What the BSA said – Key on RadioLive

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, October 14th, 2011 - 112 comments
Categories: broadcasting, election 2011, election funding, john key - Tags: ,

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has decided that Key’s hour-long promotional programme on RadioLive was not an election programme. They interpret “encourage or persuade” in the Broadcasting Act as “overt or explicit encouragement or persuasion to vote in a particular way”; quite differently from how the same words have become interpreted in the Electoral Act. So much for settled Electoral Law. It will now be very interesting to see what the Electoral Commission decides in relation to election advertising complaints.

The BSA says re “encourage or persuade” defined in Section 69 of the Broadcasting Act:

We are satisfied that the intention of section 69 is to capture those programmes which overtly and directly encourage, persuade or advocate voters to vote for a particular party or a candidate, or which overtly and directly set voters against a particular political party or candidate. We consider that programmes which may in an incidental, resultant, secondary or consequential way amount to encouragement, persuasion, advocacy or opposition for or to a particular political outcome are not captured by section 69.

The Electoral Commission Media Handbook  says in relation to “encourage or persuade” in the Electoral Act:

The test is whether the advertisement can “reasonably” be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote, for a party or
candidate. This is an objective test. It is based on content and context regardless of whether the advertisement includes the name of a party or candidate, or whether the encouragement or persuasion to vote, or not to vote, is direct or indirect. The definition of “election advertisement” does not require an explicit statement (eg, “Vote for X”, or “Don’t vote for Y”). The complete advertisement needs to be considered, in context. It is not
enough to consider the words or visual images used in isolation.

The BSA also says:

The words “encourage”, “persuade”, “advocate” or “oppose” are verbs which are associated with activity. They can be used to connote something which is passive but the usual flavour associated with the words is one involving activity. In the ordinary use of language in this particular context, we consider that the words have been used as active verbs.

The programme’s producer Jana Rangooni said that the purpose of the programme was to “encourage listeners to support our brand.” Sounds pretty active to me.

The BSA again:

Here, the Prime Minister was engaged in the expression of information of a kind that was not directly political and he was also involved in a type of entertainment and personal interest programme.

The BSA website advises in its section on general guidance as to whether something is an election programme:

What if a news or current affairs shows covers election issues – is that an election programme? No, news or current affairs programmes relating to elections (or any programmes broadcast to inform, enlighten, or entertain an audience) are not ‘election programmes’ for the purposes of broadcasting standards and not subject to the Election Programmes Code (see Broadcasting Act 1989, s70(3) and Electoral Finance Act s5(2)(c)).

Makes you wonder how up-to-date their thinking is: the Electoral Finance Act has been repealed and the exemption for entertainment is no longer contained in the replacement Electoral Act.

Finally, the BSA says:

In reaching the conclusion that this programme did not actively encourage, persuade, advocate or oppose a political outcome we have also taken into account that it was expressly stated in the programme that election and political issues would not be spoken about or responded to (although, as we will observe later, this promise at the start of the programme was not fully kept).

The current members of the Broadcasting Standards Authority have all been appointed by the present National government. One, Leigh Pearson, declared a conflict of interest and took no part in the decision. Their decision can be appealed to the High Court within a month.

I still think it quacks like a duck and Phil Goff got it right: “It was a one-hour free self-promotion for the Prime Minister”.

 

112 comments on “What the BSA said – Key on RadioLive”

  1. queenstfarmer 1

    Phil is right. And Phil (or his advisers, probably) made a stupid decision by filing an unsuccesful complaint, instead of simply asking for their own “one-hour free self-promotion”. Which I think would have been quite good, and still hope MW gives Phil.

    Own goal by Labour.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Labour did ask for their own one-hour show.

      They were declined, on the basis that this is the inaugural annual “prime ministers hour” and Goff isn’t the prime minister. We’ll have to see if they follow through with that, should he win the election.

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.1

        Yeah, at the same time they were saying it was improper. Stupid. However I am quite sure that MW would have given it if enough clamour had been made – MW wants ratings. Labour could have played the “underdog” and campained for a slot, instead they have played the unsuccessful accuser that just validates (or further validates) what the PM & MW did.

        And yes Labour could appeal this to the courts. But even if that was successful, it would come way after the election so no-one would care, cost a lot of money which would be better spent on other things I’m sure, and really what’s the point – this is a classic “beltway” issue that the public at large just doesn’t care about.

        • Puddleglum 1.1.1.1

          Hang on. Labour say that it’s improper to devote an hour to the PM without doing the same for other political leaders. Then they apply for a slot (in order to go some way to making it ‘proper’). 

          How is the combination of these two responses ‘Stupid’? Looks to me like being consistent and trying to – informally – give MW the chance to put things right. 

          • Carol 1.1.1.1.1

            Didn’t Goff ask for a slot for all party leaders? That’s just checking where Radio Live are at.

          • Chris 1.1.1.1.2

            No Labour said the show was an election programme. Broadcasters cannot broadcast an election programme at anytime.

            Labour then applied for a slot of what they obviously consider to be an election programme.

            If it was an election programme having all parties have their own show would not make it better for the broadcaster it would just make them in breach many times.

            So yes it was stupid to declare something an election programme and then apply for one.

            • Carol 1.1.1.1.2.1

              It seems a bit like you’re overstating the case by saying Goff declared and applied. Goff asked some questions, and complained.

              In so doing the result has been to highlight some anomalies and to show that Key did indeed get some political advantage from the slot.

              • Chris

                Alright noone was arguing that he got an advantage that was always obvious to everyone. I’m pretty sure the BSA even said that he did in the judgement.

                The rest is just semantics.

        • fmacskasy 1.1.1.2

          You’re being obtuse. You know perfectly well what point is being made here.

  2. Joe Bloggs 2

    There you go: current members of the Broadcasting Standards Authority have all been appointed by the present National government

    A Vast Right Wing and Non-Labour Left Wing Conspiracy indeed.

    The Broadcasting Act is specific about what constitutes electioneering and nothing Key said or did
    came close to the definition.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      how can it be a conspiracy when it is obvious and out in the open.

      So much for Tories proclaiming their love of a fair handed democracy.

    • fmacskasy 2.2

      Of course it did! The BSA just applied unfeasibly narrow interpretations to the law. And of course, it’s suits your views.

      But if the situation was reversed, you’d bre hopping mad about it – and justifiably so.

      It’s a shame you just don’t want to admit it. Supporting Dear Leader over-rides all notions of fairness?

  3. Rich 3

    a comment by a host that ‘the Labour Party is furious that you (John Key) are on and they’re not’ was unfair and denigrated the party, but in our view this sort of banter is to be expected on a programme of this kind

    In other words: obviously the media is part of the National party propaganda machine. Suck it up. (and more fool you for not sorting them out in the nine years you had to do so)

    • That’s weird. It’s saying that, yes, not only were political comments made but they were also damaging but that’s ‘ok’ because we’d expect that as ‘banter’.

      So, which part of the programme is not banter? If everything on it is ‘banter’ then, presumably, Key could have ripped into Labour for 60 mins and it would still be ‘ok’, not political, etc. because you expect that kind of ‘banter’?

      I wish people who write these decisions would look at their logic. That’s just hopeless.
       

      • Bazar 3.1.1

        I wish people would actually read and understand the report, rather then foolishly deride the authority for being illogical.

        But to answer your question, using their own report.

        “We have thought carefully about this and have reached the conclusion that neither did these comments or final moments effect a change of character of the programme.
        We consider that the programme, looked at objectively and in an overall way, remained one which was outside Section6”

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          LOlz wut

          A few electioneering comments thrown in are OK as long as the programme is long enough to soak them in and not be “changed in nature”.

          • felix 3.1.1.1.1

            I’ve made you a cup of tea with some meth in it. Rest assured it’s only a teensy tiny bit of meth and objectively it still seems to be a cup of tea.

        • Puddleglum 3.1.1.2

          Hi Bazar,

          You’ve just quoted back to me the very point that I find illogical.

          It is to say, because politically damaging comments were made we decided that making political comments didn’t change the nature of the programme. Our justification for that is not any reasoned defence but simply to state that we “thought carefully about this” and decided that those comments did not “effect a change of character of the programme”.

          If there was a children’s programme and, for a few minutes, there was discussion of sadomasochism would that “effect a change of character of the programme”?

          I’m sorry, I don’t see the logical basis of their conclusion that those politically damaging comments (and the distinctly political comments at the end) did not make the programme political in part and, therefore, breach the standards of a non-political programme. 

          Saying you thought carefully about something is not a valid defence of the logical status of your conclusion.

           

          • Bazar 3.1.1.2.1

            “If there was a children’s programme and, for a few minutes, there was discussion of sadomasochism would that “effect a change of character of the programme”?”

            There is no gray area, the BSA were tasked to either find if it was an “election program” or not.

            But let me ask you this, if there was a kids show recorded live, and a striper ran past the camera, would that make the entire kids show a pornography show?

            • Puddleglum 3.1.1.2.1.1

              No.

              I don’t think the political commentary in the Radio Live PM’s Hour (how’s that for a non-political title?) makes ‘the entire show a political show’ but it certainly does not make it a non-political show.

              Also, so far as I’m aware, the political commentary on the PM’s hour did not arise from a political ‘streaker’ gatecrashing the programme. It arose from the comments of the host (John Key) and the programme DJ.

              The BSA conceded that there was political content (and political content that likely damaged one political party). The PM’s Hour was, therefore, not ‘non-political’.

              They were told to steer clear of politics entirely – and Key, himself, said that it was an absolute rule that there would be no politicking. There was. Case closed.

              Sadly, the BSA saw a ‘gray area’ – as you put it – in which some political commentary was ok. It’s like telling 100m sprint competitors that in no way can they start before the starting gun but then saying ‘Oh, that’s alright, you were only half a second in front of the gun – entirely to be expected in this kind of race.’

              Pathetic. 

  4. vanakast 4

    First you accuse him of ignoring political issues and now you’re trying to paint it as a breach of Electoral Act? You Liarbour supporters are such a self-contradiction.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Hey dickhead so you agree that Key was electioneering on radio then?

    • Mac1 4.2

      Vanakast, Nilast, Ninel, you RWNJs are so inversely predictable. Especially with the misspelling of Labour. The one thing that cheers me up, is that another good ale will wash away the distaste.

      Aivorston!

  5. David 5

    LOL I can’t help but laugh at you lot.

    wahwahwahwahwah

  6. rod 6

    So who are the members of the BSA who made the decision?

  7. Anthony 7

    You’d have to live with your head in the sand to see this as anything but political.

    Why would John Key do it otherwise? For his love of radio broadcasting?

    It was a political branding exercise plain and simple

    • Bazar 7.1

      But it was not an election program. So it didn’t breach any laws.
      And its as black and white as that.

      If you still believe otherwise, care to explain what this man here is doing, and how it differs?
      http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1318413688/744/5776744.jpg

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Goff cleaning up Key and Joyce’s spill over is NEWS.

        Key talking shit on the radio is TYPICAL.

        Get it?

        • Bazar 7.1.1.1

          Since you didn’t actually answer why one was legal, and the other wasn’t.
          I can only assume you agree with me that there was nothing illegal.

          That or you’re unable to, or unwilling to articulate an argument worth a damn.

  8. prism 8

    FFS Everything that a politician says and does in the period immediately before the election is important in decision-making for voters. Politicians know that they have to get exposure before the public to get a chance to be elected and try like hell to make it favourable exposure. What ingenuous innocents or twisty smarties or theoretical rope charmers formed this legislation and belong to the BSA? Bloody Slimy A..seholes.

  9. Carol 9

    The BSA report on their decision/findings also says this:

    http://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/show/4243

    We can of course see that some political advantage will accrue to the Prime Minister and the party to which he belongs from exposures of this kind. It is not for us to say whether this should or should not be permitted; we are required to deal with the law as it stands. In our view, the law as it stands, and which produces consequences when election programmes are broadcast, does not apply to this particular programme. If a different outcome is seen as being desirable, then this is a matter for the legislature and not for us.

    But I don’t understand how they can say it isn’t an indirect encouragement to vote for Key/National, while also saying it will give the PM and his party some political advantage

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      Yeah, direct contradiction.

    • Bazar 9.2

      Because he didn’t actively encourage people to vote national. He did however make voters more aware of him.
      That in itself is the both the advantage and legal.

      If you think national should be punished for their PM being popular, please explain what this man is doing, and how it differs:
      http://static2.stuff.co.nz/1318413688/744/5776744.jpg

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        If you think national should be punished for their PM being popular

        Rot.

        National should be punished for incompetency and slowness over the Rena disaster.

        And they will be.

        Having a National PM who would be voted top judge of NZ Idol, that’s just LOLwut.

  10. Ms M 10

    “Ms Rangooni refused the request, saying the programme was “nothing to do with the election” but aimed at enhancing RadioLive’s brand.”

    “Be cautious’ warning over PM’s radio show” — http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10758423 — 5:30 AM Wednesday Oct 12, 2011

    The politics here is not electioneering but cronyism. Why is John Key, in the capacity as our PM, supporting a private radio station to improve it’s ratings?

    “Paul Henry’s radio audience rises, but station still lags behind”
    07 October 2011 National – NZ Herald News
    Controversial broadcaster Paul Henry has pushed up listener figures for RadioLive’s drive show, but its total audience figures are still less than half its competitors.”

    Unsuprisingly by Saturday 8.43am the title had changed to “Paul Henry pushes up Radio Live ratings” — http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10757379

  11. Was John Key’s “Prime Minister’s News Hour” political?

    Nah. Mediaworks simply couldn’t find a radio host to fill in. So Key graciously volunteered, free of charge, ‘cos he wasn’t doing anything important that day.

    Just like he and Prince William were photographed together doing a BBQ. Of course that wasn’t a photo-op either (naughty lefties for even suggesting such a thing!) – the BBQ organisors were simply short of a grill-chef, and Key and Prince William offered to step in.

    Quite simple really.

    Oh, and same goes for Key mincing up and down that catwalk; one of the models never turned up; Key happened to be in the neighbourhood; and volunteered to pitch in.

    Wot a guy! *nods head slavishly to Dear Leader*

    http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/bs-is-right/

  12. Any appearance in the media, as long as it is not negative, at this part of an election cycle is a very valuable commodity and is wantonly sort by campaign organisers.
    More so if it is free and direct (ie. free of filtering journos).
     
    To argue that it was not political is sophistry. To spell it out…”a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning”.
    If you are a politician wanting votes then that makes any exposure to the electorate political – regardless of what is said.
    Even the appearance of Key in the Bay of Plenty as Prime Minister cannot be separated from electionarring.
    RadioLive know this. As far I can remember they ask hosts to step aside when they are running for office.
     
    Unfortunately, “if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck” type of observations are of no value if the law does not describe a duck the way you think it should.
    I suspect that that is the beauty of the whole operation. It is political without being political in law. The exposure of personal charisma in order to influence an electorate is harder to quantify in law – unlike a discussion of political issues.
     
    I have got to hand it to those involved, it was a piece of genius (as much as it galls me to say so).
    Labour unfortunately walked into a trap by lodging their own complaint because it stood a good chance of not be successful (because of the wording of the legislation) and therefore rebound on the party. Better to get some private citizens to do it – if they’re successful then you can join in the condemnation, if the fail then you say nothing.
     
    Still, the BSA is not the Electoral Commission – they may broaden their definition. Which I assume can then be appealed?

    • Bazar 12.1

      Well written post, the first person who actually seems to understand the judgement.

      “Still, the BSA is not the Electoral Commission – they may broaden their definition. Which I assume can then be appealed?”

      Correct, the BSA only handled the complaints that labour filed. The BSA stated that it wasn’t unfair to labour, as labour was never mentioned, and that WM are not obligated to give labour or any other party timeslots.

      They do state that they think its not an election program, but its not within their jurisdiction to decide that, and their decision can be appealed to the high court.

      So if Labour truly believed that national were legally in the wrong, they could continue this issue. But i doubt that’ll happen, as its unlikely to succeed and it’d cost them money in legal fees to continue it any further.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Correct, the BSA only handled the complaints that labour filed. The BSA stated that it wasn’t unfair to labour, as labour was never mentioned

        This in itself is BS.

        An hours free nationwide airtime for the Prime Minister with zero airtime for Goff, somehow “not unfair to Labour”.

        What rubbish. You concept of fairness is LOL

        • Bazar 12.1.1.1

          “What rubbish. You concept of fairness is LOL”

          So Goff should get an hour?
          Shouldn’t Brash as well, its only fair.
          What about Richard McGrath of Libertarianz?

          MW was under no obligation to give time to Labour.
          Just as thestandard is under no obligation to give farrah posting rights.

          Their studio, their call.
          Now stop acting like a spoiled brat acting like they are entitled to everything, and move on.

          • Chris 12.1.1.1.1

            This is exactly right and Labour seem to think they should be entitled to an hour (which I agree with) but then at the same time post a complaint that the station has done something wrong by giving a politician an hour.

            Really what did they expect.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1.1

              There’s reason why we regulate politics before the election – it’s so that every party operates on a level playing field. MW giving National a one hour promotional slot is bypassing that regulation.

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.2

            Their studio, their call.
            Now stop acting like a spoiled brat acting like they are entitled to everything, and move on.

            So expecting a fair election and fair media exposure is being a “spoiled brat” and according to you we should just “move on” from all pretence of democratic fairness?

            Fuck off.

          • Puddleglum 12.1.1.1.3

            Their studio, their call.

            Which is why the limited number of owners of our media is a real worry for anyone with even the merest democratic impulse. They claim impartiality but, as you eloquently put it, “Their studio, their call“. Well, we’ve now seen how they make those calls.

            Where’s public broadcasting when you need it – oh, that’s right, getting increasingly underfunded, instructed to follow a ‘commercial model’ and headed by ex-party apparatchiks. 

  13. burt 13

    Mike Smith

    So IF I have understood you correctly the ref made a bad call…. Funny how the ref also made a bad call when self serving Labour were called out…

    Hell it must be hard to live a happy life when the only measure you seem to have is red=good and blue=bad.

    • fmacskasy 13.1

      Funny how if National stuffs up, you have to point to Labour as a justification?

      In which case – why change governments? Might as well just have one, in-perpetuity.

      • burt 13.1.1

        So far it seems National haven’t stuffed up. The ruling from the Electoral Commission will be more interesting.

        I’m not looking to Labour for justification, not one bit. You seem to have missed the point that the ref said Labour broke the rules and labour supporters moan. The ref says National didn’t break the law and the same supporters moan.

        As for just wanting one govt in perpetuity justified by; only being as bad as the other lot… If I were you I would point that finger at the people who have used the ‘others did it too, the law was confusing and the ref made a bad call’ line when senior officials have said they broke the rules. That’s not me….

        • fmacskasy 13.1.1.1

          Oh come on, Burt. You and I both know that “refs” aren’t infallible. And in the case of the BSA their views on this issue were so narrow as to be practically useless. If the wording of laws and regulations is so narrow that people can skirt around them, then it’s pointless having them.

          In this case of course the RadioLive “Prime Minister’s Hour” was political.

          How can a programme called the “Prime Minister’s Hour” NOT be political?!

          You’re splitting hairs and avoiding the crux of the issue.

          • burt 13.1.1.1.1

            Sure “refs” aren’t infallible – no argument. But when you get a warning that your actions will be a breach of the rules and you continue and get called – you have to be totally dishonest to say the ref made a bad call.

            Are you saying a written warning from the Chief Electoral Officer was insufficient warning to accept the call the ref made OR are you just being an apologist ?

            • fmacskasy 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Funny how you refer to US being apologists…

              And yet you’re spending an awful lot of time on this issue, on this thread, on this Blog. If I was going to put my tin foil hat on for a moment, I’d be wondering why you seem to have such an abiding interest in this matter?

              I mean, really, we all know that the Radiolive thing was as political as possible, in a non-overtly political way.

              The fact that the BSA came to a conclusion which defies comprehension is perhaps a side-issue in itself.

              But for you to defend it shows (a) you’re bored (b) you have a deeper interest in this than you’ve disclosed.

              In fact, reading some of the material here that you’re presented certainly supports the notion that you have a deeper connection than you’ve let on.

              To paraphrase a certain lunatic American senator, “Have you now, or ever been, a staffer/member of the governments administration?”

              *takes of tin foil hat*

              So, the next Big Question is: All Blacks or Wales for the RWC?

          • burt 13.1.1.1.2

            How can a programme called the “Prime Minister’s Hour” NOT be political?!

            Beats me actually – but that’s the conclusion the BSA has come to. The Electoral Commission decision will be more interesting I’m sure.

            However IF that radio show is deemed to be an election advertisement and National don’t include it in their election spending total claiming the Electoral Commission made a bad call – will you be supporting them having their own interpretation because parliament know best what the law was supposed to say ?

  14. Blue 14

    It’s a pretty sweet loophole to be able to exploit.

    National’s main electoral strength is Brand Key. He is the product they are selling up and down the country, on every billboard.

    Brand Key is all about appearing to be a likeable average Kiwi bloke, and he got to promote his brand for an hour on radio free of charge.

    The radio station decided to kindly forgo the significant advertising dollars that would usually be required to purchase equivalent airtime in a bid to boost their own brand, deciding that to associate with Brand Key would win them some reflected popularity.

    And despite everyone acknowledging that there is significant advantage to be had in this for Key and the Nats, the law is apparently powerless to do anything about it.

    Whoever is running the campaign budget for the Nats must be a very happy chappy indeed.

    • burt 14.1

      Blue

      If they are warned that it needs to be included in the electoral return rather than from the leaders fund and they ignore that warning while saying the ref made a bad call then I’ll be shouting as loudly as Mike Smith. Happy days though, this time we’ll agree with each other.

      • Puddleglum 14.1.1

        Hi Burt,

        Do you think it should be in the ‘electoral return’? 

        • burt 14.1.1.1

          I haven’t listened to it. Why would I – it’s fluff.

          But to answer your question: Probably should be. It’s publicity and this is an election year – hard to imagine how it can’t actually be considered promotion of Key/National.

          However my opinion is irrelevant, it’s the interpretation of the law that matters. Lets see what the Electoral Commission say and then lets see how National react to that. Retrospective validation perhaps ?

          For the record, and I said the same thing in 2006, when politicians are deemed to have breached the law the police should not have discretion over wether to charge or not. The ‘offender’ should be charged and let the judiciary decide their fate.

    • prism 14.2

      Blue – I hope the Electoral Commission will look at this as coolly and clearly as you have.

  15. The Baron 15

    Oh so now electoral law is perfectly clear and easy to interpret… But yet every time Labour need a promoters statement or a check on how much money you can steal from the taxpayer for your campaign, it’s still all too hard?

    Fuck off Williams. You’re a liar and a fucking hypocrite.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Key was fucking lucky and you know it. He’s not gonna be fucking lucky next time.

      The only proven liar around here is John Key.

  16. MrSmith 16

    The National party electoral campaign will be run by very successful business people and marketers (fixed game gamblers and brainwashers) I think Labour understand this and if they don’t they better wake up quick, so lets move on please, spending to much time on this issue will only make Labour look like sore losers.
     
    Smarten up and fire a few shots of your own Labour, they have set the standard so lower it.

  17. Nick C 17

    “The programme’s producer Jana Rangooni said that the purpose of the programme was to “encourage listeners to support our brand.” Sounds pretty active to me.”

    Err… What point is that trying to make? The law doesnt say that you cant be ‘active’, it says that you cannot electioneer, with electioneer defined in an active sense. Key could run a 60 minute aerobics tape on the radio and whilst that would meet the definition of ‘active’ it would not meet the definition of an election advertisement. RadioLive say they were promoting their brand; so what? The point the BSA were making is that Key merely being on the radio is not active enough to be an election advertisement, which is perfectly reasonable.

    From reading this post I dont see what your arguement actually is other than a vague suggestion that the BSA is somehow corrupt. Mind you it was always obvious that you would disagree with the decision if it didnt favour Labour. This is the sort of intellectually bankrupt approach to politics which is holding the left back.

    • RedLogix 17.1

      Of course you know perfectly well that these day’s policy is far less important to the electorate than personality.

      Imagine if in 2008 TV1 had given a nice, sweet sympathetic, ‘non-political’ hour long doco on Helen Clark’s life story, the night before the election. And not counted towards Labour’s election advertising budget. Can you imagine the outrage from the right?

      That’s because everyone knows just how powerfully emotion trumps logic every time… how enormously influential such a piece would have have been. That kind of personality focussed bio would be far more valuable to any party than the overtly political or policy based material the Electoral Act defines as ‘political advertising’.

      It’s a thundering great loophole in the law that has National drafted, and now ruled on as ok by the members National appointed to the BSA….. so of course they are going to exploit it.

      Great politics if you admire that sort of thing.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        It’s a thundering great loophole in the law that has National drafted, and now ruled on as ok by the members National appointed to the BSA….. so of course they are going to exploit it.

        Of course Labour could exploit this loophole too.

        Except our media is owned by corporate supporters of John Key.

        The Left will never exert true influence in this country as long as this keeps up.

    • burt 17.2

      This is the sort of intellectually bankrupt approach to politics which is holding the left back.

      And the flip side is also holding them back – that it’s OK when they do it even it they were deemed to have broken the law.

      • RedLogix 17.2.1

        And that’s the problem with the right’s ethically bankrupt approach to politics… it’s all ok as long as the ref looks the other way and you get away with it.

        • burt 17.2.1.1

          What complete crap you are currently speaking RedLogix. We have history of Labour bagging some of the most senior govt officials as being wrong and using retrospective validations under urgency to kill off a court case against the PM and you call the right ethically bankrupt. You clearly don’t recognize that ugly self serving twit in the mirror as yourself.

          • RedLogix 17.2.1.1.1

            And all I’ve ever seen yourself exert your energy on burt is on the minutiae of literalistic applications of regulation. I’ve only ever seen you apply yourself to the letter of the law… and never ever ask yourself… what wider purpose is being served here?

            In your world it is perfectly ok for the Auditor General to collude corruptly (but legally) with one major Party to arrange so that a large portion of their electoral spending, including their Parliamentary Service funds, fell outside the period that he later ‘audited’. For you that was perfectly ok and not ever worthy of comment… because they were not caught.

            For you it was perfectly ok that National should get 90% of their funding via two secret Trusts, completely obviating much of the purpose of the Electoral Act at the time.. because it was ‘legal’ and they were not caught.

            Yet here you are almost five years later still panting over a standard, technical piece of Parliamentary process in which a budget was validated in a perfectly normal way.

            We have history of Labour bagging some of the most senior govt officials as being wrong

            Well if you recall 7 out of 8 Parties in Parliament at the time thought the AG was wrong, but acted ethically to abide by his ruling as a matter of respect for the office and to avoid significant constitutional difficulties.

            But of course dear old burt’s opinion is of much greater weight.

            • burt 17.2.1.1.1.1

              Good deflection, but not quite good enough. The law is not a play thing…

              The legislature write the laws and the judiciary adjudicate on breaches of the law – not me, not you and not parliament itself when it’s in the best interest of protecting a PM.

              • RedLogix

                Nice deflection yourself.

                The Courts ruled that Mark Bryers and Blue Chip Investments committed no technical crime against the law… so I take you think everything that company did was just fine and dandy? You want to defend the way that company ripped off thousands of New Zealanders?

                You know the difference between legal and ethical burt, stop pretending you don’t.

                • burt

                  And that is related to electoral laws how ? Spinning much ?

                  • RedLogix

                    I give you a simple example of the difference between legal and ethical and you obtusely pretend it isn’t relevant.

                    Either that or you really don’t know the difference. Which is it burt?

                    • burt

                      I get it, you want to make up the rules about ethics being more important than the rule of the law and have it both ways. That’s right, Labour knew the intent of the law better than the AG and therefore ethically it was valid to overrule him and use urgency to validate their actions. National on the other hand seem to have acted within the law but YOU think unethically therefore the law should be discarded and ethics should take precedent. Let me guess, just like Labour retrospectively said they didn’t break the law we should retrospectively say National did….

                      You want your cake and you want to eat it as well….

                      Re: Blue Chip Investments – sadly we can’t prosecute them for acting within the letter of the law but outside of your perceived intent. I do agree they have acted completely unethically – but the law as currently implemented gives us no recourse over that.

                    • RedLogix

                      I guess that is the point burt.

                      Parliament is meant to be the intersection between ethics and the law. It’s a tricky place to be sometimes.

                      It’s perfectly possible for a something to be legal but wholly unethical, and at the same time for something else is technically illegal when many people believe it to be ethically acceptable.

                      Which to you is more damaging to society as a whole?

                      A person does something in good faith which is later ruled to have been in breach of rules and yet is not prosecuted. (Bear in mind that in 2008, 7 out of 8 Parties organised their electoral spending in good faith, but in a way that was later controversially ruled by the AG as illegal.)

                      Or:

                      A person finds a loophole in the law, exploits it for personal gain and gets away with it. (As National have done with this Radio Live broadcast, which while technically legal.. any fool can tell is a breach of the intent and purpose of the law.)

                    • burt

                      RedLogix

                      Which to you is more damaging to society as a whole?

                      Neither of the choices you offer – I would say the most damaging thing is people in positions of power making up the rules as they go along to suit their own self serving agenda.

                    • burt

                      It is pretty Parliament’s job definition to make up the rules as it goes along. So that really doesn’t answer the question.

                      So if the Electoral Commission say Key’s hour on radio was an election advertisement and Key/National say it isn’t – you’ll be all good with that ? Yes or No ?

                  • RedLogix

                    It is pretty Parliament’s job definition to make up the rules as it goes along. So that really doesn’t answer the question.

                    In an ideal world ethical principle and the practise of the law would be one and the same thing. Sometimes however they are not. Quite often in fact.

                    For ordinary people if they do not like the ethical principle embodied in the action of the law (eg the Blue Chip debacle mentioned above) they have little recourse but to either appeal the decision to a higher Court or lobby Parliament to change the law so that it works better.

                    When Parliament finds that the law isn’t working the way it expects then it then falls to Parliament itself to change the law so that it works better. As indeed has Electoral law been addressed twice by Parliament since the 2005 election you are still so frantic about.

                    At the end of it, the law is justified by the degree to which it serves ethical principle. In a democracy the details of that principle, and the weight with which we apply various degrees of often conflicting motives is always up for debate and change.

                    Sometimes the obligation of Parliament to abide by the law, and the right of Parliament to determine the law, intersect somewhat messily. In this case Parliament was faced with the problem of an AG whose controversial ruling had effectively invalidated and made illegal some 14 years of spending. No-one in the House had and desire to investigate, audit and declare all that spending illegal.. and then criminally prosecute the dozens of people potentially involved.

                    No-one wanted to do this because even National knew that such a course of action would ultimately expose their collusion with the AG and create an absurd pointless circus for everyone. In the end Parliament did the obvious expedient thing, validated the old expenditure, changed the law … and didn’t renew the old bastards contract. It’ll never be pure and holy enough for you burt… but the rest of us kind of got over it some time past.

                    BTW. Have you wondered how John Key’s $800,000 overspend on the DPS squad is going to be validated? Retrospectively much?

                    • burt

                      BTW. Have you wondered how John Key’s $800,000 overspend on the DPS squad is going to be validated? Retrospectively much?

                      Yes I’m sure that will be done in the budget in the normal way – retrospective validations are passed most years for unplanned spending.

                      However you still haven’t explained how using urgency outside of the budget is the perfectly normal way… Is it because you are too sad to admit Labour are self serving and they completely abused the democratic process in their own best interests OR are you still confused about what is normal and what isn’t ?

                    • burt

                      No-one wanted to do this because even National knew that such a course of action would ultimately expose their collusion with the AG and create an absurd pointless circus for everyone.

                      WTF… I think the AG colluded with the Chief Electoral Officer… perhaps the written warning being ignored by Labour gave the AG no option….

                      Oh no that’s right – it was all nasty National corrupting him wasn’t it… You are a sad apologist today.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I’m sure that will be done in the budget in the normal way – retrospective validations are passed most years for unplanned spending.

                      Well at long last it turns out that it wasn’t the retrospective validation that burt was all so het up about… it was the fact that it was done under Urgency using an Appropriations Bill. Oh dear… this is Crime of the Century stuff.

                      However you still haven’t explained how using urgency outside of the budget is the perfectly normal way

                      I’ll quote the entire relevant para:

                      Unappropriated or unauthorised expenses and capital expenditure

                      It is unlawful for expenses or capital expenditure to be incurred without appropriation or other authority from Parliament. [87]

                      Wherever any such expenses or expenditure is incurred any person or persons responsible may themselves incur liability for the illegality. However, it is likely, where the illegality was perpetrated in good faith (and not, for instance, dishonestly), that Parliament will wish to regularise the position, remove any legal liability arising, obviate recovery action being initiated in respect of any unauthorised payments that have been made, and provide for obligations that have been entered into to be satisfied out of lawfully appropriated funds.

                      Consequently, an Appropriation Bill (or other legislation) may seek to validate such expenses or expenditure. [88] Where validation of unappropriated expenses is sought by means of an Appropriation Bill, the Minister of Finance must present a report to the House setting out the amount of each category of expenses or capital expenditure so incurred and the explanation of the Minister responsible for those expenses or that expenditure. [89] A statement of such unappropriated or unauthorised expenses must also be included in the annual financial statements of the Government and in the financial statements of the department administering the relevant vote. [90]

                      Unless and until validated by Parliament, unappropriated or unauthorised expenses and capital expenditure remain unlawful.

                      Nothing in there that says the validating legislation MUST be done the following year as part of the Budget process. A govt can do it whenever it wants.

                      And if it’s Labour’s ‘abuse of Urgency’ bit that is worrying you, then geeze I hate to think how wound up you are about the current govt’s almost continuous resort to it.

                      Oh no that’s right – it was all nasty National corrupting him wasn’t it… You are a sad apologist today.

                      The AG was a biased ref. He blows the whistle on every other team on the field except the one he was backing. National started campaigning in late May 2005, months before they usually do. They’ve got more money than they know what to do with so they get in early with billboards all over the country, fully spending up their Parliamentary Services monies and saturation media adverts months before anyone else. If they kept this up they should have been way over their electoral advertising budget six weeks before the election. Madness.

                      But they did it because they KNEW in advance that the AG was going to audit the electoral spending that year and ONLY include the three months prior. National spent illegally just like every other Party did, but they had colluded with the referee to have him turn a procedural blind eye to it.

                      And even then in their greed and hubris National fracked up their GST.

                      Yet stupidly enough they forgot that in getting all these types of expenditure declared illegal, National was then trapped by it’s own actions going back 14 years. In the end everyone in Parliament knew that the whole affair was a stupid farce, cooked up by Farrar and his mates, over-egged by the ‘cancerous and corrosive’ Don Brash and so Parliament urgently did the expedient validation thing to shut it down. Not wholly dignified or elegant… but necessary. And legal.

                      Your stuck in a fantasy that somehow you were going to get Helen Clark thrown in prison for an $800k overspend. Yet your hero John Key fritters away the identical sum on his own vanity… and you have nothing to say. Worse still Key drives a truck through a loophole in Electoral Law, plainly in contempt of its intent… and you still have nothing to say.

                    • lprent []

                      burt usually ignores dealing with anything pointing out the actual legal position (and surrounding politics). r0b spent an incredibly boring week pounding it into him at one stage – but it didn’t take. I’m rather glad that he is behind some slow bandwidth at present, otherwise I’m sure he’d be incorrectly blaming his teaching skills again.

                      Leaving aside the conventions aspect, parliament in law in NZ is almost completely supreme (technically the queen could technically override), and it makes the laws. One of the laws it made was that if it itself acts unlawfully (through its arm of parliamentary services which disperses parliamentary expenses), it may pass legislation to fix the error. It can do that with a simple majority of the house.

                      Now burt’s problem is that he thinks there should be a higher law than that (and I rather suspect he thinks that he should make it, and if not then the AG should make it). But in our single house system with no elected president and a largely powerless figurehead – there is not. With respect to parliament, even the supreme court can only rule on consistency of the parliaments rulings against their actions. It is an advisory role in exactly the same manner as the AG’s. Parliament is technically the highest court in the NZ legal system.

                      Let me make a note of the comment link. I think that I should write a program that auto-adds the link as a note to anything from burt with the word retrospective in it (after my projects code release and the election).

                    • burt

                      lprent

                      So have I got this right, if the Electoral Commission say Key’s hour on radio was an election advertisement and National say it isn’t and pass some shit in parliament to override the decision of the Electoral Commission then you will be happy with that ?

                      IE: Are you like so many others on this blog that support Labour doing that because you are too short sighted to see past the outcome of that one event and actually understand how dangerous that precedent is for democracy in NZ ?

                    • lprent []

                      I won’t be happy about it. However there is no higher court. You work with the system that we actualy have rather than some idealized fantasy of how it should be.

                      However I’m of the opinion that the Electoral Commission will say that it wasn’t an electoral advertisement as the law currently stands. I also suspect they probably recommend that the legislation should be changed to cover such cases because it clearly is an election advertisement in reality.

                      In both cases, I would probably do is start to organize support in Labour and outside to change the election rules to better reflect electoral realities. I already have a list of those things I’d like to get changed.

                      The problem with your continual carping is that it is ineffective because it ignores the current actual basis of the constitutional non-structure of NZ by appealing to principles that do not exist in it. Just makes it harder for those of us who are actually interested in getting change through.

                    • burt

                      lprent

                      and I rather suspect he thinks that he should make it, and if not then the AG should make it

                      As someone who calls me stupid I find it incredibly funny that no matter how many time I say that the courts should decide that you can’t remember that position and take cheap shots. Are you intentionally acting like you have a memory of a gold fish or is your memory actually so poor that you can’t remember?

                    • lprent []

                      I am entirely consistent, I suspect you are just thinking of a different constitutional system than our unwritten and very flexible one.

                      Parliament is in fact a court – that is still embedded in the Acts that founded it. In fact in our system it is the highest court in the land. The supreme court is subordinate to it in that it largely provided interpretation of the legal points already debated and judgement rendered upon in parliament. It may be overridden at any point by parliament.

                      So when I look at your statements what I see is you repeatably saying that you want to re-litigate an already settled legal point. Your rationale appears to be because you don’t like the result.

                      I suspect that you are thinking of a system more like one of the constitutional systems, where their highest judiciary is responsible for interpreting the wishes of the writers of a written constitution. However typically the legislators in most constitutional systems will often be able to make amendments to the constitution – so the judiciary is again subordinate.

                    • burt

                      lprent

                      I’m surprised that you will be entirely happy with National deciding when National have broken the law, but as you want to be entirely consistent then I guess you need to take that position.

                      I’ll also be entirely consistent if National do that and I’ll be bagging them till the members that were present and voted to effect that leave parliament.

                      I guess going forward, if National do that, we will be arguing over the same thing again. It will be entertaining to watch you being consistent defending them.

                    • lprent

                      I’m unsure if you’re kind of thick, ill-educated, or deliberately misinterpreting my position* to

                      I’m surprised that you will be entirely happy with National deciding when National have broken the law, but as you want to be entirely consistent then I guess you need to take that position.

                      Bloody hell, it is Parliament. I don’t care if it is National, Labour or the green tooth fairy party. It is Parliament that is preeminent and supreme over law in NZ. That appears to be what you fail to understand.

                      I see that you didn’t understand http://#comment-386131 and http://#comment-386122 and many others which said I wouldn’t be happy about it but that parliament is the law.

                      Consequently when parliament changes the law then it is rather final – at least until parliament changes the law again. With respect to legislation, the judicary can only say that a given law is inconsistent with other law made by parliament. It cannot override parliament. All it can say is the circumstances where the legislation is unclear.

                      There are no laws preventing retrospective legislation, there are just guidelines against it as being a used as a general rule. In the same way that there aren’t laws against the house doing everything under urgency, there are just guidelines against it.

                      The only thing you can do is to vote the buggers who made a legislative change out and put in ones who will make legislative changes that you prefer and then get them to change the legislation.

                      * Based on the way that you seem to keep circling back to the same misconception about ‘laws’ overriding parliament despite the effort that people have taken to explain the actual constitutional and legal positions to you – I’m picking thick (or possibly a religious position)

            • burt 17.2.1.1.1.2

              In your world it is perfectly ok for the Auditor General to collude corruptly (but legally) with one major Party

              That’s a big call ! Let me guess – Bush also blew up the twin towers….

              • fmacskasy

                “National on the other hand seem to have acted within the law but YOU think unethically therefore the law should be discarded and ethics should take precedent.” – Burt

                Ah, do you know how that sounds, Burt? At one time, apartheid laws were sacrosanct in South Africa. However, ethics tooks precedence and those laws were overturned because they were immoral.

                You can have as many laws as you want – but if people don’t respect them, they are worth nothing.

                • burt

                  You can have as many laws as you want – but if people don’t respect them politicians refuse to abide by them, they are worth nothing.

                  There – fixed this back into the correct context for you.

                  Tell us again how it’s OK for parliament to write the laws and decide when politicians have broken the law without calling that situation a dictatorship ?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  As my father said so many years ago Rules are made to be broken. What this means is that rules aren’t perfect and that when they’re broken through the actions of people either legitimately (what was being done was illegal but morally right) or illegitimately (what was being done was legal but immoral) one of the jobs of the courts and parliament is to see how that rule(s) was broken and then try to fix it.

                  Idiots such as burt don’t understand this and think that rules should be set in stone and never changed. On top of that they also seem to equate the law with ethics and morality. In their little universe following the letter of the law is moral no matter how immoral it actually is. I think it may be this latter bit that really confuses them: They seem to view morality as fixed and immutable and that all laws, and thus morals, were written down perfectly centuries ago and so changing the law, in their view, shifts away from morality. There doesn’t appear to be any ability to accept that the laws are wrong.

                  • burt

                    Draco

                    The way to challenge a law when you dispute you did anything wrong is in a court. If the Electoral Commission say Key’s radio slot was an election advert and he says it not – will you be happy with him having the last say.

                    As for me thinking law and ethics are one in the same and should be immutable, shit you are full of it. Bet you are so full of it you can’t see that defending Labour being the judge of when Labour broke the law is an untenable position if you would not defend National doing the same.

                    Or are laws only made to be broken when Labour do it?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Don’t be an ass. We are supposed to have media, judiciary and regulatory systems independent of political influence.

                      The fact that you don’t support those principles is telling.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      If the Electoral Commission say Key’s radio slot was an election advert and he says it not – will you be happy with him having the last say.

                      Except that he won’t will he? He’ll get voted out and the law will be changed to something moral. Although, I don’t think even this overtly corrupt government would actually try to change the law on this if the electoral commission found against them.

                      Or are laws only made to be broken when Labour do it?

                      Laws should be changed when morals and ethics say they should.

            • burt 17.2.1.1.1.3

              Yet here you are almost three years later still panting over a standard, technical piece of Parliamentary process in which a budget was validated in a perfectly normal way.

              in which a budget was validated in a perfectly normal way…

              Either you don’t understand how the budget cycle works or you are willfully spinning crap here.

              Unplanned and/or unauthorised spending is validated in the next budget – not under urgency mid cycle.

              You either need some civics training or you need to stop being an apologist – which is it ?

              • RedLogix

                You may find that the process is a little more complex than that.

                The last paragraph being the relevant one.

                • burt

                  You once again willfully ignore that the Chief Electoral Office (David Henry) sent a written warning about the pledge card and it was ignored. Therefore the last para indeed seems to have the clue about what should have happened.

                  Wherever any such expenses or expenditure is incurred any person or persons responsible may themselves incur liability for the illegality.

                  And I didn’t see any mention of perfectly normal process involving urgency mid budge cycle. Can you please provide a link where that is justified or even a list of precedents that justified Labour not following the normal process.

                  • RedLogix

                    You might want to read the whole para and not just the words that you thought you could selectively quote from.

                    • burt

                      Sure:

                      However, it is likely, where the illegality was perpetrated in good faith (and not, for instance, dishonestly), that Parliament will wish to regularise the position

                      The written warning being ignored kind of stuffs the potential for a “good faith” mistake….

                      Where validation of unappropriated expenses is sought by means of an Appropriation Bill, the Minister of Finance must present a report to the House setting out the amount of each category of expenses or capital expenditure so incurred and the explanation of the Minister responsible for those expenses or that expenditure.

                      We didn’t see such a report….

                      Unless and until validated by Parliament, unappropriated or unauthorised expenses and capital expenditure remain unlawful.

                      And with a court case in action I guess it wasn’t expedient to follow normal process…..

                      But please, you are clearly reading something I can’t see – can you please explain how this para justifies your position “in which a budget was validated in a perfectly normal way… when urgency was used and no details of the overspend were tabled for the period the validations covered (14 years)…

                    • Hi Burt,

                      Yes, retrospectivity does raise serious questions. Some of those are constitutional and are about what, where and how New Zealand’s constitution exists and develops/evolves.

                      For this specific issue, I think there also has to be some non-partisan consideration of the predicament that so many parties found themselves in, and that that predicament concerned 14 years of what you, and some officials, considered to be illegal expenditure.

                      When just about all political parties for the past 14 years have operated in an illegal manner the law is ‘broken’ in more ways than one.

                      In that context, and on good faith, non-partisan assumptions, if Labour ignored the warning of the Chief Electoral Officer it was presumably because – in good faith – they thought he must be wrong, since all parties had understood that such spending was legal. I presume that it is the Auditor General, not the Chief Electoral Officer who has final say over legality – the Chief Electoral Officer had an opinion on that. 

                      Wouldn’t that be a non-partisan, good faith approach to adopt to this unprecedented situation?

                      I should add that If Labour had been the only party to have spent in this manner then I would be a lot more inclined to your view that it amounted to corruption. When (almost) everyone is doing it, that speaks to me of, at worst, groupthink and, at best, genuine belief.

                      Edit: Sorry burt, this was meant to be a response to your response to my first comment in this sub-thread. Messed it up somehow. Hope you get to see it. 

                    • burt

                      Puddleglum

                      if Labour ignored the warning of the Chief Electoral Officer it was presumably because – in good faith – they thought he must be wrong

                      In a democracy the govt don’t get to decide as they go which duly authrosied govt office they get to ignore making the call they broke the law. If we were a dictatorship I would however expect them to think it reasonable to make the call themselves.

                  • Burt, do you think that the law passed by that Parliament to retrospectively legalise 14 years of spending was illegal?

                    I ask, because you have argued that it is the letter of the law that matters (“the law is not a play thing”, etc. – was that on another thread?) not the ethics or morality. If the law was legal (i.e., Parliament did not overstep its legal powers in passing it into law) then, presumably, you would have no problem with it.

                    If the law was illegal then, presumably, you – or anyone else – could start a legal action against Parliament (or whomever the appropriate defendant would be). If you think it was illegal I’d suggest you follow that course of action as it is obviously eating you up.

                    • burt

                      No parliament didn’t break the law using the powers of parliament. They have the “constitutional” right to do that.

                      The key issue I see is: How do you defend against a call of corruption when the following is true;

                      * The process used was irregular in that it was outside of the normal practice (normally done at the next budget)

                      * The people who had the most to loose though it not being done were the same people who did it.

                      * The exact amount was never know.

                      * Senior govt officials who are duly authorised to make such claims made the claim that the law was broken.

                      If (for example) parliament validated spending for Christchurch earthquake victims under urgency then they are acting in the best interests of others and I’m sure few would object – but when they do stuff unconventionally in their own best interests we should all be concerned.

                      This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

                    • burt

                      Puddleglum

                      Put simply, when you are living in a country where the govt of the day decide when the govt of the day has or has not broken the law then you are living in a dictatorship.

                      If you are happy for John Key to decide when John Key has broken the law then join the others defending Labour killing off a court case and validating their actions under urgency to invalidate the AG’s claim they had broken the law.

  18. ak 18

    23/09/51 2.04pm: The body of an elderly man was discovered in a council bedsit in the Dame Helen Clark block in Aro today alongside a worn-out computer. “He was a nice old bloke, a bit selfish maybe but certainly didn’t deserve to die all alone like this,” said a neighbouring tenant who did not wish to be named. “Bit of a loner, never went out much, don’t think there was any family, guess that tattoo of retrospectively validated across his forehead put people off. No one ever had a frigging clue what it meant.”
    A police spokesperson said they were not seeking anyone in connection with the incident but would appreciate any information on the initials AG.

  19. burt 19

    lol

    Guess laughing at me stops you needed to feel so stupid for supporting it because it was your team.

    But perhaps you can ponder this;

    If you are happy for National to decide when National has broken the law then continue to defend Labour for doing just that.

    • fmacskasy 19.1

      Why oh why continually bring the previous Labour government into every discussion? Surely this issue can be judged on it’s own merits.

      Ok, if you want to bring Clark’s administration into it – let’s start talking about Jenny Shipley and her little “lunchtime” meeting with a certain advertising agency…

      How far back shall we go, 1840?

      Y’now, National and it’s supporters are Very Big on taking responsibility…

      But every time National does something dodgy – Nat supporters immediatly go into a default Deflection Mode, and point automatically at Labour.

      I suppose the recent double credit downgrade was Labours’ fault as well?

      Well, in that case, if Labour has to shoulder the responsibility – they should be the government. It’s obvious that National finds it difficult to cope. So National should resign and give power back to Labour- it their responsibility, right?

      • burt 19.1.1

        It’s obviously very important to you that Labour supporters not be laughed at when they seem to think the only valid calls from the ref are the ones that work in their best interests. So sure, lets see what the Electoral Commission has to say.

        How happy are you for the National party to follow Labour’s precedent of overruling any calls the ref makes which they don’t like ?

        If National are called by the Electoral Commission I’ll be demanding they face the music – a bit like I did in 2005/2006. How about you – will it be who did it or what was done that gets you fired up ?

        • fmacskasy 19.1.1.1


          “How happy are you for the National party to follow Labour’s precedent of overruling any calls the ref makes which they don’t like ?”

          Oh dear, you just don’t get it do you?

          Your precious National Party can’t stand on it’s own two feet without invoking Labour? Is Labour so paramount to you that it is the standard by which National must be judged?

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