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ODT on the Electoral Finance Bill

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 pm, December 12th, 2007 - 81 comments
Categories: election funding - Tags:

Here’s an article from the ODT. It’s by Simon Cunliffe, “a senior Otago Daily Times journalist”.

I’m loathe to reprint it in full but the ODT doesn’t provide full online access to articles. Perhaps the best I can do is to encourage you to subscribe to their digital edition if you enjoy the read.

Electoral Finance Bill is the price of undeclared interests

LISTEN up. Suppress that yawn. This week will decide the fate of the Electoral Finance Bill. It comes with serious historical baggage and a radical payload of forward freight.

This is an argument about how elections are financed. But it is also, in the end, a presentation on the nature of our democracy.

There has been much bitterness in the debate. It derives from the baggage. The Left saw developments at the last election that, if allowed to become commonplace, could render it electorally irrelevant. Equally, the Right, elements of which have steadfastly refused to come to terms with MMP, sees next year’s election as its last best chance to unseat Labour and its centre-Left coalition partners as the natural parties of Government.

In 2005, knowing an election was imminent, but with a war chest that exceeded its electioneering allowance, the National Party embarked on an expensive billboard campaign. This was entirely legal, but coming in such close proximity to the three-month election period, it was possible for opponents to construe it as electioneering.

Second, as it was to emerge through Nicky Hager, author of The Hollow Men, National’s new leader Dr Don Brash owed his position — and possibly his allegiances — to the influences of big money, in particular the Act New Zealand Party and the Business Roundtable.

Third, sophisticated offshore techniques were deployed in Dr Brash’s election strategy and campaign.

Fourth, the campaign itself saw the intervention of third party pamphlet advertising, spending up to $1 million attacking the policies of Labour and the Greens.

It added up to a seismic shift in the New Zealand political landscape — irreversible and not especially attractive. The genie was out of the bottle.

For its part, Labour, spent about $800,000 on a pledge card using funds that had been set aside for that purpose in at least two previous elections without reproof, but which was now seen by the Opposition, the Auditor-general and much of the electorate as at best inappropriate. Legal minds were divided but in the court of public opinion Labour and most of the other parties took a hiding.

So much for the baggage.

The forward freight is the recasting of the electoral financing laws. For normally sure-footed Labour, the initial drafting of the new Bill was shoddy. Allowing itself to be blindsided by the Human Rights Commission in its submissions to select committee was uncharacteristic — even accepting this is where a great deal of the shaping and horse trading of democracy routinely occurs.

Outside Parliament, opposition to the Bill has been led by John Boscowen, who discovered the existence of the Human Rights Commission with all the fervour and glee of a true convert. He has made great play of the Commission’s submissions dating back to mid-October, even though many of these have now been addressed. He continues to insist the Bill will severely curtail democracy. If you are an individual, it won’t, unless you plan to spend more than $120,000 on a politically-directed campaign.

As much as we like to imagine that freedom of speech is an absolute, it isn’t. There are several laws that proscribe it. Mr Boscowen’s ideal democracy is one in which money is free to talk whenever, and however loud, it likes. The suggestion there might be times — during election year, for instance — when it should be constrained to a whisper, seems gravely to offend him.

Mr Boscowen is a multi-millionaire. Good on him. He’s been a fund-raiser and office holder for Act. No problem. He is also an associate member of the Business Roundtable. His privilege. And he’s articulate, but possibly a little shy in his appreciation of irony.

He has spent $140,000, and rising, fighting the Bill. That money has bought newspaper and radio advertisements denouncing it, printed placards, marshalled involvement in protest marches, and paid — everybody still comfortable? — for a Canadian call centre to telephone 82,000 Auckland homes to drum up support for the last protest.

So much for the spontaneous outpouring of opposition to this dastardly anti-democratic Government’s election finance Bill. The truth is, Mr Boscowen has bags of money and no hesitation in using any amount of it to try to influence the course of our future democracy.

Some might say he is the perfect illustration of why the new laws, imperfect though they might be, are necessary. And there’s no small irony in that.

UPDATE: It’s come to our attention that the author of this article was formerly employed as a Labour Party press sec. While his opinions are no less valid because of this we are putting it on the record in the interests of disclosure.

81 comments on “ODT on the Electoral Finance Bill ”

  1. Gruela 1

    It can’t be a coincidence that the ODT is NZ’s last privately owned daily. (It still is, isn’t it?)

  2. Policy Parrot 2

    Not only does Mr. Boscowan attempt to intercede in our democracy, he is shipping jobs offshore while doing it…

    And annoying us by getting telemarketers to call us at dinner time, in order to consult us about lies.

    Maybe people should call Mr. Boscowan continously from 6-9pm, rattling on about how he is a threat to democracy?

  3. Daveo 3

    PP – great idea. Got a spare $9,000? No? Neither do I. Great thing this free speech for the rich.

  4. The Double Standard 4

    Congratulations on finally finding a journalist that partially supports your warped worldview, base.I guess you didn’t enjoy the other 99% of editorial and journalistic comment trashing the EFB?

    Maybe the PM is just upset because of the tirade from most media outlets against the Electoral Finance Bill. She singled out the New Zealand Herald in her speech, but there isn’t a newspaper in the country that I know of that has written in favour of this legislation.

    From http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/politics/2007/12/11/she-said-we-were-too-young/

  5. The Double Standard 5

    I wonder why you didn’t highlight this other blog entry which also discussed John Boscawen?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/blogs/politics/2007/12/05/spending-up-large-for-democracy/

    Was it because he said unfavourable things like this?

    But Labour has bought itself this fight on the back of fears over Nicky Hager’s book The Hollow Men and fears the Exclusive Brethren would spend up large in the election again if it got the chance.

    Things have got so ridiculous now, however, that passing this law is going to leave so much bad blood that Labour may well rue the day it did so. As John Key said in Parliament yesterday, it could be Labour’s epitaph and cost Prime Minister Helen Clark her job.

  6. Gruela 6

    Double

    Actually, most newspapers have come out in favour of the legislation. Most of them just thought some of the details needed adjusting.

  7. Daveo 7

    Shock! horror! An openly left-wing site published an article that supports their position! It’s almost like they’re finding articles they agree with and distributing them to a wider audience. Double Standard, go inform the party. You’re onto a scandal with this one.

  8. Lampie 8

    just goes to show the intelligence

  9. Lampie 9

    of the right wing dumb arses

  10. The Double Standard 10

    “Most of them just thought some of the details needed adjusting.”

    What, more than the 150 amendments that Teh Party put forward?

    It must be pretty tiring swimming against the tide of public opinion on this one.

  11. Lampie 11

    Actually I’m disappointed, why haven’t we mentioned this?

    New Roy Morgan New Zealand Government Confidence Indicator at 110 for Mid-November
    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2007/4254/

  12. The Double Standard 12

    Lampie – maybe because Rudd gets 144.5 on the same kind of rating?

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2007/4255/

  13. Gruela 13

    Double

    I was just making the point that not many commentators are arguing against the intent of the bill, simply it’s execution. When the election gets underway in a few months, and no-one gets arrested for holding unlicensed placards but certain right-wing stirrers try to take the issue to court, I suspect public opinion will swing behind Labour. No-one likes monied-up stirrers with an inflated sense of entitlement.

  14. the sprout 14

    “It can’t be a coincidence that the ODT is NZ’s last privately owned daily. (It still is, isn’t it?)”

    indeed, and yes it is.
    pisses all over the transnational conglomerate-owned papers.
    it even experiments with concepts like ‘balance’.

  15. Gruela 15

    Yeah, the Herald is starting to look ridiculous. It’s campaign against the EFB seems to have turned into a vendetta against Labour, and tomorrow’s front page isn’t going to assuage those perceptions. If I were their overseas masters I’d start to be getting worried about now. The Herald’s editorial staff are starting to smell like they’re in the grip of some form of mania, and that can only turn off regular readers. (Kiwi’s don’t like continually reading about how much better Aussies are than us.)

  16. the sprout 16

    i guess if those overseas owners were less concerned about extracting double digit profits from the Herald year after year, and more concerned with maintaining quality to ensure long-term circulation, they would take your advice.

    of course issues of journalistic integrity and ethics don’t enter the equation.

  17. Gruela 17

    $ is $ sprout. I still reckon the drum they’re banging is going to turn people off. People expect news in newspapers, not the same op-ed on the front page for what seems the 17th time.

    I figure the ratio has to be
    75Z% don’t care
    20% are interested, but not THAT much
    5% are ACT voters

  18. deemac 18

    5% ACT voters? that many?

  19. ragtag 19

    “I figure the ratio has to be
    75Z% don’t care”

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil [wo]men – Plato

  20. Prisoner Porter 20

    I am locked up in a red round cell 24/7 !!

  21. the sprout 21

    i’d say your analysis of audience interest is about right gruela.

    prisoner burns, i’d say that’d be the right place for you

  22. r0b 22

    “The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil [wo]men – Plato”

    It’s deja moo all over again. (As in, we’ve heard this bullshit before).

  23. the sprout 23

    “The price of stupidity is to be ruled by Hollow Men” – Sprout

  24. Lampie 24

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil [wo]men – Plato

    sHIPLEY RETURNS?

  25. Phil 25

    Ah, The Generals[Bloggers? Politicians?]! they are numerous but not good for much. – Aristophenes

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Back on topic:

    It’s taken them months, but the penny has finally dropped. Yes, even the NZ Herald has woken up, and worked out what National are up to:

    “Surely, when the issues at stake are as profound as who is allowed to spend money and how much they can spend on public issues advocacy in the best part of an election year, National needed to put its own money where its mouth is. To offer the public a concession that, while potentially hampering itself, would also get to the heart of the most basic concern: the secrecy of some donors and advertisers. Where was National’s grand amendment to this ill-conceived and anti-democratic law? It could have proposed a ban on all secret donations, eliminating trust payments like those from its clandestine Waitemata Trust million-dollar donor and making funding upfront and transparent to the public. … But is it too much to ask that even one party put the public ahead of its own interests? Probably.”

    (today’s editorial)

  27. the sprout 27

    the Herald’s owners must be getting the jitters about what their campaign for the rights of the wealthy to manipulate elections is doing to their circulation

  28. Tane 28

    I hear its circulation is down to 200,000 nationwide, and sliding. It’s the paper that fewer than one in seven Aucklanders bother reading.

  29. Phil 29

    If 200,000 is the correct circulation figure, then I hardly see need for concern. Per head of population, it works out at roughly the same sales as the Press and Dom-Post.

  30. gobsmacked 30

    This editorial appears to have gone unnoticed on Kiwiblog. For once there’s no Herald post n’ link, in the guise of commentary. Wonder why?

    I’m sure we’re all EFB-ed out, but it’s a pretty big deal when the whole flimsy facade of National’s opposition is torn to shreds by its best buddy.

    So who’s fighting for democracy – the Nats or the Herald?

    Lee C, can you help?

  31. the sprout 31

    ah but Phil, enough is never enough for APN. they’ve long since stripped all the fat and muscle the Herald could afford to lose, now there’s only sales.

  32. the sprout 32

    “who’s fighting for democracy – the Nats or the Herald”

    gs, that would be a tough call.

  33. PhilBest 33

    Maybe Simon Cunliffe is one of these people who will excuse ANYTHING that gets us on the way to the great egalitarian utopia? Like he will excuse the jailing of John Boscawen or the like next year, and like he never had any difficulty over Andrei Sakharov or Vaclav Havel either, probably. That goes for Tane, Sam Dixon, Sonic, Roger Nome, Nicky Hager, John Minto…….. fine upstanding specimens of the milk of kindness of the brotherhood of humanity all.

    Maybe Simon Cunliffe won’t have any problem with Our Dear Leader regulating media commentary either – the next stage if she gets away with this. Simon Cunliffe’s colleagues might end up out of their jobs/ jailed. Who cares? John Minto and Nicky Hager and the Aro Valley fellow-travellers can fill in for them all.

    Thought of the day for you all: What happened to Trostky? Bukharin? Beria? Kirov? Zinoviev? et al, et al, et al,……..

  34. DS 34

    “Maybe Simon Cunliffe is one of these people who will excuse ANYTHING that gets us on the way to the great egalitarian utopia? Like he will excuse the jailing of John Boscawen or the like next year, and like he never had any difficulty over Andrei Sakharov or Vaclav Havel either, probably. That goes for Tane, Sam Dixon, Sonic, Roger Nome, Nicky Hager, John Minto…. fine upstanding specimens of the milk of kindness of the brotherhood of humanity all.”

    Just to nip your right-wing paranoia in the bud, the ODT is no friend of Labour. I know: I work for them. It’s just that the ODT (unlike certain other papers I could mention) very rarely gets hysterical about issues like this: they’re a very crusty “Dunedin Establishment” paper, but like to maintain at least a veneer of non-partisanship on national issues.

  35. Robinsod 35

    PB – you’re hysterical. Get someone to slap you. Quick!

  36. Matthew Pilott 36

    Robinson, what worries me was if that was hysterical – where was all the SHOUTING?

    Let’s just hope it was satire 😉

    Cap: booby human . Hmmmm….

  37. The Double Standard 37

    Thought of the day for you all: What happened to Trostky? Bukharin? Beria? Kirov? Zinoviev? et al, et al, et al,..

    Or Robespierre for that matter!

  38. Billy 38

    ‘sod,

    Are you going to make good on your threat to out IP? Or was it hollow? Should we now start taunting you in the manner you taunted Whaleoil?

  39. Robinsod 39

    Billy – I’m not going to out IP/DS unless I’m given good reason to. I figure it’s better to keep that info for a rainy day. I should also point out that it’s not a case of me having “taunted” Whale because I continue to do so for a long time yet.

  40. PhilBest 40

    DS, I know the ODT is a fine establishment paper and no friend of Labour’s and their efforts at providing balance content are to be applauded.

    I still stand by what I am saying about the kind of people who are SUPPORTING the EFB. I am not being fanciful at all in saying that there are political activists on the left in NZ who have no moral difficulty about ANYTHING that will advance the arrival of their egalitarian utopia.

    Presumably DS, you KNOW this Simon Cunliffe person. How deeply have you scratched his surface on where he stands re freedom vs socialist totalitarianism? The acid test is, does he hate totalitarianism more than he hates the inequality that is a consequence of freedom? Does he think that the media should be controlled, and that commentary like Roger Kerr’s column in the ODT should be banned (which it de facto is already in the Dom Post and probably all the other main dailies too) and a steady diet of Chris Trotter, Finlay MacDonald, John Minto and Nicky Hager (and himself of course) (and regular Chomsky excerpts) would be just the best thing for NZ?

    Call me paranoid, but there is far too much of this sort of thinking in NZ today for comfort. 49% of Venezuelans thought that de facto Communism would have been OK by them. What would the % be in NZ? The result might shock you (and please Tane, roger nome and Co.)

  41. Billy 41

    And PhilBest, let’s not forget that the favourite mouthpiece of the left, Chris Trotter, has shamelessly advocated electoral corruption to keep the right out of power. No wonder so many feel uncomfortable about the EFB.

  42. r0b 42

    I still stand by what I am saying about the kind of people who are SUPPORTING the EFB.

    The EFB is supported by an overwhelming majority of political parties (5 supporting, 2 opposed, with the Maori Party seemingly undecided).

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10481042&pnum=0

    It is only opposed by those with a vested interest in buying elections.

    Go people power – go MMP!

  43. Billy 43

    So, R0b, are you with Trotter that corruption is forgiveable if it keeps the right out of power? You see, when people like him say that sort of shit, people like us are likely to think that the EFB is a deliberate attempt to screw the scrum.

  44. Robinsod 44

    Billy – I’d like to read that, can you post a link?

  45. Billy 45

    I can’t find a link. But, having explained that there would be a revolution if the Nats took power (!!!), he said:

    “Social peace for a paltry half-million dollars? Strikes me as the most courageous and forgivable kind of corruption.”

    I don’t think he denies it. Mike Moore had him up on it a couple of months back on National Radio and he was quite unrepentant.

  46. Robinsod 46

    What did the half-million dollars refer to?

  47. Graeme Edgeler 47

    For its part, Labour, spent about $800,000 on a pledge card using funds that had been set aside for that purpose in at least two previous elections without reproof, but which was now seen by the Opposition, the Auditor-general and much of the electorate as at best inappropriate. Legal minds were divided but in the court of public opinion Labour and most of the other parties took a hiding.

    Certainly there’s a range of reasonable opinion over whether the spending of Parliamentary Services Money on the pledge card was a proper use of that money.

    Unfortunately, there is basically no legal debate over whether it had to be included as an election expense. It had to be included, and it pushed Labour over the spending limit.

    The Auditor-General’s investigation over the money wasn’t a big deal for me. I was a little annoyed when Labour started attacking him personally, but the use of the money itself wasn’t a great concern. The deliberate over-spending was a big concern however, and it’s a great pity Labour weren’t called to account for it (as National should have been for it’s broadcasting act breach).

  48. Pascal's bookie 48

    I completely agree with Graeme’s post.

    Why is the window so narrow for prosecution, if that was what the problem was?

  49. r0b 49

    “So, R0b, are you with Trotter that corruption is forgiveable if it keeps the right out of power”

    If that is what Trotter actually said (can I see the original quote please?) – then no of course I don’t agree. The principles of democracy are more important than the party that happens to be in power at any given time.

    I may have seen more governments than many here. They come and go. But if the system gets broken, as it is for example in America, then it’s game over.

  50. Pascal's bookie 50

    I’m down with that rOb.

    Trotter rarely speaks for me in any case. And the US just makes me cry these days.

    Well it would if I wasn’t such a triple hard bastard, he says, stroking his beard and sipping the chardonnay.

  51. gobsmacked 51

    So in reality, what this ranting all comes down to is:

    Conclusion – New Zealand is threatened by a quasi-Bolshevik Left that will stop at nothing to gain and keep power, trampling all over our basic rights in the process, and warrants comparison with Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Nazis, blah blah blah …

    And the damning evidence is (drum roll) …

    – a snippet of one quote on one occasion by one columnist, who holds no position of authority in the government, the Labour party, or any other party, or any affiliated organisation, and who has been cited approvingly by the National leader (Orewa).

    Yep, paranoid sounds about right.

  52. Billy 52

    No, gobsmacked. No-one has said that. Stop making shit up.

  53. Robinsod 53

    Billy – it does seem kinda like that (though I think gobsmacked was using hyperbole for effect).

  54. Billy 54

    You put the quote together with the Bill, and it is not inconceivable to be concerned. Nothing more than that.

    Go on, defend him.

  55. Robinsod 55

    I read Fran O’Sullivan talking about letting the sick and the old die rather than become a financial burden, Billy, you put that together with Key’s policy of “go down the road” in healthcare and it’s not inconceivable to be concerned about National’s hidden eugenic agenda. Are you?

  56. gobsmacked 56

    Billy

    Read Phil Best’s comments on this thread. Read the various international comparisons, past or present.

    More importantly, listen to the rhetoric of the anti-EFB campaign – the leaders, not the fringe – urging us to “Fight Fascism”.

    That is “making shit up”.

  57. Billy 57

    My point exactly ‘sod. You have put those two together and are concerned. Yet somehow it is not legitimate for me to do the same.

  58. Robinsod 58

    Bro, I might have some serious misgivings about National but I don’t think they are eugenicists. Jesus, how crazy do you think I am?

  59. Billy 59

    ‘sod
    1. I thought we had agreed it was “bro'”.
    2. See, gobsmacked was not using hyperbole.
    3. I have no idea how crazy you are.

  60. gobsmacked 60

    So Billy, do you believe (as John Boscawen does) that the EFB is fascist?

  61. r0b 61

    Billy – it’s hard to believe that you are constructing a genuine fear of an evil left wing conspiracy out of a random comment by Trotter. If you are – please – for heaven’s sake – let it go. The point of robinsod’s example was not to reinforce your fears, but to illustrate what insubstantial foundations they are based on.

    Most people on the left and most people on the right want the same thing – peace and prosperity. They just disagree about the methods. (Oh – and the right are wrong!).

  62. Billy 62

    gobsmacked,

    I am worried that it is a partisan attempt by the government of the day to remove the tactical advantages that its opponent has (the government having its own, but different advantages).

    I am not so simple-minded to believe that National’s objection is out of a concern for democracy.

    I have a genuine concern that some on the left have been smoking so much of their own weed that they genuinely believe that a little bit of corruption is OK because a right wing government would be such an unpalatable prospect.

    Fascism is in the eye of the beholder, it appears. I do not consider that it is bandied about with such abandon that it is pretty much meaningless.

  63. Billy 63

    remove the “do not”

  64. r0b 64

    I am worried that it is a partisan attempt by the government of the day to remove the tactical advantages that its opponent has (the government having its own, but different advantages).

    The government’s advantage is exactly that. The advantage of the incumbent. It’s impossible to avoid (unless you want to forbid the government communicating with citizens). And it applies equally (over time) to National or Labour.

    The advantage that National has from covert funding is exactly that, an advantage for National (and only National). Now – if you believe that it’s OK for covert money to buy elections, then you’re fine with that. But if you believe in a level playing field democracy, you have to try and fix the problems so starkly highlighted by the 2005 election.

    So the EFB is designed to level the playing field. For everyone. (Put aside the advantage of the incumbent government – that is NOT a systemic Labour advantage. And the balancing advantage for the opposition, if you like, is that people tend to get sick of governments and fancy change for the sake of it).

    I am not so simple-minded to believe that National’s objection is out of a concern for democracy.

    Good for you. Me neither.

    I have a genuine concern that some on the left have been smoking so much of their own weed that they genuinely believe that a little bit of corruption is OK because a right wing government would be such an unpalatable prospect.

    Probably, sure. “The Left” and “The Right” are big, diverse groups of fallible humans. Neither is perfect.

  65. gobsmacked 65

    Billy

    OK. The word then (for your first sentence) would be “gerrymander”. I do not agree that the EFB does this, but even in stable democracies that is something to guard against, and so it can be a legitimate criticism.

    Whereas this kind of thing (printed placards for the anti-EFB campaign) is just silly:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/423466/1469545

    But I suspect that when the dust settles, next year we will have free and fair elections, and NZ will remain one of the least corrupt democracies on earth. Even if National win.

  66. r0b 66

    gobsmacked – hear hear!

  67. Tane 68

    Billy, you obviously missed my response on Kiwiblog:

    # Tane Says:
    December 14th, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    David, good to see you’re an avid reader of The Standard. A pity though that you felt the need to cast aspersions on our honesty and accuse us of double standards. You certainly kick up a stink whenever you think people are accusing you of that.

    Just to set the record straight, we weren’t actually aware of Simon Cunliffe’s former position as a Labour press sec, but now you mention it I agree entirely – it would have been useful if his recent political affiliations had been disclosed.

    Same goes for your old pal Richard Long, who feels fit to write columns dismissing the importance of the Brethren and attacking the Electoral Finance Bill without mentioning how utterly conflicted he is on these issues.

    A bit like yourself as an independent commentator on the EFB, eh David?

  68. dave 69

    Cunlffe wasn’t just formerly employed as a Labour Party press secretary – he was ” recently employed” ie he was employed within Labour when the EF bill was going through select committee.

    Now hes popped out to write about it as a journo. Richard Long has long gone from National

  69. The Double Standard 70

    Yes, and Dr Michael Bassett has been even longer gone from Labour – seemingly far enough to disagree with them….

    Current laws place spending limits on personal and party advertising at both the local and central levels. They have stood the test of time. If applied, they would even have caught the Exclusive Brethren last time for failing to carry adequate authorization for their leaflets. It’s taxpayers’ funds spent on mood music that is a greater threat to the electoral process. No existing or proposed laws cover that. Our ministers, these days, thrive on double standards.

    http://www.michaelbassett.co.nz/articleview.php?id=176

  70. r0b 71

    “It’s taxpayers’ funds spent on mood music that is a greater threat to the electoral process.”

    TeDiouS – are you sure you want to be citing this sort of rubbish in your defence?

  71. Pascal's bookie 72

    Does Michael Basset disclose that he lied about what was in those Brethren leaflets, or rather that he lied about whether or not those leaflets were truthful about Green party policy on capital gains tax?

    Probably not. He seemed a little titchy about it when he lost his gig at the dompost.

  72. PhilBest 73

    I’m not talking about one political columnist. I’m talking about the EFB and the people who support it, even if very few newspaper columnists or editors do. The most public representation he people who support it, are people like Chris Trotter, Nicky Hager, John Minto, and bloggers like Tane, Roger Nome, Sonic, Sam Dixon, Robinsod, rOb, et al. One can take it that the whole Aro Valley mob, much of the VUWSA, and all that kind of ilk are included. And this lot ARE by by their own frequent admission part of a plot to undermine NZ society to advance their Marxist egalitarian “utopia”.

    “Drum roll”, indeed. A stereotype grand martial-music fanfare a la Red Square march-past would be much more appropriate.

  73. Red Square 74

    Forward the red army tank division to front line kiwi’s as they have a facade of a democracy .

  74. Mike Porton 75

    Hi dad.

  75. Matthew Pilott 76

    And this lot ARE by by their own frequent admission part of a plot to undermine NZ society to advance their Marxist egalitarian “utopia”

    Shit that was a good laugh. Ok so the drink helped a little.

    Mike – You got those SIS files for me?

  76. Mike Porton 77

    Nah, bro I left them in Helen’s office. Or was it at communist party HQ ? Y’know I spend so much time moving between the two I’m always losing track of things…

    You won’t believe this but the capture is “darn laundryman” – I guess this is a cue to discuss just why we need the EFB…

  77. r0b 78

    The most public representation he people who support it, are people like Chris Trotter, Nicky Hager, John Minto, and bloggers like Tane, Roger Nome, Sonic, Sam Dixon, Robinsod, rOb, et al.

    You forgot:

    Annette King (and the Labour Party)
    Winston Peters (and NZ First)
    Russel Norman (and the Greens)
    Jim Anderton
    Peter Dunne (and United Future)

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10481042&pnum=0

  78. Pascal's bookie 79

    Speaking Of VUWSA, it may be a myth but I was told that the Monty Python club once organised a whole crowd of people to attend a meeting, and they managed to pass a motion or something that the VUWSA should invade Poland just as soon as the panzer divisions could be made ready. Watch out Phil!!

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  • Building back better
    It’s a three-week recess in Parliament – so, no bills are going through the House and no select committees are meeting. But the hard work of our ministers continues, and many of our MPs are back in their electorates, taking the opportunity to meet with local communities and businesses about ...
    5 days ago
  • Greens call for a Warrant of Fitness for rental homes
    The Green Party is launching a petition today calling on the Government’s Healthy Homes Standards to be backed up with a proper Warrant of Fitness (WoF) for rental homes. ...
    1 week ago
  • Securing our recovery: By the numbers
    Our plan to secure New Zealand’s recovery from COVID-19 is working, with the past three months seeing the second-highest number of people moved off a main benefit into work since records began. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More Kiwis in work through recovery plan
    The latest statistics show the Government’s focus on jobs is working. The net number of people on a main benefit dropped by around 11,190 people during the past three months, with around 31,240 people moving off a benefit into work. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party appoints new Chief of Staff
    The Green Party has appointed a new Parliamentary Chief of Staff, Robin Campbell. ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Next step to protect Milford Sound Piopiotahi
    Expert group lays out plan to better protect iconic UNESCO World Heritage site Milford Sound Piopiotahi and its surrounds Funding confirmed for dedicated unit and Establishment Board to assess the recommendations and provide oversight of the process from here Milford Opportunities Project a test case for transformational change in tourism ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Funding for projects to reduce waste from construction and demolition
    The Government has announced funding for projects in Auckland and the lower North Island to help reduce construction and demolition waste. “Construction is the main source of waste sent to landfill, and much of this could be reduced, reused and recovered,” Environment Minister David Parker said. “The Government is funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Plan to eliminate hepatitis C as a major health threat by 2030
    A plan to eliminate hepatitis C in New Zealand, reducing liver cancer and the need for liver transplants, has been released today by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall. “Around 45,000 New Zealanders have hepatitis C, but only around half know they have it,” said Ayesha Verrall. “Symptoms often ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • School upgrades and new classrooms for West Coast, Tasman and Canterbury
    A funding injection from Budget 2021 to complete four shovel ready projects and new classrooms at six schools and kura will provide a real boost to local communities, Minister Dr Megan Woods announced today. “This Government has committed to providing quality fit for purpose learning environments and 100,000 new student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Warmer Kiwi Homes smashes annual target
    The Government's highly successful insulation and heating programme, Warmer Kiwi Homes, is celebrating a key milestone with the completion of more than 38,000 insulation and efficient heater installs in the year to the end of June, smashing its target of 25,000 installs for the year. “The Warmer Kiwi Homes scheme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Exemption granted for Wallabies to enter NZ
    Bledisloe Cup rugby will be played in New Zealand after the Australian rugby team received an economic exemption to enter New Zealand. Travel between Australia and New Zealand was suspended on Friday for at least eight weeks following the worsening of the COVID outbreak across the Tasman. New Zealanders have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced three New Zealand Head of Mission appointments. They are: Mike Walsh as Ambassador to Iran Michael Upton as Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union Kevin Burnett as Ambassador to Indonesia Iran “Aotearoa New Zealand has a long-standing and constructive relationship with Iran, despite a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for West Coast and Marlborough
    The Government has activated Enhanced Task Force Green (ETFG) in response to the West Coast and Marlborough floods, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “To assist with the clean-up, up to $500,000 will be made available to support the recovery in Buller and Marlborough which has experienced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt support for upgrade of Eden Park players facilities
    Minister for Sport and Recreation Hon Grant Robertson has announced funding to upgrade the players facilities at Eden Park ahead of upcoming Women’s World Cup events. Eden Park is a confirmed venue for the Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, and a proposed venue for matches of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • More jobs and quicker public transport motoring towards West Auckland
    Work to improve public transport for West Aucklanders and support the region’s economic recovery by creating hundreds of jobs has officially kicked off, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff this morning marked the start of construction on the Northwestern Bus Improvements project. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government backs critical health research
    Research into some of New Zealanders’ biggest health concerns including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease is getting crucial support in the latest round of health research funding, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. The funding, awarded through the Health Research Council of New Zealand, covers 31 General Project grants ($36.64 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Bay of Islands hospital facilities to bring services closer to home
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little have joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa today. The new building will house outpatients and primary care facilities, as well as expanded renal care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Raukokore re-imagined with ‘smart’ relocatable rent to own housing
    Iwi, Crown Partnership Relocatable, fully insulated housing, connected to a new solar plant Provides a pathway to home ownership New housing in the remote eastern Bay of Plenty community of Raukokore shows how iwi and Crown agencies can work together effectively to provide warm, dry, energy efficient homes in a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens
    Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year. Turkey has requested that New Zealand repatriate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt delivers more classrooms so children can focus on learning
    Extra Government investment in classrooms and school building projects will enable students and teachers to focus on education rather than overcrowding as school rolls grow across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis say. The pair visited Ruakākā School in Whangārei today to announce $100 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New station a platform for AirportLink to take off
    Every Aucklander with access to the rail network will now have a quick and convenient trip to the airport, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said during the official opening of the new Puhinui Interchange today. The new interchange links the rail platform with a new bus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 10 days sick leave for employees delivered
    Legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days comes into effect today, bringing benefits to both businesses and employees, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “Our Government is delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy,” Michael Wood said. “COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on Election Win
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern tonight congratulated Prime Minister-elect Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her victory in the Samoa’s general election. “New Zealand has a special relationship with Samoa, anchored in the Treaty of Friendship. We look forward to working with Samoa’s new government in the spirit of partnership that characterises this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel with Australia suspended
    Quarantine Free Travel from all Australian states and territories to New Zealand is being suspended as the Covid situation there worsens, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. From 11.59pm today Australians will no longer be able to enter New Zealand quarantine-free. This will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Growing conservation efforts in Gisborne
    A big injection of Jobs for Nature funding will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti, and has exciting prospects for conservation in the region, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The projects target local communities most affected by the economic consequences of COVID 19 and are designed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Flood recovery given further assistance
    The Government is contributing a further $1 million to help the flood battered Buller community, Acting Emergency Management Minister Kris Faafoi announced today. “Buller is a small community which has found itself suddenly facing significant and ongoing welfare costs. While many emergency welfare costs are reimbursed by Government, this money ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding for five projects to reduce food waste
    The Government is funding five projects to help address the growing problem of food waste, Environment Minister David Parker announced today. “New Zealand households throw away nearly 300,000 tonnes of food every year, half of which could still be eaten. By supporting these initiatives, we’re taking steps to reduce this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Temporary Accommodation Service activated for West Coast flooding event
    The Temporary Accommodation Service (TAS) has been activated today - meaning residents on the West Coast of the South Island and in the Marlborough region hit by flooding over the weekend can now access help finding temporary accommodation, announced Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Poto Williams in Westport today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pause to Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand
    Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia to New Zealand will be paused from 11.59am (NZT) tonight, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. However, people currently in the state who ordinarily live in New Zealand will be able to return on “managed return” flights starting with the next available flight, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand condemns malicious cyber activity by Chinese state-sponsored actors
    New Zealand has established links between Chinese state-sponsored actors known as Advanced Persistent Threat 40 (APT40) and malicious cyber activity in New Zealand. “The GCSB has worked through a robust technical attribution process in relation to this activity. New Zealand is today joining other countries in strongly condemning this malicious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Remarks to Diplomatic Corps
    It is a pleasure to be with you all this evening. Some of you may have been surprised when you received an invitation from the Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, and I would forgive you if you were. New Zealand is unique in having established a Ministerial portfolio ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Early Pfizer shipment boosts vaccine schedule
    The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived into New Zealand two days ahead of schedule, and doses are already being delivered to vaccination centres around the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. “The shipment of more than 370,000 doses reached New Zealand yesterday, following a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Backing for Bay of Islands predator free effort
    The Government is throwing its support behind an ambitious project to restore native biodiversity and build long-term conservation careers, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from the three main peninsulas in the region, and significantly reduce their impact throughout the wider 80,000-plus ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government commits $600,000 to flood recovery
    The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts. Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district this afternoon to assess flood damage and support the local response effort. They have announced ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government assisting local responses to heavy rainfall and high wind
    Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary. “My thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this latest event, particularly communities on the West Coast and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM Ardern chairs APEC Leaders’ meeting on COVID-19
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies overnight. “For the first time in APEC’s history Leaders have come together for an extraordinary meeting focused exclusively on COVID-19, and how our region can navigate out of the worst health and economic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health Minister welcomes progress on nurses’ pay
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said. “It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Boost for Pacific regional business
    Pacific businesses will get a much-needed financial boost as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.  The new $2 million fund will co-invest in Pacific business projects and initiatives to create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM Ardern call with President Biden
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke with US President Biden this morning, ahead of the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat on COVID-19. “President Biden and I discussed the forthcoming APEC leaders meeting and the critical importance of working together as a region to navigate out of the COVID-19 pandemic”, Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Renewed partnership creates jobs for New Zealand youth
    The Government has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, strengthening the partnership to get more young people into work.  The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs (MTFJ) is a nationwide network of all Mayors in New Zealand, who are committed to making sure all young ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • South Island areas prioritised in tourism fund
    Five South Island areas are prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has announced details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund (TIF). ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New code sets clear expectations for learner safety and wellbeing in tertiary education
    A new code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary and international students will be in place from January next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today The code, which makes clear that creating an environment that supports learning and wellbeing is a shared responsibility between tertiary providers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First TAB New Zealand Board appointments announced
    The members of the first TAB NZ Board come with experience in racing and sport administration, business and governance, the betting industry, broadcasting and gambling harm minimisation. “This Board will progress from the excellent work done by the interim board, put in place in August 2020,” Grant Robertson said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Northland Maori Pathways initiative introduced
    The Government has today launched Māori Pathways at Northland Region Corrections Facility, a ground-breaking series of initiatives designed in partnership with Māori to reduce re-offending and improve outcomes for whānau. A key part of the Hōkai Rangi strategy, Māori Pathways looks to achieve long-term change and involves a number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Extended Essential Skills visas being rolled out
    Two year Essential Skills visa to provide certainty to at least 18,000 visa holders Streamlined application process to benefit at least 57,000 visa holders The Government is increasing the duration of some Essential Skills visas and streamlining the application process to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders while ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago