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Nats, Farrar fail again in attempt to muzzle Kiwis

Written By: - Date published: 11:05 am, August 29th, 2008 - 26 comments
Categories: activism, dpf, election 2008 - Tags:

For the third time, National’s attempt to get a legal decision to block the EPMU and its sister unions from participating in the election campaign as registered third parties as failed. So pathetic were National’s arguments that they lost their last case even though the EMPU submitted no arguments of its own to the Court. The Court rejected National’s arguments for the rubbish they were without needing to hear any counter-arguments.

National’s behaviour has been disgusting. They, directly or through their pollster, David Farrar, have spent 7 months trying to keep democratic organisations comprising over 100,000 New Zealanders from having a voice during the election campaign. With pathetic legal arguments, they have attempted to tie up the EPMU and waste its resources on the legal fight. Unions are not rich organisations and the $23,000 the EPMU had to spend on these legal cases comes out of its campaign pool.

They can’t win on number of supporters, so the Tories try to use their money instead. And the losers justly lose.

26 comments on “Nats, Farrar fail again in attempt to muzzle Kiwis ”

  1. lprent 1

    Be warned. I’m not going to tolerate threadjacking today.

    No Right turn on the topic including the link to the decision (reading now).

  2. A victory for the EPMU and a victory for Democracy.

  3. jbc 3

    That’s an interesting spin on the matter.

    It always looked to me that they (DPF / National) were trying to ensure that those who stood behind the EFA played by the rules of their own making.

    It’s the EFA that is the muzzle.

  4. “It’s the EFA that is the muzzle.” Yep not being able to buy an election is just outrageous.

  5. lprent 5

    There are very few grounds for an appeal in this decision from my reading. Essentially the Nats would have to provide actual evidence (rather than the speculation they have used to date) that Andrew Little is acting for the union, while in his other role as VP.

  6. jbc. how has the EFA muzzled anyone, apart from people wanting to spend millions on secret campaigns?

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    national could have chosen a great number of organisations to try and attack. This one was not, obviously, a coincidence. An interpretation is that they were trying to make sure the law was applied fairly, and now it seems it has been. It’s a shame the EPMU had to foot the bill for this, after excessive legal wrangling from National.

    I just hope the last appeal cost National a lot, because if obviously didn’t cost the EPMU anything!

  8. r0b 8

    It’s the EFA that is the muzzle.

    Ahh – no. The Nats tried to twist the EFA to make it a muzzle. They failed.

    Despite all their posturing last year during the passage of the EFA the Nats, by their actions, are obviously opposed to free speech and a level playing field. It shows in their repeated failed attempts to silence the EPMU, and it shows in their repeated (and sometimes successful!) attempts to silence journalists with stories that are critical of National. Shame on them.

  9. Matthew Pilott 9

    It’s funny because the angle will now be that there is a problem with the ruling, that the EPMU are violating the EFA but the courts didn’t see it that way. No way that perhaps the EFA isn’t the Harbinger of Doom many thought, and that our courts are fit to implement it. The shock! The Horror!

  10. higherstandard 10

    r0b

    “Despite all their posturing last year during the passage of the EFA the Nats, by their actions, are obviously opposed to free speech and a level playing field.”

    A bit like

    1. those parties who passed the EFA in the first place.
    2. the EPMU censuring an employee who’s not sticking to script
    3. Rodney being repeatedly blocked in the chamber from revealing more of WPs misdeeds.

  11. jbc 11

    “how has the EFA muzzled anyone..?”

    Just going on reports that unrelated information campaigns have been modified or withdrawn until after the election. Things that you would expect not be affected. Don’t have links handy – but have certainly read such news stories.

    Seems that the EFA has had the biggest effect on those that it was not supposed to.

  12. Anita 12

    jbc,

    Just going on reports that unrelated information campaigns have been modified or withdrawn until after the election. Things that you would expect not be affected. Don’t have links handy – but have certainly read such news stories.

    When I bought my cat a flea collar last week I realised I could only buy him an orange one cos otherwise it would be a party colour and he’d become an election ad and he’d get banned under the EFA!

    If I were to say that it would be a sign I was either stupid, or running an anti-EFA spin message, or had been confused by anti-EFA spin messages. It would not be a sign of there being anything wrong with the EFA.

    (Incidentally, I think there are many things wrong with the EFA, but most of the stories where people whinge about it are either spin or stupidity)

  13. r0b 13

    A bit like

    Nope, nope, and nope. That’s zero from three.

  14. higherstandard 14

    r0b

    Are you Winston Peters ?

    sorry couldn’t resist – have a good weekend.

  15. Daveski 15

    Again, SP’s random post generator is working perfectly.

    Your interpretation of the decision is simply wrong in law. The focus of the appeal is not the decision but the process:

    It is not for the Court to substitute its view, based on its own assessment of the Rules. The question on this application for judicial review is not whether the Court would have reached the same conclusion. Rather, it is whether the Commission has reached a conclusion which is so clearly untenable as to amount to an error of law. The plaintiff has failed to meet that high hurdle, on this aspect of the case.

    The left have failed to accept the fact that the clear view is that the EFA is unworkable, however well intentioned it may have been (or not).

    DPF is on record himself saying that the intention is not to muzzle the unions but to show how idiotic the EFA is in its implementation.

    The irony is delicious – the left belief that the Brethren should be muzzled by law, even though they are NOT part of Labour, yet the unions who are members of Labour should be treated as independent.

    Again, the intention is not to say the unions should be muzzled but to show how ridiculous the situation has become.

  16. Dom 16

    Congrats to the EPMU. Costs anyone?

    The EFA has not been proved to have ‘muzzled’ anyone. Confusion over how it works is rife, however, and it’s new, unpopular legislation so people will always try to slam it.

  17. r0b 17

    r0b Are you Winston Peters ?

    That’s a ridiculous and malicious allegation, and I will very shortly present evidence to totally refute it!

    have a good weekend

    Yeah you too. Plenty of stuff to do first alas.

  18. Anita 18

    That’s a ridiculous and malicious allegation, and I will very shortly present evidence to totally refute it!

    and then you will have to apologise and resign, you evil media reef fish!

    I’m gonna miss Peters 🙁

  19. jbc 19

    Anita,

    When I bought my cat a flea collar last week I realised I could only buy him an orange one cos otherwise it would be a party colour and he’d become an election ad and he’d get banned under the EFA!

    If I were to say that it would be a sign I was either stupid, or running an anti-EFA spin message…

    So why say it? Nobody else did.

    Here’s something that turned up with a few seconds of search:
    Poll law hits cancer jab ads

    Now Anita: I’m not saying that the Ministry of Health is doing the right thing here – but there is no doubt that the EFA has affected things that it should not.

    WTF has cervical cancer got to do with electoral finance?

    See my point? Is the MoH running an anti-EFA spin?

  20. ghostwhowalks 20

    jbc any government advertising that might be a campaign issue was circumscribed in any case. The EFA has just formalised what was a convention , sometimes breached, in previous election periods.

    But obviously the EFA doesnt effect pure ‘issue’ based campaigns, but I think government entities are just being very careful as any politicking by Farrar and national will harm their message

  21. jbc 21

    gww, I think you are describing how a good EFA should work, rather than how this particular one is working.

    The EFA shouldn’t affect pure ‘issue’ based campaigns.

    I doubt that Farrer would attack a cervical screening advertisement which was simply that. If it was emblazoned with Labour party logos then that’s another matter – but then again that would never happen, would it?.

    In principle I don’t agree with muzzling anyone but I can understand the action against EPMU. If someone tried to beat me by making up rules with that sole intent then I would sure as hell be looking back at them with a microscope, making sure they also comply, throwing their rule book at them.

  22. Looks to me like when when common sense was needed to navigate the EFA, National was running on empty.

  23. randal 23

    the national party will do anything rather than see john keys defend his party in public. He is noted for his short temper, arrogant petulance, inability to stand being thwarted and his temper tantrums. If the national party were to focus on policy this would become evident so they must use all manner of diversionary tactics rather than deal with the issues that have meaning and relevance to new zealanders.

  24. monkey-boy 24

    “When I bought my cat a flea collar last week I realised I could only buy him an orange one cos otherwise it would be a party colour and he?d become an election ad and he?d get banned under the EFA!”

    I would have thought that the initial reference to miniscule blood-sucking parasites would alone have made it referable to the EC as a possible inducement not to vote.

  25. Lew 25

    Lee: “I would have thought that the initial reference to miniscule blood-sucking parasites would alone have made it referable to the EC as a possible inducement not to vote.”

    Heh. The EFA is silent on advertisements exhorting electors to vote, or not vote. It’s only when they’re exhorting electors to vote, or not vote for a particular candidate or party that it kicks in. Consider this a public service announcement – to trigger the EFA you have to distinguish between some bloodsucking parasites and others 🙂

    L

  26. monkey boy 26

    Thank you Lew I knew that. But the first rule of comedy is…. timing, and your version would have taken too long.

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