Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, March 10th, 2008 - 21 comments
Categories: election funding, humour - Tags: ,

According to the Herald some people marched down Queen Street against the Electoral Finance Act on Saturday. Apparently they were protesting the removal of their right to political expression, which was taken off them as of January first this year. Signs compared the government to Robert Mugabe. One presumes they are unhappy they can no longer march down Queen Street to protest the end of their political expression using signs comparing the government to Robert Mugabe.

And now for something completely different…

21 comments on “Pythonesque”

  1. K Douglas 1

    I didn’t see any pickets referring to the fiasco at APN. I would thought that political pressure to gag journalists would be included in their broad terms “freedom of speech’.

  2. higherstandard 2


    The solution is clearly to have the governement purchase APN as a strategic asset

  3. AncientGeek 3

    You get the impression that most of the people interested in the EFA are busy expressing displeasure on the blogs already – in complete freedom. Doesn’t cost much.

    I’m still trying to find out how they think the act 2007 differs significantly from the old electoral act 1993 except by tightening provisions, and extending the campaign period. What I usually get is a lot of blather about how unfair it is – but no details.

    Pretty much seems like a way of running slogans as a substitute to using their brains (or reading the legislation).

  4. gobsmacked 4

    This is the problem with inflating the numbers, trying to pass it off as a “people’s” march. When you hold the next one, three-quarters of the people have suddenly disappeared.

    Perhaps the marchers wanted a pay rise.

  5. ghostwhowalks 5

    Dont forget the saturation advertising on certain radio stations to tell us that our freedom of speech has been lost.
    Must have been some contras in that as Boscawen had his own advertisements, some advertorial and got some mentions in the radio news ( before it happened)
    Didnt notice any authorisations in his radio ads, or maybe he didnt want his home address given out.
    Is this guy is setting himself up to be ‘gagged’ or do only the left wing organisations have to be srutinised

  6. The story says five hundred turned out. I doubt if it was half that. I wonder what it cost.

  7. Tane 7

    If you’re wondering why the Herald’s ‘news’ article was so fawning on the marchers, it might interest you to know that the author, Lincoln Tan, has previously written opinion for the Herald attacking the EFA.

    “Politicians aside, I cannot see how anyone else can say with a straight face that the Electoral Finance Bill is not a threat to democracy and freedom of speech.”

    The Herald’s blurring of news and opinion continues.

  8. MikeE 8

    Just because the law isn’t being enforced doesn’t make it good law.

  9. Graeme Edgeler 9

    AncientGeek – the Electoral Act regulated “advertising” the Electoral Finance Act regulates “any form of words of graphics”.

    The Electoral Act did not limit people to spending $4000 in relation to an electorate campaign, nor $120,000 in relation to an election. The EFA does.

    The Electoral Act did not ban people from spending over $1000 in relation to an electorate campaign if they failed to list with the Electoral Commission before nomination day, nor did it ban the same people from spending more than $12,000.


  10. K Douglas 10

    Problem is: APN aren’t strategic they are lame.

  11. AncientGeek 11

    Graeme: The detail changed, the underlying principle didn’t.

    3rd parties were regulated previously (having to put addresses on material etc). The act did was explicitly specify spending limits, and a registration procedure. This is similar to what was previously in place for all political parties.

    The act clarified explicit procedures for 3rd parties wanting to contribute to political debate during the campaign period, in the same way as political parties are regulated.

    I don’t see a significant departure in principle from the electoral act. It was done to prevent concealed attacks from third parties like the brethren, and to limit total spending. This increases the level of transparency.

  12. Graeme Edgeler 12

    A principle of the Electoral Act was that parties were regulated but that everyone else could spend what they wanted. That was abandoned.

    Spending limits are a massive departure from the previous law. They might well be sensible and/or defensible, but they are a massive change.

    The EFA doesn’t “clarify” explicit procedures around third parties – it creates them from scratch. The idea of limits to political speech might have existed previously, but applying them outside the true political process did not.

    What members of the EB and the Unions did – legally – at the last election, if repeated, could well land them in prison at the next. This is hardly a minor update of detail.

  13. Tane 13

    Graeme – out of interest, how many unions spent more than $120,000 on election advertisements as defined under the EFA?

  14. Satan 14

    Don’t talk to me about the bloody Brethren – that’s another bunch who are in for a surprise come endgame.

  15. MikeE 15

    Mar 10th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Don’t talk to me about the bloody Brethren – that’s another bunch who are in for a surprise come endgame.

    Something about this comment exudes pure awesomeness. I think its the thought of satan eating Christians.. or something along those lines.

    mmm nom nom nom

  16. the sprout 16

    “nom nom nom” is good.
    i’m not sure the EB are really christians, i’m sure they consider themselves a bit more pure than that. which would make them good eating, like a sort of liturgical veal.

  17. higherstandard 17


    Any other groups you would like to gorge upon ?

  18. Graeme Edgeler 18

    Tane – I understood two did, or at least came close.

  19. IrishBill 19

    Graeme, I would suggest that you have been misinformed.

  20. AncientGeek 20


    What members of the EB and the Unions did – legally – at the last election, if repeated, could well land them in prison at the next. This is hardly a minor update of detail.

    That is the whole point. I’m pretty sure that the unions have never hit the EFA spend limits. There has been high spending previously, but related to referendums – for instance with the MMP referendum. As far as I’m aware, if you stay arguing on the issue, then that still applies. The EFA spending restrictions and registration only applies if you enter into the political debate by saying vote for or against a political party.

    The group from the EB spent probably more than the green’s total spend to explicitly attack them and their objectives. Maybe they didn’t violate the electoral law, but they certainly stretched it with their lack of valid residential addresses. More importantly they exposed a bloody great big hole in the assumptions underlying the electoral act – what is a political party.

    They explicitly attacked a party standing openly for election, but tried to do it covertly. They acted as a political party without bothering to register to be one. The 3rd party provisions of the EFA say that if you act as a political party then you have to follow similar rules to a political party. If you want to spend more, then get your 500 (?) signatures and set up as a political party.

    Effectively the rule that was clarified what a political party is, and added a new category of a less formal political party. That isn’t a major change. To act as a political party during campaign period, you must follow the same types of rules as other political parties.

    cap: protocol untrue

  21. AncientGeek 21

    More on topic. Bomber on Tumuke! says that Herald lies about numbers. Rather than being 500 people, ha says

    …the ‘silent’ protest against the EFB, it wasn’t hard that it was ‘silent’ as there were only 150 protestors, I know, I was there and I counted them!

    I’d agree it was something like that – saw it pass myself, and wouldn’t have guessed it to be more than than 200.

    I wonder who the Granny got their report of numbers from? The organizers perhaps? Lincoln Tan making spinning up the numbers?

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