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NZ Herald openly campaigning against Govt

Written By: - Date published: 5:46 pm, November 12th, 2007 - 33 comments
Categories: election funding, Media - Tags: ,

So the NZ Herald has finally admitted it’s running a campaign against the government. Check out this ridiculous, chest-thumping, self-congratulatory piece from their website:

Public opinion has swung behind the Herald’s call for the Electoral Finance Bill to be scrapped.

Hundreds of people have joined the debate on nzherald.co.nz’s Your Views forum, with the vast majority agreeing the legislation is an attack on democracy.

Readers contacting the Herald newsdesk have also been almost unanimously in support of a front page editorial today which said: “democracy is not a device to keep the Labour Party in power”.

The campaign has also won the support today of National leader John Key, who reiterated a pledge to scrap the law if his party leads the next Government

Of course, anecdotal evidence based on a front page scare campaign isn’t evidence of anything, but it’s not til further down the page that the Herald really loses the plot:

Among readers to contact nzherald.co.nz was John Beavin of Auckland who said: “Another bit of legislation designed to assist our Helen’s government. It is high time the Labour supporters realised what a devious lot of double crossing miscreants they elected. Democracy must be preserved at all costs, otherwise there is no point in honouring those who died fighting in wars to preserve it.”

And a “Concerned NZer” from Cambridge said: “Any restriction on political campaigning is dangerous. It may be a stretch at this stage but we all know what happened in Germany prior to WW2 – it started from small beginnings and look where that ended.”

Simply astonishing.

33 comments on “NZ Herald openly campaigning against Govt”

  1. dave 1

    why is it astonishing?

  2. [comment deleted at Deborah’s request]

  3. Tane 3

    we all know what happened in Germany prior to WW2 – it started from small beginnings and look where that ended.

    Our largest metropolitan daily comparing Helen Clark to Adolf Hitler? That’s pretty astonishing.

  4. Faaaarrrrrkkkkk! Tane, he’s done it again! Could you do the delete thing for me, again.

    I will speak sternly to him.

    Deborah (the real one)

    [Tane: Done]

  5. Tane 5

    I’m guessing that’s Deborah’s partner again rather than Deborah. In any case, you’ve misunderstood the point of the bill – to stop the wealthy and the powerful from abusing their position to unduly influencing our elections. No one’s going to ban a Listener editorial, and nor would they want to. To say they will is just misinformed scaremongering.

  6. Thank you, Tane. You’re a champion.

  7. Deborah's Partner 7

    Sorry Tane (and thanks). Well that leaves me without a moral leg to stand on. So I guess I’d better retire from this particular fray!

  8. Daveo 8

    This is an absolute disgrace. Who the hell do the Herald think they are? When a newspaper has a monopoly in its area I think it’s frankly unethical for it to come out in such a partisan way like this. What’s next? ‘Vote John Key or the Puppy Dies’?

    I never would have thought I’d take the side of Fairfax, but here we are.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Basil Fawlty of the NZ Herald, speaking on TV One last week (the Waldorf salad episode):

    “I’m trying to run a hotel here! Have you any idea of how much there is to do? Do you ever think of that? Of course not! You’re too busy sticking your noses into every corner, poking about for things to complain about, aren’t you? Well, let me tell you something! This is exactly how Nazi Germany started! A lot of layabouts with nothing better to do than to cause trouble! Well, I’ve had 15 years of pandering to the likes of you, and I’ve had enough! I’ve had it! Come on! Pack your bags and get out!”

  10. Santa Claws 10

    Not just the Herald, Tane.

    Better get your earplugs out along with your blinkers.


  11. Spectator 11

    So much for the myth of the left-wing media…

  12. r0b 12

    I’ve said previously that I think there are problems with the EFB in its current draft form. And while The Herald has certainly gone a bit overboard here with the scaremongering (and auto gratification), we should at least look on the bright side. It’s good to see a robust media taking on perceived injustice. (If only the American media were one tenth so brave eh?) We will certainly want this level of – ummm – zeal – if the worst happens and we do get a National government next year. Shudder.

  13. Tane 13

    Except, r0b, somehow I can’t see the Herald jumping onto a cause of the left with such gusto. In fact, ‘the Left’ was explicitly attacked in the Herald’s editorial.

    Oh well, at least we know for sure that we don’t need to take a word of what they say seriously.

  14. Tane 14

    Wow, just listened to that National Radio piece. So, ah, left-wing media bias, eh?

  15. Lee C 15

    superb – you had it your own way for so long, and when it was under the media radar, you were smugly dismissing detractors based on the premise that the media hd no interest in this ‘beltway issue’ because Labour were doing the right thing..

    Now, the media is taking an interest, and criticising Labour, suddenly you are smugly using the fact to ‘prove’ that they are following a right-wing agenda to bring down Labour. The common thread in both tapestries – smugness.

    It was the smug arrogance of Labour that got you into this mess, and foolishly you assume that your smug arrogance will extricate you.

    I think you will be proven wrong on both counts.

  16. Yep, left-wing media bias. It’s a fact conclusively proven – Redbaiter said so!

  17. Daveo 17

    Lee I think you’re talking shit, or at least grossly misrepresenting what people have said to suit yourself.

    And the big error on your part is this: The Herald are actually following a right-wing agenda. They’ve said so themselves in the past.

    Riddle me this: when was the last time the Herald called for more social spending instead of tax cuts? Supported workers in an industrial dispute? Or called for reason and evidence over hysteria in the crime debate? Not in my lifetime they haven’t.

    And all the while the right have complained about left-wing media bias. Well here’s your bias, and it has a decidely Tory smell to it.l

  18. The Left deserve to get an outright bollocking: yes, this includes you, Tane, and the rest of the people at the Standard. It simply isn’t good enough for you to blithely say “I’m not happy with the Bill in its *draft* form”, yet do everything you can to justify this shoddy piece of legislation. You haven’t come up with any decent reasons for the Bill, other than attack the opponents of it.

    This legislation is a desperate attempt by the Labour Party to stay in power, at any cost. At least there are some parts of the Left who are honest enough to call it what it is. Perhaps it is the fear that National will thrash Labour at the next election anyway, and they know how much the legislation will muzzle them under a National Government.

  19. r0b 19

    As usual, No Right Turn has a thoughtful take on the issues:


  20. Tane 20

    Prick. There’s nothing wrong with supporting the principles of a piece of legislation while having issues with certain parts of it. The intent of the EFB is clear: to reduce the influence of big money in our political system. There’s some work needed around the definition of election advertising etc, but you’d have to be a card-carrying member of the tinfoil hat brigade to believe for one second that Helen Clark and the Labour Party actually plan to ban free speech. They fucked up, but they’re the Labour Party and you kind of expect that from them.

    But if you’re generally interested in a fair and transparent electoral system then the answer isn’t to throw rocks at it. You campaign in support of the solid principles behind the bill and work to iron out the bits you don’t like. There have been many on the left who have put pressure on the govt to ban anonymous donations, and it looks like that might be happening too.

    There’s no need to be hysterical Prick, leave that to Granny Herald.

  21. So, Tane, at last you have the integrity to admit that the legislation is a fuck-up.

    If the Government really was interested in cleaning up what it claims to be a broken electoral system, the resonable action would be to set up an independent commission of inquiry, headed by a high court judge, and/or a citizen’s jury.

    Instead the Labour Party has deliberately tried to stack electoral law to its own advantage, at a very time when they’re getting shat on in the polls.

    This is the biggest change in New Zealand’s recent constitutional history. If you really believe that electoral law needs changing, then you will support scrapping the bill, and starting again in an unbiased, non-partisan way.

    Take it out of the politicians’ hands. They have too many vested interests at stake. Democracy is too big to sacrifice to this shoddy law.

  22. Tane 22

    Prick, I’ve said many times that the Government has mishandled this legislation. I just think it’s important that something is put in place before the next election. Afterwards we’ll have plenty of time for something like a citizens’ assembly (which they should have done from the start). But for now, I’m not willing to see a repeat of 2005. If that means slightly rushed legislation then it’s price I’m willing to pay. As it stands, I’m hopeful it’ll come out of select committee with the major concerns around things like the definition of advertising fixed, the third party expenditure cap raised to a more realistic level and anonymous donations scrapped.

    We on the left are not actually trying to ban your speech Prick, and that’s something that both you and the NZ Herald need to understand.

  23. You know, Tane, that anonymous donations won’t be scrapped. National had agreed before the Bill was presented to dealing with the Government’s critical issues: anonymous donations, and limitless third party expenditure. Instead the Government has tried to railroad through legislation that DOES limit New Zealand’s closely-held tradition of free speech.

    You haven’t put a good case for the legislation. The “risk” of 2005 being repeated isn’t a risk, and you know that. What would happen if the Exclusive Brethren sent out an anonymous pamphlet again? The media would be crawling all over it, and National would get shit on, just as what happened in 2005. The EB’s handling of the pamphlet in 2005 was an utter fiasco, and it probably cost National the election. The content of the pamphlet was actually very good. I would have been pleased to distribute it myself, but if I had done so, I would have put my name to it and been upfront about my motives.

    That’s an aside. The great “risk” of the events of the 2005 election WILL be repeated. The great crime of 2005 was that Labour stole taxpayers’ money that it wasn’t entitled to, and used it to illegally spend money on its campaign. It broke electoral law. Now Labour has tilted the playing field in its own favour to allow it to do the exactly the same again next year.

    Labour silences its critics, ensures that it has massive “public information” campaigns, worth tens of millions of dollars enforcing Labour Party policy, and legislates to allow itself to spend millions of dollars of parliamentary funding for election purposes. That, Tane, is the most disgraceful, cynical, and self-serving use of political office in the last century. You of all people should be holding your head in shame. By attempting to justify it, you are an accomplice to that disgrace.

    That disgrace will cost you the election. Sometime around 2013, once your beloved party has hit absolute rock-bottom, you will finally have the courage to look back and admit the great mistake of 2007 that was your Electoral Finance Bill.

  24. r0b 24

    Well IP, that was the longest, and in some ways the most coherent thing I think I’ve ever seen you write. Well done, you may be growing up. Not that I agree with any single part of it of course.

    It seems almost petty of me to remind you that you don’t have such a good record in the prediction department. But – I’m going to do it anyway:

    “Sonic, phillip, james, etc:You pinko shits have been predicting Don Brash’s demise ever since he became leader. Fact is he has survived every one of the personal attacks and dirty tactics that the Labour Party has thrown at him […] Brash will be our next Prime Minister.” Insolent Prick on Kiwiblog | November 22, 2006 11:36 AM.

  25. Wow, r0b, that took a lot of thought on your part.

    Watch your party’s polling numbers tumble again. The public don’t like being cheated.

  26. TomS 26

    We should make a pamphlet! “The Great accurate predictions of Insolent Prick”

    It would be completely blank.

  27. burt 27


    Our largest metropolitan daily comparing Helen Clark to Adolf Hitler? That’s pretty astonishing.

    Yes it’s astonishing. Now what should we do – I know: denigrate the people making the claims and ignore the points being made. I think it was Nicky Hager that first publicly drew this parallel.

  28. You really did thump my argument there, Toms. Totally took the wind out of my sail, old chap. Now I’ve rethought my position, and I’ve changed it. All thanks to you. Despite the Labour Party introducing the most vile, self-serving, dishonest piece of legislation in recent political history, to benefit itself over everybody else, I think it is perfectly justified to do so. Because electoral law should be the play-thing of the Labour Party.

  29. the sprout 29

    the editorial’s headline “Democracy Under Threat” is yet another ironic, unintended double-entendre.
    yes, under threat by APN corporate power worried about a piece of legislation that might 1) curb its ability to manipulate public opinion by spending lots of cash and 2) curb its ability to get more advertising revenue during elections.
    it reminds me of that other great Herald clanger, its motto “The Herald: there’s a lot more to it”.

  30. Dean 30

    r0b, it seems almost petty of me to remind you that you don’t have such a good record in answering hard questions about your party. But – I’m going to do it anyway:

    What is your opinion on Labour selecting a candidate for this years election who has previously gone on record as saying that “all trade is immoral”?

    There are bonus points for not using the whole “National did it before us so nyah nyah nyah” defence. I will be grading appropriately.

  31. Matthew Pilott 31

    Just quietly, dean, you got the wrong thread. Also, why don’t you ask the candidate himself? And yes, very, very petty. If you can see it, why do it?

  32. Dean 32

    “Just quietly, dean, you got the wrong thread. Also, why don’t you ask the candidate himself? And yes, very, very petty. If you can see it, why do it?”

    I think you missed the part where I was using r0b’s exact same language to question his motives. If you check, its in this same thread.

    The fact that you think it’s actually petty shows more than the fact that you are unwilling to debate the point at hand.

    Which isn’t really much of a shock. Petty? Quite probably. Weak on your part? Attacking the messenger and not the message on your behalf? Sadly so. But again, hardly surprising coming from you.

  33. lprent 33

    Dean – This thread is from last year. It is also what the ‘sod calls a pick-fucker question. It says more about the questioner than the target.

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