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Take the blinkers off Granny

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, November 15th, 2007 - 32 comments
Categories: brethren, election funding, Media - Tags: , ,

Granny Herald tries to defend itself against National Party bias by saying it ran a headline “I am not a liar” over Brash after he admitted on bFM knowing that the Brethren were going to issue pamphlets attacking labour, three days after saying he knew absolutely nothing about them.

Brash’s exact words were “I knew they were going to issue pamphlets attacking the government, and I said ‘that’s tremendous, I’m delighted by that because the government is lousy and should be changed.'”

Any ordinary person would say that amounted to consent to their distribution by the leader of the National Party.

But Brash’s was not the only National Party denial that was issued that day. Steven Joyce, the National party manager, wrote to the Chief Electoral Office that same day to say “the National Party had not authorised or consented to the publication or distribution of the pamphlets.”

That statement was all about the money. Joyce was replying to a letter from the Chief Electoral Office asking a number of questions, based on the similarity of the blue tick on the pamphlets to that used by National. One asked whether the National Party knew about the pamphlets.

We now know from the Hollow Men that Joyce did know about the Brethren’s activities and Brash and others knew about the pamphlets. Had Joyce told the truth, that the National Party knew about the Brethren campaign and consented to the distribution of the pamphlets, the Chief Electoral Office would undoubtedly have decided that their expense should be attributed to the National Party. An extra million dollars would have put National way over its limit.

National’s parallel campaign with the Brethren corrupted the 2005 election process. Also for a newspaper to argue that a million-dollar print advertising campaign would have absolutely no effect is about as silly as it gets. That is the real insult to voters’ intelligence.

The Herald can be excused for not knowing about this at the time, but not for not understanding now the implications of Brash’s denial on the National Party spending limits. The Electoral Finance Bill is needed so rorts such as this cannot happen again.

32 comments on “Take the blinkers off Granny ”

  1. Take your blinkers off, John A. It’s been perfectly legal for third parties to engage in election campaigns. It’s happened for many years. The Labour Party had plenty of third party support from much, much larger, and much, much more influential organisations than the Exclusive Brethren. Try the EPMU. Try the PPTA. Try the PSA. Try the NZEI. Try the Nurses Organisation.

    If you’re so concerned about electoral financing and expenditure, and so supportive of the EFB, why is it that the EFB doesn’t do anything to clamp down on anonymous donations to political parties? Because Helen Clark’s Labour Party has run out of money, and needs to rely on anonymous donations to run a decent campaign next year. That’s her excuse, not mine.

    If you’re so concerned about electoral financing and expenditure, I note that while you are concerned about activity that was entirely legal, and has been entirely legal–ie, third parties engaging in election campaigns–you don’t appear to be at all concerned about activity that was entirely illegal: the theft of public money to spend a million dollars more on the election campaign than they were legally entitled to do so. Yes, that’s what Labour did at the last election. This wasn’t the private money of a few businessmen: this was TAXPAYER’S MONEY. Money that Labour refused to pay back for over a year. Money which will now be spent legally, only because Labour is changing the law to allow it to steal up to five times as much taxpayers’ money next year and spend it on electioneering.

    Thirdly, while you are concerned about big, dirty money, it is curious that you are only concerned about the influence of private big, dirty money. The National Party’s friends spend a million dollars attacking the Labour Party, and you are concerned for democracy. The Labour Party’s friends apply similar resources attacking the National Party, and you are not concerned. The National party’s friends apparently buy votes, yet the Labour Party’s theft of public money in 2005 had, in Helen Clark’s words, “no effect on the outcome of the election”.

    Finally, while you are concerned about the influence of big, dirty money, and whether a group of National’s friends spend a million dollars expressing their perfectly valid opinion, you have no qualms about the Labour Party spending $70 million of taxpayers’ money promoting its policies. According to you, $1 million of EB’s money buys an election, but $70 million of taxpayers’ money doesn’t.

    What an utterly hollow post from you this morning.

  2. Robinsod 2

    IP – you’ve got no idea and have been shot down on all of these points in earlier posts. Rather than mindlessly repeating disproved National party talking points. Get back to work, Insolent Punter.

  3. all_your_base 3

    IP, woah. Easy tiger.

    More influential supporters, maybe, but none of them ever swamped the election with anything like the EB’s $1.5m or so. It’s as much the amount as the secrecy that’s a problem for poor old democracy.

    I’d suggest it’s a misrepresentation to paint most Labour supporters as “unconcerned” about the overspend. After all, they were the ones that had to dig deep to pay it back. It’s money Labour and all other parties had spent in previous elections without incident. Calling it “theft” is unnecessarily dramatic.

    I wonder if John Key and the Nats would be happy with you continuing to refer to the Exclusive Brethren as their “friends”. Perhaps you know something the rest of us don’t? 😉

  4. What a hollow response from you, Robinsod. Instead of debating, the most you can tell me to do is fuck off.

    It’s a pity for you that New Zealand’s public don’t take well to that kind of arrogance. Good luck in presenting the Standard as the honest voice of the Labour movement. You can’t even honestly engage in debate.

  5. Robinsod 5

    IP – I’ve tried debating with you and you call me a liar whenever I put up facts you don’t like you also misdirect, misrepresent other’s arguments, repeat the same disproved talking points again and again and generally act in a dull and pompous manner.

    I’m not gonna waste my time going through that whole futile process again, so yes I’m telling you to fuck off until you can bring something of value to the debate. Given your performance so far I doubt you can.

  6. AYB:

    Suddenly you’ve increased the EB’s spending from $1 million to $1.5 million. I know inflation’s been pretty high, but that’s just absurd.

    I would absolutely characterise misappropriating $1 million of taxpayers’ money as theft. Absolutely, particularly when the Auditor-General warned Labour not to dip into taxpayers’ money to fund their election campaign. So too did the electorate see that as theft: Labour would never have paid the money back if public opinion saw it otherwise.

    I have no particular insight into the relationship between National and the EBs. It is clear that the EBs favoured National, just as the unions favoured Labour. I agree with you that the secret nature of the EB’s campaigning was very poor. National paid the political cost of the EBs anonymous campaign: the EBs dominated the stories for the last two weeks of the campaign, and turned National’s campaign into a total fiasco. Most National Party people will tell you that the amateur way in which the EBs behaved cost National the election.

    Which really, in one sweep, removes the justification for the EFB. The EBs weren’t a “threat to democracy”. They were a group of seven slightly peculiar people participating in public debate in a rather amateurish way. It didn’t require regulation to dismiss the EB’s message.

  7. With all due respect, Robinsod, your talking points are really pretty hollow. “Fuck off,” “I’m not going to debate with you”, “Go back to your job”.

    Is it true that you are employed by the EPMU, Robinsod? Do they pay for you to write this stuff on behalf of the Labour movement? Is it that kind of constructive debate that you believe enhances the EPMU’s standing?

  8. Spam 8

    Brash’s exact words were “I knew they were going to issue pamphlets attacking the government, and I said ‘that’s tremendous, I’m delighted by that because the government is lousy and should be changed.'”

    Any ordinary person would say that amounted to consent to their distribution by the leader of the National Party.

    So, if a woman says “I’d like to borrow $1 Million from the bank”, and I reply “That’s tremendous, I’m delighted by that”, you would therefore say that I have “consented” on behalf of the bank, and therefore the bank must give her the money.

  9. Robinsod 9

    IP – where I work isn’t your business. I’ve noticed your predilection for bullying vis-a-vis “outing” people. Nice to see that true to form you’re turning nasty when you’re called on your shit.

    And I’ll reiterate my point bro – you don’t “debate” therefore I’m not gonna waste my time trying to debate with you.

  10. Benodic 10

    Hey Insolent Punter, do you actually have any evidence of where Robinsod works or are you just lying again?

  11. Billy 11

    “I could win an argument with you if I wanted to, but I just don’t feel like it now.”

    Weak, Robinsod. Really weak.

  12. Tane 12

    Actually I think it’s fair enough. Insolent Prick isn’t here to contribute, he’s here to disrupt. Engaging with him is pointless.

  13. Crikey, Tane. Is that the new line in the labour movement? Anybody who disagrees with you is there to disrupt?

    Funny that. I seem to remember your boss Andrew Little disagreed with the way the Labour Party was dragging its feet over Taito Phillip Field. His “disruption” had more integrity than the entire Labour Party caucus combined. Full credit to that guy.

    I think it’s very hollow, Tane, that you and Robinsod won’t even try to win the war of ideas. It seems your ideas are so hollow that you’re too cowardly to even bring your ideas into battle.

    Oh, and you do seem to be getting a lot of spam recently: it seems to be going to your “links to this post” thing, rather than as comments in your posts.

  14. Tane 14

    Prick, you have no idea who I am or where I work. And frankly it’s none of your business. Again, you’re just here to disrupt. We tolerate free speech here unlike a lot of other blogs – don’t abuse it.

    I’ve noticed the spam, it’s coming up faster than I can delete it. We’ll have to sort something out.

  15. Tane,

    It is evident that you tolerate both free speech as well as defamation. Have you publicly apologised to WO yet for allowing the Standard to defame him?

    Don’t you think there is a strange gulf between the Standard’s claimed support for free speech, and its unwavering support for the EFB, which directly attacks free speech?

  16. Tane 16

    Prick, The Standard has not defamed Whaleoil. Saying it repeatedly does not make it so. In fact, repeatedly and falsely accusing us of defamation is in itself potentially defamatory. You’re lucky that unlike your mate Whaleoil we don’t go crying to our lawyers every time we come under attack.

    If you’ve got nothing to contribute then I’d suggest you go elsewhere.

  17. Billy 17

    He has something to contribute. If you took your fingers out of your ears and stopped screaming “la la la” you’d be able to hear it.

  18. Tane, if I accused you of being a paedophile, and said that Andrew Little supported paedophilia because he refused to condemn you for your paedophilia, then I would expect defamation action. This is precisely what took place on the standard, with the exception that WO was accused of being a paedophile, and DPF and I were accused of supporting paedophilia.

    You still haven’t issued an apology, Tane. That is very hollow.

  19. Pablo 19

    “He has something to contribute. If you took your fingers out of your ears and stopped screaming “la la la” you’d be able to hear it.”

    That would be the sound of a barking dog. Easier to just skip past his drivel to the stuff worth bothering with.

  20. Disenfranchised 20

    For most of the last 20 years I have been a firm labour supporter. Events in the last few years have swung me away from labour though, mostly due to the dishonest and fraudulent practices of Helen’s government. The EFB is just the latest confirmation to me that I’m making the right decision. Labour is making a mockery of democracy in New Zealand and I’ve had a gutsful, as I’m sure have many ex-labour voters.

  21. I’m hearing that all that time too, Disenfranchised. Labour has a very proud tradition of representing the labour movement. It is shameful that the Standard purports to present the view of the Labour movement in such a hollow and nasty way.

    The Labour Party in New Zealand will face many years of disgrace after this. It took them nine years to become a political force again after the in-fighting of the fourth labour government caused the party to collapse. Will it take much longer than that for the Labour party to rebuild after the next election, disenfranchised?

    As an aside, who are you going to vote for instead?

    Oh, and disenfranchised, don’t be put off by the Standard’s regular commenters telling you you’re a turncoat or a traitor, or accusing you of lying about your Labour Party roots. They are just bitter. Sadly, at the moment, it is a bitter way with Labour.

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    “It is shameful that the Standard purports to present the view of the Labour movement in such a hollow and nasty way.”

    I don’t think The Standard does that mate you might be a bit confused 😉 why would they purport to present labour movement views in that way, you’re making no sense!

    Disenfranchised – I don’t think you’ll be called a turncoat or traitor here, perhaps it has happened in the past but I hope not.

    I have done what you have, I suspect, compared the achievements of the government to its failings, and in sum see a country that is doing very well with good leadership. I guess thats because I see many of the bad things as trivial issues that are part of National’s (and the Right’s) petty politicking.

    I will vote based upon real issues and policies, a thinking about the effect National’s policies would have on NZ – not a pretty thought.

  23. r0b 23

    Hi Disenfranchised.

    The Labour led government doesn’t have a perfect record of course – no government does – but it has a very good one. Unemployment is at record lows, the minimum wage has increased hugely, household incomes have increased, fewer are on benefits, crime rates are down, industrial action is down, the economy is strong and growing, the environment is taken seriously, there are many initiatives to support families, we are making provision for future retirements, the list goes on and on.

    All I can say is please set that practical record against the anti-Labour propaganda when making your decision.

    (Oh – and don’t believe Mr Prick in anything he says about The Standard, he’s just a very noisy troll).

    Cheers
    r0b

  24. r0b:

    Unfortunately for you, the eight hundred people who leave New Zealand every week–the size of Wanganui in a year–disagree with you about how well this Government is doing.

    I love it how you try to take credit for how business is performing, though. It’s a classic sign that you’ve lost the plot. Government doesn’t create jobs, people do. Government doesn’t create business and economic development, people do.

    All the Government can do is tax the bejeezus out of people. And one thing we can agree on, r0b, if you’re being honest for once, is that the Labour Party have ignored all sensible advice and done exactly that.

  25. Camryn 25

    Spam had a good point. Stop the name calling and argue the points.

    My friend says “I’m going to shag my wife”
    I say “That’s tremendous, I’m delighted by that because she is horny and should be shagged”
    Did I give my consent? Was it even mine to give? No.

    The EB said “we’re doing this”
    National said “lovely”
    And that’s supposed to be consent? No.

    Consent is what you give if you have the power to stop something. The EB didn’t need to ask anyone’s permission. It’s “moral support” at best.

    The actual facts are that the EB contacted National to make sure they didn’t violate spending rules, and were told *not* to solicit votes for National in case they did.

    “the Chief Electoral Office would undoubtedly have decided that their expense should be attributed to the National Party”

    Nope. Total bullshit, derived from your misapplication of the word consent. I’m glad the CEO was so vigilant as to follow up on the basis of the blue ticks being similar, but this isn’t evidence of collusion. It’s just as likely to be evidence that National never saw the pamphlets and so didn’t have a chance to advise the EB to take it off, as they did when they advised the EB not to solicit votes for National.

    Side Note: Hollow Men is not reference material. It’s no more authoritative than referencing this blog or Kiwiblog. Printing it on paper doesn’t make it a source of record.

  26. Robinsod 26

    Camryn – have you read the hollow men or seen the sources it’s produced from?

  27. Camryn 27

    Oh. Burrrn. No, I haven’t read it. I’ve even said so on here. I am aware of its sources though. I’m also aware that the absence of legal action can be taken as a strong indication that the sources are good. Yet, the text itself is still an act of authorship with the language that Hager selected to use. It’s not intended to be unbiased, in my opinion anyways, and so isn’t deserved of the reference book-type adulation it gets on here.

  28. Robinsod 28

    Camryn. I’m not trying to burn you I’m simply asking a question. I have read the book and while I find some of Hager’s conjectures a little naive I think he’s produced the most likely interpretation of the source material. I’m sure he’s got some of it wrong but if he had I would’ve expected him to have been challenged with an alternative interpretation. That hasn’t happened and although I know arguing something based on an absence has it’s problems I still find the conclusion Hager got it pretty much right to be compelling.

    And any text is an act of authorship. Some theorists would argue you yourself represent a conglomeration of shifting narratives and thus don’t exist as a discrete entity. God maybe you’re not real, maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m a figment of your imagination – if so what an odd imagination you’ve got…

  29. Leftie 29

    Insolent Prick
    “Unfortunately for you, the eight hundred people who leave New Zealand every week&the size of Wanganui in a year&disagree with you about how well this Government is doing.”

    Wasn’t there an announcement recently that New Zealand’s population has grown? While there is much bleating about who’s leaving, there are people arriving too.

  30. Camryn 30

    Ha ha 🙂 I meant “burrrn” like Kelso says it on “That 70’s Show”. As in “good one” 😛

  31. Robinsod 31

    Sorry bro – I don’t have a TV. It’s probably why I spend so much time here. I need to get a life…

  32. r0b 32

    “Sorry bro – I don’t have a TV.”

    Hey – me neither. Life’s too short.

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