of the argument.

    DO you really think you can you defend your one-eyed views by suggesting that any opposition to the EFB is based on a National Party conspiracy?

    That is Hollow.

    It is you that needs to do a bit more reading, Tane. Spin parrots like you – Tane – are responsible for the present major rift within the Labour Party. They are keeping it quiet, but even Stevie Wonder can see it.

  76. Lampie 76

    Lampie – he can’t. He’s a liar.

    C’mon robinsod, this could be the biggest news since they found Nicky Watson’s dog.

    Sorry Prick but I like evidence my friend and wikipedia doesn’t cut the mustard

  77. r0b:

    The Auditor-General disagrees considerably with Michael Cullen’s “interpretation”. The A-G is hardly a National Party stooge, or subject to National spin. When he released his report in 2006, Brady said:

    “On 21 June 2005, I reported to the House of Representatives a range of concerns I had about how parliamentary advertising was managed. I was particularly concerned that the administrative framework for such advertising was weak. My report also drew attention to the need for MPs and parliamentary parties to take care when advertising in the pre-election period.

    “In the three months before the General Election on 17 September 2005, I became concerned that electioneering material may have been paid for by the Service out of resources appropriated for MPs’ and parliamentary parties’ advertising.”

    It’s all very well to claim that the Labour Party didn’t know what the law was. Except Kevin Brady met with Labour Party officials to clarify his interpretation on the law. He did likewise with other parties.

    New Zealand First considerably broke the law. United Future broke the law. The Maori Party didn’t. Progressives didn’t. National made a couple of errors, but was largely consistent with the A-G’s ruling. Labour accounted for more than $800,000 of the $1.2 million of illegal expenditure.

    That shows, in anybody’s mind, a clear intention by the Labour Party to ignore the Auditor-General’s warnings and clarifications of his expectations.

    Heather Simpson was responsible for approving Parliamentary expenditure for the Labour Party. It is preposterous to claim that she could have been so confused about the A-G’s interpretation.

  78. Pascal's bookie 78

    Insolent, I hate to pile on, but I too am a bit confused about your version of how the GST fandangle played out.

    It is unlawful to deliberately break the law.

    It is unlawful to break the law, full stop. But nice framing.

    National repaid the broadcasters in a private settlement through a mechanism that did not break the law. The broadcasters were not out of pocket.

    Could you spell this out for me? Either National paid it’s bill, (by whatever means), and formalised their breaking of the law, or they didn’t pay and the broadcasters are out of pocket. What other option is there?

    Are you suggesting that we can all avoid GST by these “private settlement mechanisms”, and the IRD will magically get their money without leaving anyone out of pocket? ‘Cause that’s what my reading of the above says.

    Secondly, there was no overexpenditure. The $112,000 GST error was included in National’s election return. National did not exceed its spending cap.

    Crafty. So the error was included in the return. That doesn’t mean that the GST wasn’t legally owed however, which if it had been paid (which they were obliged to do) would have put them over the cap.

  79. Pascal's bookie 79

    Shit sorry about the formatting. (where’s the preview button?)

    Insolent, I hate to pile on, but I too am a bit confused about your version of how the GST fandangle played out.

    “It is unlawful to deliberately break the law.”

    It is unlawful to break the law, full stop. But nice framing.

    “National repaid the broadcasters in a private settlement through a mechanism that did not break the law. The broadcasters were not out of pocket.”

    Could you spell this out for me? Either National paid it’s bill, (by whatever means), and formalised their breaking of the law, or they didn’t pay and the broadcasters are out of pocket. What other option is there?

    Are you suggesting that we can all avoid GST by these “private settlement mechanisms”, and the IRD will magically get their money without leaving anyone out of pocket? ‘Cause that’s what my reading of the above says.

    “Secondly, there was no overexpenditure. The $112,000 GST error was included in National’s election return. National did not exceed its spending cap.”

    Crafty. So the error was included in the return. That doesn’t mean that the GST wasn’t legally owed however, which if it had been paid (which they were obliged to do) would have put them over the cap.

  80. Matthew Pilott 80

    IP – you are still lying, plain and simple, because when it comes down to it, National received more that $900,000 worth of broadcasting services.

    As National purchased more that $900,000 worth of advertising they breached the cap for electoral spending on Broadcasting – do you not think that people can see through this shameless attempt to cover it up by saying that it was part of an allocation?

    “There isn’t a spending cap on television advertising. There is merely an allocation, and a ban on parties spending their own money on television advertising.

    IP do you honestly believe that comment, stand by it and expect other people to read it and believe it?

    How does that not constitute a cap? Are you arguing that National would have been free to spend more? If not, perhaps the fact is that their allocation was a cap on the money available, and you’re still lying.

  81. Gruela 81

    Yeah, I still fail to see how, if National spent more on broadcasting than their allocation allowed, then this isn’t breaking the spending cap?

  82. the sprout 82

    “It is unprecedented for political parties to include the parliamentary crest on any communications that are not paid for by parliamentary services”

    absolute rubbish IP. surely the National Research Unit could come up with a better one than that?

  83. r0b 83

    IP – “New Zealand First considerably broke the law. United Future broke the law. The Maori Party didn’t. Progressives didn’t. National made a couple of errors, but was largely consistent with the A-G’s ruling. Labour accounted for more than $800,000 of the $1.2 million of illegal expenditure”

    I’m sure that the AG remembers being very clear. But the evidence doesn’t bear him out. Every party – there are some missing from your list – every party except Maori and Jim “got it wrong”.

    How did that happen if the AG was clear? Are you proposing that they all formed a secret conspiracy?

  84. No, Pascal. They weren’t obliged to pay it. Contract law doesn’t allow for illegal transactions.

    The IRD wasn’t out of pocket, Pascal. The broadcasters were. The broadcasters received funding on what they were legally allowed to receive under the Broadcasting Act. The GST component of what was actually paid was paid by the broadcasters to IRD.

    There isn’t a cap on broadcasting expenditure under the Electoral Act. I’m not sure how I can make this clearer. There is a cap on what parties and candidates can spend in the defined election period. Parties breach the Electoral Act by spending more than their total electoral cap. Labour breached the Electoral Act by not declaring the pledge card expenditure as an election-related expense, despite an undertaking to do so, and secondly by exceeding the total spending cap on election related expenses. Labour denied its offences, and refused to remedy them under the Electoral Act. Labour subsequently only repaid the money it stole after a damning outcry following the A-G’s report.

    National broke the law by effectively purchasing its own television advertising of $112,000 under Section 70 of the Broadcasting Act. It didn’t exceed the Electoral Act spending limit. National admitted its mistake, and was prepared to face the consequences of a police prosecution for its breach of the Broadcasting Act.

  85. Pascal's bookie 85

    Yeah, I still fail to see how, if National spent more on broadcasting than their allocation allowed, then this isn’t breaking the spending cap?

    I guess it’s like how Bill Clinton didn’t have sex with that woman, and George Bush doesn’t approve torture.

    You just take a common enough word or phrase (sex, torture, spending cap) and rape it to the point that it means whatever you need it to mean.

    captcha: yourself friedman (ooh look! It doubles as a fill in the blanks puzzle)

  86. Gruela:

    Spending caps only appear in the Electoral Act. They don’t appear in the Broadcasting Act. Spending your own money, as opposed to an allocation by the Electoral Commission, is an offence under the Broadcasting Act. It is not an offence under the Electoral Act.

    The Electoral Act spending limits relate to all forms of election advertising: billboards, hoardings, pamphlets, television advertising, radio advertising, direct mail campaigns, etc. National was well within the spending limit under the Electoral Act, which includes all forms of election-related advertising. Labour was well in excess of its spending limit.

    National should have been prosecuted for its Broadcasting Act offence. It was prepared to face the consequences, and admitted to its mistake. Labour, on the other hand, refused to admit to what was a deliberate attempt to use taxpayers money illegally during the 2005 election campaign.

  87. rod 87

    Where the hell are burt and santa, on stress leave?

  88. Gruela 88

    Insolent

    But National’s overspend DID break the Electoral Act:

    http://www.elections.org.nz/news/CEOmedia_advertising_legislation_070905.html

  89. Lampie 89

    think I will read about Nicky’s dog again

  90. Pascal's bookie 90

    The IRD wasn’t out of pocket, Pascal. The broadcasters were. The broadcasters received funding on what they were legally allowed to receive under the Broadcasting Act. The GST component of what was actually paid was paid by the broadcasters to IRD.

    I know, I said as much. What I want to know from you is how is it that the broadcasters are not out of pocket. Which is what you claim. What is this private mechanism and can anyone make use of it?

    I’m glad to see that you’ve backed away from your implication that the National party didn’t break the law becasue they claim to have done so by accident.

    I think that we can agree that the phrase spending cap does not appear in the broadcasting act. There is however a limit placed on the $ amount allocated. This limit or allocation is what many here, myself included, are refering to when we talk about a spending cap. It hardly seems to be dishonest to do so IMO.

  91. Robinsod 91

    Where the hell are burt and santa, on stress leave?

    I’m not sure but I have noticed in the last few days that the standard is getting more comments than the bog. If this continues DPF may have to change his “most commented on blog” advertising pitch…

  92. Lampie 92

    Where the hell are burt and santa

    Did they find Nicky’s dog?

  93. Matthew Pilott 93

    IP under the AG’s rulings in 2005, please tell me how a political party could publish a budget, for example, and how they could do so in future if the law was not subsequently amended?

    Funny how the right can, on one hand, complain that the EFB is so strict that people will register microphones, yet they will support such a strict interpretation of electoral law that prohibits the spending of public money on what it is intended for.

    Nice bit of political expediency wouldn’t you say?

  94. r0b 94

    “I’m not sure but I have noticed in the last few days that the standard is getting more comments than the bog. If this continues DPF may have to change his “most commented on blog” advertising pitch.”

    Interesting. My suggestion, DPF may want to reconsider censoring free speech on his blog. Hard to have a debate where only one side gets to talk.

  95. rod 95

    John Key’s DVD debacle. It proves beyond doubt, Mickey Mouse is alive well! and these pricks want to be the next Government, God defend New Zealand.

  96. the sprout 96

    umm, rod, Key’s not sure if god exists or not either

  97. I haven’t said that National didn’t breach the Broadcasting Act. I’ve said they did. National admitted they did. National have said it was caused by an honest mistake over a confusion over GST-inclusive expenditure under the Broadcasting Act, and GST-exclusive expenditure under the Electoral Act. I personally think that was a fairly unprofessional mistake. National have also said that they should have been prosecuted under the Broadcasting Act for that offence.

    National committed no offence under the Electoral Act.

    Conversely, Labour broke the law by using taxpayers’ money illegally for electioneering purposes, breaching its spending limit under the Electoral Act, and filing a false election return that did not include its parliamentary-funded election expenditure. Labour refused to pay the money back until howls of public outrage forced it to do so. It has never admitted any offences, let alone been prosecuted. Even worse, Labour legislated to retrospectively make its illegal expenditure of taxpayers’ money on the election campaign legal.

    On a scale of electoral fraud, that is about as outrageous as it gets. Yet the Electoral Finance Bill, and companion legislation allowing political parties to use parliamentary funds for electioneering purposes during the defined election period, allow Labour to rort the system over and over again.

  98. r0b 98

    IP – “Conversely, Labour broke the law by using taxpayers’ money illegally for electioneering purposes”

    We are now officially at the “did not – did so – did not – did too” phase of this debate.

    “Even worse, Labour legislated to retrospectively”

    Argh! this has so been done to death here. Please see:

    Same song? You decide.


    discussion following the post of Dec 2nd, 2007 at 8:03 pm

  99. r0b:

    I appreciate that it is the Labour Party position that they did not act illegally. That position is not shared by the Auditor-General, the Solicitor-General, the Electoral Commission, or the Chief Electoral Officer. Or, for that matter, the New Zealand public, who overwhelmingly believed Labour should pay the money back.

    This is not my right wing spin. These are the three independent authorities on, respectively, public finance and electoral law. They have no political barrows to push. If you were anybody other than a devoted Labour Party supporter, whose view would you side with?

    As an aside, I do notice that the general standard of comments has improved at the Standard over the last couple of days. I don’t say this to be spurious, but it is evident that Tane has succeeded in her endeavours to rein in some of the more extreme commenters.

  100. Dean 100

    To everyone that’s confused by IP’s repeated statments:

    There are 2 acts.

    1. The broadcasting act (this is the one National breached)
    2. The electoral act (this is the one National didn’t breach)

    Now, I agree that National should have faced the music. I’m a firm believer in the law being applied without prejudice, and National should have been taken to the cleaners over this one. It’s inexcusable. We should expect better from our elected representatives, and to suggest that the blame lay anywhere else other than the National party is just stupid.

    I also believe that Labour made a right arse up on their side. It’s not that they made a mistake – which I will give them the benefit of the doubt over instead of saying they purposely rorted it – but it was the way they behaved about it.

    Helen even called it a “beltway issue” and all and sundry were refusing to pay it back until it became clear that the public was not happy.

    For myself, it’s for this reason I won’t be voting for Labour again. I did so last election believing that although National’s economic policy was a better fit for me than Labours, that I preferred Labour to be in government because it had done a reasonable job up until then and deserved a chance to continue to do so. It’s this sheer arrogance, combined with the “labour good – national bad” mantra so many seem to have adopted that has convinced me to vote National next election.

    There’ll be nothing more sobering for Labour and it’s die hard, fervent, la la la i cant hear you supporters than a term or two in the opposition benches.

  101. r0b 101

    IP – “That position is not shared by the Auditor-General, the Solicitor-General, the Electoral Commission, or the Chief Electoral Officer.”

    The AG we have discussed above. He rendered a retrospective ruling which created a legally messy situation within which many things were said by many people. Later validating legislation sorted out some of the mess.

    Or, for that matter, the New Zealand public, who overwhelmingly believed Labour should pay the money back.

    Despite your claim above, Labour was not legally required to pay the money back (why not?). There was certainly a successful campaign to swing public opinion on the issue, but bashing anything that even looks like greedy politicians is a pretty easy sell.

    “If you were anybody other than a devoted Labour Party supporter, whose view would you side with?”

    And if you were anything other than a devoted National supporter, what would you make of National and the EB colluding in the attempt to buy the last election?

    As an aside, I do notice that the general standard of comments has improved at the Standard over the last couple of days.

    Well you’ve raised your game too IP. Let’s all try and keep up the good work. I’m off…

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