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Right’s attack on free speech fails, again

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, October 10th, 2008 - 56 comments
Categories: activism - Tags:

National activist and pornographer Cameron Slater took a complaint to the Electoral Commission against myself and others who took part in a satirical protest outside the National Party conference. He complained that we had breached s63 of the Electoral Finance Act by making unauthorised use of the National Party logo and s65 by not authorising electoral advertisements.

A little bit of first year law for y’ll. Any offence (with a few specific exceptions) has two elements: mens rea and actus reas, the ‘guilty mind’ and the ‘guilty action’. In the case of breaches of the EFA, the actus reas is failing to comply with the physical requirements of the relevant sections (ie. not using a party’s logo and authorising electoral ads). The mens rea is doing so ‘willfully’. That’s a reasonably high test, higher than ‘recklessly’ or ‘negligently’ , for example. ‘Wilfully’ requires an intent to defeat or circumvent the objectives of the law.

The Electoral Commission found there was no wilful breach of s63 and s65, so no breach of the law. The Commission did not need to rule on whether the actus reas test was met. In obiter*, in says that an oral authorising statement might not be sufficent, that a physical authorising statement may be necessary. I am confident that even if the mens rea and actus reas tests had been held to be met the test in s70 (which relates to whether a breach of the EFA is more than trival and should be passed on to the Police) would not have been satifised.

The Right has, again, used one of their favourite intimiation tactics, the legal complaint, to try shut down free speech and they have failed, again.

*[a statement of law relating to the case that does not form part of the reasoning in the finding and so does not have the full force of precedent]

[read the EC’s decision here and my correspondance with the EC here]

56 comments on “Right’s attack on free speech fails, again ”

  1. burt 1

    All this still proves one thing. You have been a hardened supporter of a law you don’t understand. Shame on you for not listening to the warnings simply because they came from people who’s political perspective you don’t agree with.

    [no, because I made effort to comply there could be no finding that I willful didn’t comply. Whether or not the oral statement could be enough is not decided – I can see their logic in the obiter reference but I think it is too narrow. That’s the thing with all law, and why we have courts deciding matters of law, legislation is open to interpretation and interpretations can reasonably differ. SP]

  2. Pat 2

    “Mr Smith claims to have made a verbal promoter statement. The electoral Commission considers that such statement would only be heard by those members of the public who were present at the time
    the statement was made and, in the circumstances of a performance in an open public place, members of the public are likely to come and go. Furthermore, section 63(2) provides that an election advertisement must contain a promoter statement and it is the view of the Commission that a tangible item can not contain a verbal statement. As a result, the Commission is not satisfied that the
    items contained a promoter statement that satisfies the requirements of section 63(2)(a) and is therefore of the view that the items were published in circumstances that contravene section 63(2).”

    Verbal promoter statement – how very Winston-esq of you! Hilarious.

  3. Daveski 3

    SP As you note, the key issue is the wilful breach.

    You continue to spin this as an attempt of the right to shut down “free speech”.

    Yet consistently the issue has all along been the fact that it is the perverse law itself that risks freedom of speech and you have been a fervent supporter of the law.

    It is ridiculous in the extreme that what you did could be considered illegal. Yet that’s the law you support. The right – including people like DPF – have pointed this out consistently and yet you try to spin this as the right trying to shut down free speech. A job awaits you at CT 🙂

    On a related point, you inferred last night I was somehow in the know:
    1. Check post timings – I first read about this on Kiwiblog
    2. The full ruling was also available on Kiwiblog
    3. The alternative was watching NZ lose to Bangladesh

    It’s obvious from my generic ramblings in the past I don’t have any inside oil. I’ve had the decency to apologise to you when I’ve been wrong – I’m not expecting an apology but an acknowledgement that being browsing the internet and being fully informed is not suspicious activity would be welcomed.

    Alternatively, you can acknowledge the stupidity of the EFA (which I noted last night as well) but you’ve adoped that fixed position again 🙂

    Cheers

    D

  4. Tim Ellis 4

    SP, this is interesting spin.

    The Electoral Commission found that you had promoted an election advertisement, and had failed to make the appropriate authorisation statement. They found you had breached the law. They chose to use their discretion not to refer the matter to the Police, on the grounds that they did not believe you were wilfully breaking the law. That does not mean you did not break the law.

    This incident shows yet again that the only people to have broken the EFA have been the people who advocated for it.

    How is insisting that people comply with the law, “shutting down free speech”?

  5. Tim. The EC found I had not breached the law.

    They found there was no breach of any section of the Act because the willful test was not met (they make no finding on the actus reas). They did not choose not to refer the matter to the Police because there was no breach to refer. If they had found I had breached the act but found (s70) that it was too trivial to refer to the Police, then I would have been in breach of the law.

    I’m sorry if you can’t understand this distinction, ask someone who has some legal training.

    National and the pornographer are trying to intimidate people into silence with baseless EC complaints.

  6. Pat 6

    Is the “Verbal Promoter Statement” available for download from the Campaign Hub?

  7. Nick 7

    Tim’s right.

    I would be surprised if the EC was the arbiter of whether you had the requisite mens rea. That is usually for a Court to decide, not a body such as the EC.

    Sorry Steve, but your analysis is wrong.

  8. Tony Norriss 8

    Steve,

    It seems at the very least, you failed to meet the requirements of the law. So don’t get to proud. Its still not a good look, which every way you want to take it.

  9. Scribe 9

    As a result, the Commission is not satisfied that the items contained a promoter statement that satisfies the requirements of section 63(2)(a) and is therefore of the view that the items were published in circumstances that contravene section 63(2).

    Sounds fishy, SP.

    Or maybe I need to find someone with more legal knowledge, too.

  10. Tim Ellis 10

    Steve, the Commission found that you contravened Section 63(2).

  11. Nick 11

    I’ve re-read the EC decision.

    You published an election advertisement without a promoter statement.

    But it seems your breach was not an illegal practice as defined as it was an accident.

    On reflection I have to admit this is a little odd. Your verbal statements were not sufficient (therefore a breach) yet accidental breaches are not illegal.

    I might have to agree with both you and Tim now!

  12. Pat 12

    SP says “Whether or not the oral statement could be enough is not decided…”

    The Electoral Commissions decision says “…it is the view of the Commission that a tangible item can not contain a verbal statement.”

    Seems pretty clear to me.

  13. Nick 13

    Okay, okay on further reflection this is a bit of a mess which is no surprise as it is the EFA we are talking about.

    It is clear that the offences are strict liability offences: no intent is necessary. So your actions are sufficient unless you can come up with a credible narrative to exculpate yourself from liability.

    Your credible narrative is that you had no intent. This is allowed for it seems under s 65(4) but usually strict liability offences do not require intent.

    All very odd. I think the best way to put it is that you certainly broke the law Steve but you had a defence of no intent, which is not a defence usually, but a required element of the offence.

    Another silly part of the unworkable EFA.

    [Nick. no, that’s not how the law works. I did not use a defence and I didn’t break the law. I’m sorry if you don’t know the distinction between using a defence and the mens rea not being met. SP]

  14. Tony Norriss 14

    Come on, Steve.

    Admit it. You would have tried to portray John Key as a dirty rotten scumbag if he had done as much as you have been found innocent.

    If you are going to judge others by those standards, you should accept the same judgement on yourself.

    Admit it. You, at the very least, complied with the law.

    As the saying goes; “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. In my book, you are as guilty as someone who claims that they weren’t aware that the law required them to wear a seatbelt.

    [then you disagree with the EC, which found me innocent. SP]

    It was up to you to find out what the law required, Steve.

  15. Whaleoil 15

    I laid the complaint to clarify whether your tenuous use of a verbal satement was ok or not. The case has clarified that you may not use a verbal statement as authorisation.

    I wasn’t trying to shut down Freedom of Speech, if I had succeeded in gaining a prosecution it wouldn’t have been me silencing Freedom of Speech it would have Labour, The Greens and NZ First for enacting the law.

    Nevertheless, you broke the law, that you did it by accident doesn’t negate the fact that you broke the law.

    [you can’t break a law by accident if breaking the law requires willfulness you idiot. SP]

  16. Daveski 16

    Where’s all the punters coming to defend the common sense law?

    Sp and others would actually have more credibility if they simply acknowledged how unworkable and ridiculous the law is – as evidenced by this case – rather than try to blame the right for a law the right opposed.

    Magic 🙂

    [no, we should have put on authorisation statements. It would have been easy, we made a mistake in not doing so but we didn’t break the law because we wanted to and tried to comply. SP]

  17. Tim Ellis 17

    By the way Steve, as somebody who is voting on the Right this electorate, I don’t think you should be prevented from protesting. I think you should be able to wave around whatever sign you like, and think it’s stupid that you should have to include a promoter’s statement on your advertising banner, as the law requires.

    It’s a shame that you couldn’t comply with the law. It just shows yet again why so many parts of the Electoral Finance Act are deeply flawed, and why the process of rushing law through the House, leaving the people who have to comply with the law with no idea of its practical effect, is.

    The complaint from Slater doesn’t appear to have been an attempt to shut you down. It appears to have been an attempt to embarrass you for your support of the EFA, when you complied with it. I think on that count the complaint was successful. The Commission found you complied with the law.

    [authorisation statements have been required on electoral ads at least since the 1994 Electoral Act. The EFA extends the definition of electoral ad. SP]

  18. Pat. It’s obiter. I gave you the definition and a link to another definition. The Commission found that my actions showed there could have been no willful action to breach the law, so the question of whether or not the action would have been a breach if done willfully doesn’t arise within the substance of the decision and comments on it are obiter – that doesn’t mean that it’s not likely that the Commission would conclude that oral authorisation is insufficient in a judgment that was on point but there would need to be a case on point to be sure and I still tend to think their reading is too narrow, a case on point would see them flesh out the issue in more detail.

    Tim, scribe. yup, s63(2), on use of logos, was contravened. that’s just actus reas and not a breach of the law without willfulness – the people who made the logos did not know that was a breach and my opinion was that we were using a clear imitation of the logo, not the actual logo. I’m happy to concede to the Commission’s finding on that ground.

  19. burt 19

    [no, because I made effort to comply there could be no finding that I willful didn’t comply. Whether or not the oral statement could be enough is not decided – I can see their logic in the obiter reference but I think it is too narrow. That’s the thing with all law, and why we have courts deciding matters of law, legislation is open to interpretation and interpretations can reasonably differ. SP]

    Oh I get it, you thought you understood it but you didn’t and therefore you didn’t wilfully breach it.

    Sorry SP. Ignorance is no excuse

    [yes it is when the test is willfully. burt you need to get a legal education before you try to argue the law with me. shit dropped this on top of text rather than below it. SP]

  20. burt 20

    Steve – you seem to have deleted major bits of my last post. Here it is again in the interests of free speech.

    [no, because I made effort to comply there could be no finding that I willful didn’t comply. Whether or not the oral statement could be enough is not decided – I can see their logic in the obiter reference but I think it is too narrow. That’s the thing with all law, and why we have courts deciding matters of law, legislation is open to interpretation and interpretations can reasonably differ. SP]

    Oh I get it, you thought you understood it but you didn’t and therefore you didn’t wilfully breach it.

    Sorry SP. Ignorance is no excuse You effectively got off with a warning face up to the reality that you didn’t understand the law you support and stop spinning BS about it. I wonder how many people who voted to enact the law also didn’t really have a clue about what it was imposing on the public. I support what you did, good on you. The law is an ass passed by people who are self serving and supported by myopic apologists who believe that the means justifies the end in the best interests of the Labour party.

    ‘ That’s the thing with all law, and why we have courts deciding matters of law,’ – It’s not the thing with all law Steve, sometimes retrospective validations are used when having courts decide is not politically expedient.

    What this proves Steve is that the EFA is a crock a crock that you have been a hardened supporter of simply because you didn’t want to believe that it was as odorous as it really is, as odorous as you have been repeatedly warned about.

  21. Pat 21

    You see what’s happening SP? No right-wing blogger wants to shut down your freedom of speech.

    Stand on s street corner, march with a sign, put up your posters, send out your leaflets. If that’s what you want to do, then go for it. No-one here thinks you shouldn’t have the freedom to do this.

    The law is an ass. Just admit it.

  22. Daveski 22

    This is a momentous time … the Standard has become home to hordes of right wingers who – wait for it – support SP’s right to protest even if we disagree with our opinions. Not one person has tried to say they don’t want SP to protest when and where he likes.

    Yet SP spins this as the right trying to attack his freedom!!! SP Have the decency to at least admit that no one here is trying to shut down your freedom of speech.

    I’m amazed. No sign of the defenders?? Where are they all?? SP’s got his hands full.

    [lprent: Most of us don’t think this is an issue. It is just something the more obsessional skulkers on the right get wound up about. Also the EFA is a very minor election issue. However it is quite useful because it keeps a few activists from the right doing some pretty unproductive activities.]

  23. Tony Norriss 23

    Come on, Steve, you are starting to sound like Winston Peters.

    Just admit you’re wr..wr..wr..wr..wr..

    Its much easier that way, as Winston should have known.

  24. burt 24

    Steve P.

    ‘burt you need to get a legal education before you try to argue the law with me’

    Sorry Steve, I just walked down to the Court of Appeal and clearly written on the glass is: Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    You read the law, you misunderstood it you acted in accordance with your misunderstanding and yet you say you did not wilfully breach the law… Well no you didn’t wilfully breach it (well more accurately it cannot be proven that you wilfully breached it) you just couldn’t understand the law you have supported.

    Now you tell me I need to get a legal education Oh dear.

    [no wonder Trotter was so unimpressed by you. The test is wilfullness, it was not met. No breach of the law. I don’t care what old cliches you bring out. Indeed, you don’t even understand what the cliche means – it means not knowing there is a law is not a defence if one breaks the law. I did know there was a law and I didn’t break it because the mens rea element was not satisfied. Sp]

  25. Andrew Bannister 25

    “This is a momentous time the Standard has become home to hordes of right wingers”

    Yes, I have noticed that too. It’s looking more and more like Kiwiblog in here. Funny, I thought those on the right were hard working taxpayers and lefties were unemployed trolls. Yet the right seem to have an awful lot of time available to comment on blogs.

    I think those on the left give up trying to discuss issues with many of those on the right, because the level of analysis by those on the right on most issues is so shallow, it’s pointless having a discussion. The smacking ñ€˜debate’ was a classic example of that. Tax-cuts, tax-cuts and more tax-cuts is another.

    Having said that, I do think the EFA is a silly law that should never have been implemented, certainly not in its current form. However, I don’t think it is the draconian law forced through by a dictatorship as an attack on free-speech either. Rules around election advertising need to be sorted out. An attempt was made, but that attempt failed spectacularly. I have absolutely no doubt that it will be overhauled. That’s the great thing about living is a very free society that is largely free from corruption.

  26. lprent 26

    Andrew: This thread is more of an exception than a rule. It is about what is pretty much a dead topic amongst the voters.

    Personally most of my spare time these days is taken up with campaigning, and I suspect that most of the left commentators are much the same. Of course our friends on the right usually seem to expect that simply giving money is all that is required.

    Now that playing with money is less effective as a political strategy, they tend to come here to whinge about it. It appears to be easier than actually getting down and helping campaign. The only other thing that they seem to do is to skulk around looking for technical EFA violations. Must do something for their puerile ego’s.

    Hopefully it will continue.

  27. burt 27

    The test is wilfullness, it was not met. No breach of the law.

    I disagree. The test for legal consequences in this case became wilfulness, and wilfulness was not proven/provable. The law was breached and the test of that is simple.

    If you did exactly the same thing again would you be in breach of the law YES.

    If I did exactly the same thing you did would I be in breach of the law YES.

    Was the law breached YES (but apparently not wilfully apparently through naivety or stupidity)

    You got off because you claimed you didn’t understand it not because you did nothing wrong.

    [lprent: Steve didn’t do anything that was wrong.

    Now that the boundaries of the law as interpreted by the EC on this area have been established, you would be correct.

    However at the time SP and friends thought that what they did was sufficient under the legislation. The EC disagreed. That doesn’t mean that the act was wrong or that SP was wrong, it just means that the interpretation limit of one bit of a new act hadn’t been clarified yet.

    Legislation simply provides the grist for lawyers. Effectively it isn’t established until there have been a few rulings from the courts to clarify how it will be interpreted when the judges look at it.

    Why don’t you go away and learn something about the legal process?]

  28. burt 28

    Steve P.

    Lets examine this “unimpressive’ thing. Can you please answer this simple question YES or NO.

    If you did exactly the same thing again would you be in breach of the law?

    [lprent: Answer this for me – what do I do to people who demand things from my posters? You’ve framed your question in a way that will trigger that. But should I examine this, because you are not demanding in the same way as is shown in the Policy or the About. Would you like me to make a ruling on this – answer YES or NO.

    In the meantime the ‘law’ here (ie me) is in an undecided state.]

  29. burt. I made an honest attempt in the circumstances to comply with the EFA and I support the EFA. If I were to repeat the behaviour given the obiter comments on the EC judgment, I think it would be impossible to conclude I didn’t willfully do actions that might contravene the EFA. The question would then go to the actus rea tests – the comments from the EC indicate they would probably be met.

    So, yeah, it probably would be a breach of the law in that case but only because I would have purposely chosen to disregard the special information I now have – it is that purposeful action to frustrate the purposes of the law that creates wilfullness.

    I reckon it would still fail to meet the s70 test though because it’s so trivial and so I doubt the EC would refer to the Police.

  30. burt 30

    Steve P.

    So, yeah, it probably would be a breach of the law in that case but only because I would have purposely chosen to disregard the special information I know have

    That special information is understanding of the law as written. You got it wrong the first time no more no less. What is so difficult about admitting this?

    Also Steve, can you please call off lprent in this instance, I’m sure his heart is in the right place but I don’t think he needs to jump in and imply that I’ll be banned for asking you questions that have enabled us to get to the bottom of this matter.

    [burt. I seem to remember about half a year ago commenting that of our regular commentators you are the dumbest. Our readership has tripled in that time but you’ve managed to maintain your position, well done. You’re the only one of the regulars who still hasn’t got up to speed on the legal substance. SP]

  31. Pat 31

    “I reckon it would still fail to meet the s70 test though because it’s so trivial and so I doubt the EC would refer to the Police.”

    I doubt it, too. But the fact that they COULD refer it to the Police just underlines how scary the law could be. A way to lock up the desenting voices, like yours.

    Still support the EFA?

    [yes. SP]

  32. Daveski 32

    LP

    There is a serious issue directly related to SP’s comments which you too have overlooked.

    SP has specifically pitched this as an attack on free speech. His words, not mine.

    Yet none of the comments from the right support this view. Indeed, the comments consistently support the view that those here want to see the EFA thrown out because of the “chilling” impact on free speech.

    I for one get a little sick of the posturing here about the left having the high moral ground on every issue. Yet here you have the right defending SP’s free speech and he spins the exact opposite.

    If SP was worried about free speech, he would acknowledge that the way the EFA has been written is the issue, not those who are pointing out the stupidity of the law.

    The chickens are well and truly roosting.

    Captcha – speak double 🙂

  33. noxxano 33

    I feel so sorry for that sensitive soul, Mr. Pierson. Whale Oil has defeated him fair and square and heÂŽs crying wolf and unable to accept it.

    Yes, the same man who supported the EFA hasn’t breached it. Ironic and delicious.

  34. deemac 34

    congrats – as you say, all the guff about free speech by the right vanishes like magic if they think they can persecute someone they want to silence. Shows what you are saying gets under their skin! Scum like Slater are a blot on the landscape but working for the rich minority pays better than working for the person in the street so I’m sure he won’t stop.

  35. deemac 35

    PS against my better judgement I have read Daveski’s post several times – it still makes no sense…

  36. randal 36

    deemac…that is true od the hordes of right whingers who have found that freedom is too much for them and so therefore because they cannot defend their own swingeing politics use this space to spam useless boring garbage to bore people to death with!

  37. burt 37

    randal

    Sorry dude but there is not supposed to be “left” vs “right” political considerations in how we interpret the law. Yes it very very sad that Steve P. gets on the wrong side of the EFA because he choose to speak his mind about National.

    But lets be honest here – it’s the law (specifically the odorous EFA) that is being attacked here and by association the people who supported it without understanding the chilling effect it has on free speech. They thought it was great when it was going to silence the EB hey it was only the likes of the EB that it effected, not Steve P. and his Labour mates.

    It’s ridiculous that Steve P. cannot say what he thinks of National without risking a court case. I didn’t support the EFA and I don’t think anyone who looked at it without partisan glasses did either. Did you? Do you still ?

  38. randal 38

    no burt…SP told you what happened and you took it upon yourself to divert the argument into an attack on the EFA. why dont you ask your pal dr dewlap from kiwiblag or whalemeat to open their columns to have a debate on the EFA with the same freedom that is offered here. You know that they would choke on their debentures before they would ever let that happen. BUT while we are here it is necessary to have the EFA because it offers some protection from the noxious attempts to buy elections without producing any policy.

  39. Phil 39

    So, in summary…

    Steve Pierson; Champion of the EFA, Defender of its virtuous intent, Quoter of its passages ad naueseum, somehow forgot and/or misunderstood components of said law.

    After everything you’ve said in debates here on the EFA… how?!

  40. randal 40

    Phil=concrete. i.e. thick and dense. have you read this whole thread phil and that is your conclusion or are you just erecting more flim flam so serious readers have to get past your blag first.. anybody reading this please ignore the previous post by phil and go back to my last post if you want a decent understanding.

  41. burt 41

    Steve P.

    [burt. I seem to remember about half a year ago commenting that of our regular commentators you are the dumbest. Our readership has tripled in that time but you’ve managed to maintain your position, well done. You’re the only one of the regulars who still hasn’t got up to speed on the legal substance. SP]

    I was up to speed with this legal requirement some time ago. I didn’t need the Electoral Commission to inform me that I had misunderstood it. Keep up Steve – it about you being wrong and being unable to admit it.

  42. djp 42

    Sounds like you were lucky you werent refered to the police SP.

    It would be a cunning loophole however, speak ones name and address just once for a whole protest.

    I wonder what would happen if someone did a purely audible election statement (eg from a megaphone).. would they have to say their promoters details before every chant?

  43. randal 43

    djp…you should be referred to the police as a bore and a nuisance.
    and as for whalemeat (I missed his first post) he needs a brain implant…make that a double, for wasting peoples time and referring to the police on the same charge as you djp. boring people to death.

  44. burt 44

    Steve P.

    You said:

    I don’t care what old cliches you bring out. Indeed, you don’t even understand what the cliche means – it means not knowing there is a law is not a defence if one breaks the law. I did know there was a law and I didn’t break it because the mens rea element was not satisfied. Sp

    So I asked a lawyer friend of mine for an opinion on that. She said: ?Interesting question, it actually applies to both if you don’t know about it and if you don’t correctly understand it….it may provide a mitigating factor in the final outcome though.?

    So it did provide a mitigating factor, nobody has argued that the Electoral Commission has acted inappropriately in not referring you to the Police as they have taken your word that as a ?reasonable person? you failed to comply rather than wilfully choose not to comply.

    So sorry Steve, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Ignorance is not just not knowing about ? it is also not understanding.

    You really should stop calling me dumb when you are showing yourself to have a less complete understanding of this stuff than I have.

  45. djp 45

    randal you seem pretty angry for such a bored person. if you were actually bored you probably wouldnt reply… no need to get nasty

  46. deemac 46

    they aren’t bored; there are only two possible explanations for the incessant right wing trolling: either they are sad people with no life and nothing better to do, or they are being paid.

  47. djp 47

    or it could be the fact that everyone loves to say “I told you so”.

    also who could resist Steve trying spin that the vrwc (vast right wing conspiracy) is somehow “attacking democracy” using a law that Labour and co passed.

  48. Daveski 48

    Deemac – if my posts contributed as little constructively as yours, the BOFH would be whupping my ass!

    Far from trolling, there has been a consistent line of comment that the right wants to get rid of the EFA because of its impact on freedom of speech.

    Your last comment in particular is no better than insinuating someone is working for Helen or works on the 9th floor. Consider yourself warned and go read the About pages.

    Seriously, try arguing the points that have been consistently made by many:
    – the law is an ass
    – the law is limiting freedom of speech
    – SP and others simply can’t or won’t face up to these issues because they can’t admit they’ve got it so wrong

    As for incessant – the questions keep on getting asked because you and your colleagues aren’t answering them. Not that you are being slippery of course!

  49. Dean 49

    “[burt. I seem to remember about half a year ago commenting that of our regular commentators you are the dumbest. Our readership has tripled in that time but you’ve managed to maintain your position, well done. You’re the only one of the regulars who still hasn’t got up to speed on the legal substance. SP]”

    SP, I see you’re still not above throwing your toys out of the cot.

    How about your grow up and realise that not everyone who doesn’t agree with you is “dumb”.

    I’d ask LP to give you some lessons but unfortunately his activism is showing.

    Phil:

    “Steve Pierson; Champion of the EFA, Defender of its virtuous intent, Quoter of its passages ad naueseum, somehow forgot and/or misunderstood components of said law.

    After everything you’ve said in debates here on the EFA how?!”

    Because he’s willfully ignorant about it of course. Because it suits him to be so.

    [lprent: I am a activist – always have been to one degree or another. Mind you fitting it in amongst all of my other activities is always a bit of a pain. ]

  50. “Winning is everything, despite our highly principled statements…”

  51. Pascal's bookie 51

    God’s little baby boy wept. I know right wingers fancy themselves as being the natural holders of power an’ shit, and that protest doesn’t come naturally to them, but I didn’t think it overheated their poor wee brains this much.

    If you want to protest the injustice of a law, willfully break it yourself , and make a big ‘ol drama about what happens next.

    That way you can say “All we was doing was this, and look at what happened. So unfair!”

    The absolutely wrong way to protest the injustice of a law is to use it against your political opponents.

    Do it this way you have to give the rather confused message, “All our opponent was doing was this, and we chose to do that to him, hah!”

    Of course the first option, while effective, requires certain personal qualities waily boy and the whambulance crew seem to be a little short of.

  52. Dean 52

    PB:

    “God’s little baby boy wept. I know right wingers fancy themselves as being the natural holders of power an’ shit, and that protest doesn’t come naturally to them, but I didn’t think it overheated their poor wee brains this much.”

    I hate to shatter the fairy tale world you live in but unfortunately for you not everyone who oppses the EFB is a right winger.

    Once you’ve gotten to grips with that then feel free to say something sensible.

  53. Pascal's bookie 53

    ” ..unfortunately for you not everyone who oppses the EFB is a right winger.”

    Thankfully I never said anything like that, so you know, phew.

    Looks like I touched a nerve though. Sorry Dean, if you felt I was demeaning the honest principled intentions of whoever. I only meant to say that they needed to rethink strategy. The one they’ve got is stupid. You can’t make a martyr for your cause out of your opponent. You have to make your opponent martyr you.

  54. Pat 54

    So Cabinet Minister Shane Jones has been referred to the Police for saying “Vote Labour – see you in November” on radio.

    Do we live in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia?

    GET RID OF THE EFA!

    [lprent: Nope – I’m coming to like it. Hell I’m even starting to get used to the hordes of skulkers.]

  55. burt 55

    Pat

    Don’t be like that. It’s an extremely serious thing when an MP says “Vote for [political_party_name_here]”. It’s just not on, and the Police need to be involved.

    It is obvious this was the intent of the law because if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t just be the same old ‘anti EFA’ crowd barking about it. Clearly lprent and Steve P. knew this would happen and they wanted it to be that way or they would not have supported Labour passing the EFA. Come on, just because Shane Jones voted for the EFA why would you expect him to understand it’s implications.

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