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The Nats’ campaign vid that you and I paid for

Written By: - Date published: 2:14 pm, May 13th, 2009 - 54 comments
Categories: corruption, national - Tags: , ,

I figure the very least the Nats could do after spending our money on their asian-voter campaign video is to share it with us.

Strangely, I couldn’t find it on the National Party website as referenced by last night’s Campbell Live piece.

Fortunately the YouTube user “NationalAsianTeam” still has their copy up – it’s embedded below for your viewing pleasure.

UPDATE: There’s a bit of discussion going on in the comments about attribution and its implications. Looks like it was authorised. Screenshots below.

authorisation


54 comments on “The Nats’ campaign vid that you and I paid for ”

  1. burt 1

    How did the price compare to three elections worth of pledge cards.

    Hell we pay for a lot of stuff that we shouldn’t don’t we!

    Move on or prosecute… precedent…. I think we move on – damm it.

    • george.com 1.1

      You don’t see the biggest irony here Burt? I could have sworn that National were going to bring a new approach in to parliament. No more scandals, everything played by the book. Out with the ‘arrogant, out of touch government’ and in with the honest guys. Hmmm, before the election John Key couldn’t remember how many Kiwirail shares he had, Richard Worth tied himself in knots over a trip to India, and now this. Seems a little of the adage, ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

  2. all_your_base 2

    You can run all the interference you like burt – doesn’t change the fact that John Key has some questions to answer.

    • r0b 2.1

      Burt’s argument is that whatever shenanigans National is caught out in he thinks Labour did it too, so National can’t be held to account for anything. It’s actually a very sophisticated argument – for a two year old eh Burt?

      • burt 2.1.1

        Wrong. Of course they should be held to account – can you not read?

        • r0b 2.1.1.1

          Yes Burt, I can read: I think we move on – damm it.

          • burt 2.1.1.1.1

            rOb

            I also said this;

            However I agree with you the bastards should be held to account for this but precedent tells us they won’t be.

            I quite like the standard now, everybody suddenly seems to agree with me that principles and integrity are very important. Wow I was all alone last year but I seem to have talked all you good folk around to my point of view.

            Was that a little confusing for you?

          • r0b 2.1.1.1.2

            And once upon a time you also said this:

            Oliver, simply because National did something similar (possibly worse, possibly not) it’s no excuse for what Labour have done. Labour need to be judged on what they did – National on what they did – not compared to each other so we can say “Other did it too – move on’.

            Which was exactly what you just did above, and continue to do now with your appeal to “precedent”. The only thing consistent about your position burt is your inconsistency.

            If you genuinely believe that there needs to be a formal investigation of this rort, why not just say so clearly and without prevarication?

          • burt 2.1.1.1.3

            rOb

            You can try and make it sound like that. I did not mean that. Let me explain for you because I know you were a big “Move on” person when Labour were in govt.

            a) I’m not like you rOb. I don’t defend corruption because “my party” did it.
            b) damm it is telling you that I’m not happy with that outcome.

            Is that any clearer. The precedent pisses me off and I hope National don’t do the rOb thing and cry “others did it too”.

          • r0b 2.1.1.1.4

            a) I’m not like you rOb. I don’t defend corruption because “my party’ did it.

            My party did some silly things in government burt, but they weren’t guilty of “corruption”. I hope that you will be able to say the same after how ever many years the NACT government lasts. At the moment I don’t fancy your chances.

            Is that any clearer. The precedent pisses me off and I hope National don’t do the rOb thing and cry “others did it too’.

            Once more you seem a bit confused burt. “Others did it too’ is your line.

          • burt 2.1.1.1.5

            Yes of course rOb, your line was “Labour were not the only ones doing it”. How silly of me. I will be careful not to confuse your childish defense with my mocking of that defense in the future.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    AYB, he only has questions to answer if the youtube clip cost more than $10k to produce.

    I don’t see how it did. There were many anti-National youtube clips produced during the last election campaign. I doubt any of them cost ten grand either.

    • Not quite Tim. Either Lee or Wong or the Party should have put it in their list of expenses. If it cost more than $10k and was donated then the name of the Donor did not have to be released. But it still had to be recorded in someone’s return.

      • Tim Ellis 3.1.1

        Lee didn’t have a list of expenses micky, since she wasn’t an electorate candidate. It didn’t need to go in Wong’s expenses, since it was a youtube clip for the party.

        I don’t know what the costs of materials for producing a three minute youtube clip might be, but I suspect it is very low. If the costs were prohibitive then you wouldn’t have thousands of people putting up high quality youtube clips now, as they do.

        I suppose there might have been a few paper clips that weren’t individually expensed on party returns as well. Do you think a royal commission into this might be appropriate?

  4. burt 4

    AYB

    It’s not interference. I think if they have broken the law they should stand in court. I said the same for Labour and I say the same for National.

    But precedent tells us that is likely to be shut down pretty quickly. What is more disturbing is that unprincipled hacks will defend this situation. Shame on them.

  5. serpico 5

    Break the law go see a judge.

  6. toad 6

    Hmmm, don’t see an EFA authorisation anywhere in the video either – unless I’ve missed something.

    • burt 6.1

      toad

      I think some MP’s (particularly MP’s who voted for the EFA) thought that the laws associated with authorisations were only for other people and didn’t apply to them.

      Trevor Mallard called me an idiot when I told him that his red labour van with “vote Labour’ all over it required an authorisation and he voted for the EFA so should have understood it 100%. Self serving MP’s will hide behind “the law is confusing’ and “others did it too’ and people who are partisan and have no principles will defend them if it is expedient.

      However I agree with you the bastards should be held to account for this but precedent tells us they won’t be.

      I quite like the standard now, everybody suddenly seems to agree with me that principles and integrity are very important. Wow I was all alone last year but I seem to have talked all you good folk around to my point of view.

      • Eddie 6.1.1

        yeah but to be fair that was a pretty accurate description of you, burt.

        • burt 6.1.1.1

          Fair enough, being smarter than Mallard and understanding more about the laws he supported is nothing to brag about. I’ll take that on the chin 😉

      • Maynard J 6.1.2

        If anyone wants to know what Burt will say for the next two and a half years here it is:

        Any bad thing National does will be directly equated to a Labour “scandal” and, in Burt’s mind, be exactly the same as that Labour scandal. Therefore, if you did not criticise Labour then but are criticising National now, you are a hypocrite, but are now ‘coming around’ to Burt’s way of thinking.

        Direct equivalence will be applied as follows:

        ~ Anything to do with elections, electoral finance, and money in general: Pledge Card.

        ~ Anything to do with passing an Act or any other parliamentary business: EFA/S59 (decided by coin toss)

        ~ Anything to do with anything else on Planet earth, and the Rest of the Known Universe: Picked from a “gate” affair – pledge, speed, corn, Doone. (dual sequential numerical values applied in order above, with answering value ascertained from single roll of an octahedron (8 sided dice))

        Not only will the National act be considered the same in Burt’s mind, it will be the same.

        I hope that helps you all when dealing with our special pupil.

        In this case study, Burt thinks that Lee’s actions are the same as the Pledge Card. One as yet untested hypothesis is that Burt now thinks Lee is Clark, and that the video is a pledge card, but this is difficult to prove.

        • burt 6.1.2.1

          Maynard J

          My being consistent on matters of principle must piss you off big time. I can understand that but your embarrassment over having one standard when Labour are in govt and another for National in govt is not something that concerns me. Please don’t take it personally. Over time I might link to things you said in the past but to me you are just “Maynard J’ and there is nothing personal in it.

          • Maynard J 6.1.2.1.1

            Curses! My observations have upset the experiment. I should have known.

            Is it too much to hope that you will see differences in various actions and not pretend they are exactly the same, not some blanket principle to be applied when you see fit, and demand others also apply?

            I think so, but we will see. Why don’t you start by arguing against Tim and against National here, as rob suggests?

  7. Chris G 7

    Good. Lord.

    Reminds me of the now deceased ‘Salmon Shirt’ video.

  8. all_your_base 8

    @Chris G – the difference is that I’ve managed to grab a copy of this one 😉

    @toad – someone asked about the authorisation at the time in the YouTube comments (bit cryptic though): http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=ULbLhn7Y9MI

    • Chris G 8.1

      I am so pissed off I didnt get a copy of the salmon shirt video… Just finished getting my copy of this video, mind!

      Fantastic.

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    I don’t see how you can claim that you and I paid for it AYB. Do you go past every public servant’s house claiming that you paid for that, too? Do employees who blog in their private time get paid by the customers of their companies to blog?

    If Melissa Lee did this youtube clip, it would have been done in her own time with her own facilities. You don’t have evidence to the contrary, do you?

    • exbrethren 9.1

      Tim I believe that this was referenced on the Campbell clip last night as a piece that was done using ADU staff & facilities which are financed in part by NZ ON Air.

      Why wouldn’t she front to answer questions about it?

      You run away from interviews and it all starts to smell a bit.

      • Tim Ellis 9.1.1

        exbrethren, as the main shareholder of ADU, Melissa Lee owns the facilities of the company. She can use them as she sees fit. They aren’t funded by the taxpayer any more than a house owned by a public servant is funded by the taxpayer.

        I don’t know why Lee didn’t front on Campbell Live. I suspect it was because the reporter ambushed her for an interview the week before, and she wasn’t going to dignify the beaten-up story with a response. The same way that Helen Clark never dignified Ian Wishart’s beaten-up stories with responses. Or the same way Helen Clark didn’t cooperate with John Campbell for a long time after he ambushed her with the corngate interview.

        • exbrethren 9.1.1.1

          There was an implication by an presenter of ADU and others that NZ On Air funding was misappropriated and used in election ads. There is no right for a political party or its candidates to use broadcasting money in this way.

          If Lee can prove that the NZ On Air funding wasn’t used for these purposes she should share it. It should be a relatively simple matter for her to do so.

          There are also direct accusations that Lee influenced election stories, as owner, when she had stepped aside from a production role.

          There is also the precedent of other MPs reliquishing their media holdings when taking a seat in the house.

          I would view these as serious issues that need addressing. To dismiss them as a beat-up sets a very low bar for elected representatives to measure up to.

        • r0b 9.1.1.2

          Melissa Lee owns the facilities of the company. She can use them as she sees fit. They aren’t funded by the taxpayer any more than a house owned by a public servant is funded by the taxpayer.

          That’s not what the TV3 piece referenced in the original post says Tim:

          Asia Downunder is funded by New Zealand On Air – taxpayer money. A Campbell Live investigation has discovered some of that money was spent on an election special prominently featuring fellow National Party MP Pansy Wong.

          Do you know more about this than the TV3 reporters who looked into the evidence? If so, do please tell us how?

          • Tim Ellis 9.1.1.2.1

            r0b I do know that Asia Downunder is produced by a private company, which receives funding from New Zealand On Air to produce programmes. Asia Downunder programmes were produced and delivered to TVNZ. They were obviously of pretty good quality, because they continued to be funded for 13 years.

            South Pacific Pictures also receives a lot of New Zealand On Air funding for programmes. Does this mean that John Barnett also owes the taxpayer a duty to report on every private donation he makes to a charity?

            No, didn’t think so.

            I watched the Asia Downunder election special r0b. The special also prominently featured Rajen Prasad and Ashraf Choudhery, along with MPs and candidates from NZ First, the Kiwi Party, and the Greens. It didn’t look at all as if the coverage was biased in favour of National.

            The TV3 story was a beat-up. Have a look at the Asia Downunder election special yourself, though. It’s over at TVNZ on demand. Pretty high quality programming, in my view.

          • r0b 9.1.1.2.2

            Does this mean that John Barnett also owes the taxpayer a duty to report on every private donation he makes to a charity?

            I know you Nats have some problems around the ethics of donations to your party, but do you really want to call private donations to charity and using tax payer funded staff and equipment to make campaign videos for National the same thing? Really?

          • exbrethren 9.1.1.2.3

            Is John Barnett a MP? Has he ever stood for parliament and used his company to produce campaign ads for his party, possibly using NZ ON Air money?

            Pathetic comparison there Tim.

            And whats that crap about donating to charity? The Nats have serious disorders but they’re not a registered charity as far as I know.

  10. the sprout 10

    i’d say under the circumstances the onus of proof would be on Lee that she did it “on her own time with her own facilities”. maybe not in a court of law, but totally in the court of public opinion.

    BTW, i wonder what NZOnAir will be thinking next time they consider a grant to Asia Downunder considering the growing public awareness that it produces extended ads for National party interests? I’m sure they wouldn’t have felt at all comfortable about granting money to a company owned by say, Michael Cullen or Margaret Wilson that was doing the same.

    and i wonder what it will do to ADU’s ratings as its viewership becomes more aware of its political affiliations?

    i wonder too what Lee’s business partners are now thinking about the future of their company’s funding?

    • Tim Ellis 10.1

      Extended ads? You mean a youtube clip?

      Goodness me. I didn’t realise there were so many resident millionaires on the internet owning television production companies and making youtube clips.

      • r0b 10.1.1

        You mean a youtube clip?

        It survives on youtube because the Nats have pulled it from their web site. According to the TV3 piece linked in the original post it is a:

        …a campaign video made for Asian members of the National Party that can be found on the National Party website.

        • Tim Ellis 10.1.1.1

          Yes, also known as a three minute youtube clip. We’re not talking megabuck budgets here. The cost of materials for this? What other costs apart from volunteer time and use of a camera and editing facilities? No material costs as far as I can see.

          The Standard hosted a number of youtube clips of similar quality during the election campaign. I doubt if any of them cost much to produce either.

  11. toad 11

    Tim Ellis said: If Melissa Lee did this youtube clip, it would have been done in her own time with her own facilities.

    In which case it was a donation and should have been declared by the Nats as an election expense Tim. Can you show me where it appears in their return?

    • Tim Ellis 11.1

      Can you show me any evidence toad that most youtube clips cost $10,000 to produce toad?

      If it doesn’t appear in the return, then it obviously was below the threshhold for a donation. I think the onus is on Mr Mallard to prove otherwise. There would be no reason why National wouldn’t declare it if it did exceed the donation threshhold. A candidate making a donation of $10k or more isn’t a big issue.

      • r0b 11.1.1

        Keep calling it a “youtube clip” Tim, that’s great spin. But according to the TV3 piece linked in the original post it is a:

        …a campaign video made for Asian members of the National Party that can be found on the National Party website.

        I have no idea what it cost, perhaps the ex staff member interviewed by TV3 will come forward with more details…

        • Tim Ellis 11.1.1.1

          This is the same disgruntled staff member who wasn’t able to go so far as to claim that Lee actually had any editorial influence over the election special?

          Nice fishing r0b. Keep calling it a campaign video if you want to play semantics. As far as I’m concerned, there is no difference in cost between a youtube clip lasting three minutes hosted on youtube, and a youtube clip hosted on a National Party website. But if you want to keep calling it that to make it sound more expensive, good for you.

          • r0b 11.1.1.1.1

            Keep calling it a campaign video if you want to play semantics

            I’m quoting the TV3 report Tim. What are you, with your “youtube clip” meme doing exactly?

          • r0b 11.1.1.1.2

            This is the same disgruntled staff member who wasn’t able to go so far as to claim that Lee actually had any editorial influence over the election special?

            Wrong again Tim. From the TV3 report linked in the original post:

            Asia Downunder staff told Campbell Live that even after Ms Lee began campaigning for Parliament, she took inappropriate editorial control of programme content despite staff protests. …

            “Professional and ethical lines were blurred during that time,” says Ms Guruanathan.

            She is talking about the time just before the election when they were working on an election special. Ms Lee told Campbell Live she removed herself from editorial input.

            [Something funny happening with attempt to post, apologies if several copies appear, duplicates can be deleted]

  12. toad 12

    Tim Ellis said: If it doesn’t appear in the return, then it obviously was below the threshhold for a donation.

    Tim, you miss my point. It is not a matter of whether it appears on the return as a donation (donations actually had to be returned on an ongoing basis throughout the campaign period anyway – but, as you say, only if over $10K).

    The issue I’m getting at is that it doesn’t appear in the Nats’ final return as an expense. Election expenses had to be declared, whatever their value, in the final return, and a donation of services should have been declared as an expense at the market value of those services.

  13. gobsmacked 13

    Hilarious interview on Checkpoint just now. She claims the staff all happily gave their time to the National party for free, after the boss (Lee) told … sorry, asked them to! Oh well, then, that’s all clear now.

    A revealing insight into National’s view of employment practices. Model: family firm, circa 1850.

    (but NZ on Air have said they’re investigating, the meanies …)

    • exbrethren 13.1

      “She claims the staff all happily gave their time to the National party for free”

      I think that’ll come back and bite her.

      • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1

        Yeah that’s real convincing.

        She begged off the interview a day ago and that’s the best the Nat spin team could come with?

        Sheesh. maybe they should hire Tim.

        • the sprout 13.1.1.1

          Tim certainly does a more convincing job than their paid/volunteer spinners.

      • the sprout 13.1.2

        “that’ll come back and bite her”

        i’d put money on it, and i’m not a gambling vegetable.

  14. toad 14

    a-y_b said: UPDATE: There?s a bit of discussion going on in the comments about attribution and its implications. Looks like it was authorised. Screenshots below.

    That raises an interesting legal point. Is it sufficient to upload the authorisation information to the YouTube site, but not have the authorisation appear in the actual video itself, given that the YouTube upload in this case permits embedding into any website?

    I know that all the Greens’ ones had the authorisation in the actual video footage itself to ensure compliance

    • the sprout 14.1

      not embedding it in the vid itself makes any supposed authorization look very post-hoc.

    • Graeme 14.2

      That raises an interesting legal point. Is it sufficient to upload the authorisation information to the YouTube site, but not have the authorisation appear in the actual video itself, given that the YouTube upload in this case permits embedding into any website?

      Yes it is. Or at least it was for others over the course of last year.

  15. Nick 15

    The issue is whether or not Melissa Lee used taxpayer money to make electoral videos? Burt seems to have a problem with this question….we are not asking did a labour, Green, ACT or other party politician do this,,,its quite specific to Ms Lee.Only her.

    Ms Lee thinks that the films were not shot in work hours by her production house which was funded by the taxpayer, she says it was outside of hours. Two things to check could verify this…..most video clips are time stamped, There should also be a record of the hours her staff worked and were paid. Lets see these audited and see iif they verify Ms Lee;s contention.

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