Third party returns

Written By: - Date published: 1:06 pm, March 19th, 2009 - 10 comments
Categories: election 2008, election funding - Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Electoral Commission has released the third party spending returns for the 2008 election campaign and it looks like for all National and ACT’s fears that the $120,000 third party cap would stop groups from being able to express themselves, only the Council of Trade Unions came close with a spend of around $100k.

Other unions spent a relative pittance, and make a mockery of National’s line that the Electoral Finance Act was designed so that unions could spend millions on behalf of Labour. Seems it was just PR all along. The only other significant union spend was from the PSA, which ran a strongly focused issues campaign on protecting public services. And all that fuss from National over the EPMU’s registration was over the grand sum of $5,690.

What I find interesting is the lack of right-wing third parties on that list. The EMA, for example, placed huge ads in the paper yet they’ve neither registered nor bothered to account for them. And, true to their word, the Sensible Sentencing Trust doesn’t appear to have registered either. I’d be very interested to find out how much those two organisations spent on getting National and ACT elected.

Strangely, Family First is listed on the Electoral Commission website as filing a nil return, yet when you open their PDF it shows more than $40,000 of spending on pamphlets and newspaper advertising. I could be reading this entirely wrong, so if anyone can explain it to me I’d appreciate it.

And I should also give some kudos to David Farrar. Even though his Free Speech Coalition was set up to oppose the EFA on behalf of National, he still registered under the Act and followed the law precisely, filing a return of $29,491. Credit where credit’s due and all that.

10 comments on “Third party returns ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    I am confused. I thought that the EFA made it mandatory for groups spending more than $12,000 ?? had to register and declare. How come :”And, true to their word, the Sensible Sentencing Trust doesn’t appear to have registered either. “

  2. lprent 2

    Sounds like there is sufficient cause for a number of complaints to be laid against the EMA, SST and FF…

    Does anyone know if anyone is going to lay complaints? Sure the Act has been removed, however its prescriptions and penalties remain in force for the period that it covered.

    Good to see that the FSC complied but the lack of other supporters of the NACT’s is a worry. It shows a worrying tendency to violate electoral law. Who knows if they will comply with the minuscule electoral protections offered by the 1993 act (as amended). For instance by doing the exclusive brethren trick of using incorrect addresses and not saying who they are..

    Before we get the usual hysterical accusations about this site, it directly cost just under $1500 during the electoral period excluding January. Jan didn’t cost us anything because it was on (what turned out to be) a donation to the NZLP by an ISP for 2 weeks and on my home server for close to 3 weeks.

    So much for the maths of the hysterics of the right… Bozo’s

    It also cost a lot of our spare time…

  3. Rex Widerstrom 3

    Ahhh you devious bastards! I might be forced to temporarily and expediently support the EFA if it meant prising open the SST’s bank account and having a look inside 😛

  4. Tane 4

    It’s always possible that the SST spent less than $12,000. Not that it pleases me to give them the benefit of the doubt…

  5. Chess Player 5

    I think what’s even more interesting, is that despite all the spending that went on, the left didn’t get the result they wanted.

    Perhaps the money was not spent wisely?

    Perhaps the voters weren’t listening?

    Perhaps the Beatles were right when they said “money can’t buy you love”?

    • ak 5.1

      Or perhaps all those frantic, frothing fearmongers and “defenders of democracy” who claimed that the EFA favoured Labour, have been proven to be full of shit?

  6. The EMA were referred to the Police many months ago after the EC determined their issues ads were in fact election ads. I don’t know what the Police decided.

    The Family First return is a nil return as they are saying none of their ads were election ads. However they have listed $40,000 of advertising they undertook just to I suppose be transparent about it. So basically they have filed a return saying we spent $40k on advertising but no not consider any of our adverts met the legal definition of an “election advertisement” as defined by the EFA.

    If someone thinks one of the FF ads or SST ads was in fact an election advertisement, they could complain to the Electoral Commission and ask them to consider the matter.

  7. George Darroch 7

    is that despite all the spending that went on

    $100,000 is well down on elections in the past. You could argue that the CTU spending less helped cost Labour the election, but that might just be the cost of a transparent democracy.

  8. Trevor Mallard 8

    I haven’t been interviewed in relation to alleged EMA offence or been told of result of the complaint. Obviously no legal requirement to do either but as the target of the ad the latter would be polite. I should make it clear that neither did I complain no arrange a complaint ACT style about the ads which I saw as being part of the rough and tumble of politics and about as accurate as most EMA Northern material.

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