Archive for July 2007

Lying OK in Labour

July 31, 2007

David Farrar has a good post here about how David Benson-Pope lied to Helen Clark about his role in the Setchell sacking, but after Helen Clark found out, she did not sack him until the media found out Benson-Pope was lying. The moral of the story according to Farrar is in Labour “you don’t get sacked for lying. You get sacked for being caught by the media in a lie”. This principle is not new in Labour. The same moral can apply to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers money for pledge cards to help win an election.

Danger of releasing policy too early

July 30, 2007

Earlier this month I blogged about the danger of an opposition party releasing its policy details too early. In Labour adopting National’s policy of spending all petrol tax money on roads, we see an example of these dangers, with Labour taking the credit for what was a National policy.

Personally, I see this as good news, because I agree with the policy, and Benson-Pope and other stories have kept the issue from much media attention. But it does show as an example of what might happen if National was to release too much policy now.

David Benson Pope sacked

July 30, 2007

David Benson-Pope has been forced to resign from Cabinet. This follows the unravelling of his lies that he knew no details of the sacking of Ms Setchell, and he didn’t express any opinion to anyone about her employment, and was not involved in the phone call from his office to Hugh Logan about Ms. Setchell’s employment, with it being revealed that at least four phone calls were made, and he expressed an opinion that he would be less “free and frank” in the prescense of Ms. Setchell. I didn’t buy his lies from the very begining, and I personally suspect that he said much more about the topic than him being less likely to be free and frank, but I have no way of proving these things. My fear is that with Benson-Popes head claimed, the matter will end. The reality is that it is perfectly possible (and I suspect) that Ms. Setchell was sacked on Benson-Popes orders, because she would get to know too much about a large taxpayer funded vote Labour government information campaign to promote Labour’s clean and Green credentials next election. I feel that there should be a full investigation into the issue, and the reinstatement of Ms. Setchell into her job. And the reason why Helen Clark forced Benson-Pope to resign was not here disgust at what happened, in fact I wouldn’t be suprised if Clark was involved in the sacking of Ms. Setchell, rather it was because he had become a huge political inconveniance for Labour.

Labour lies about Anti-Free Speech Bill

July 28, 2007

In the first reading of the anti-free speech Bill, Mark Burton gave two reasons for continuing to allow anonymous donations. The first was that it was too dififcult to find words to ban them. This is a lie, as they have words to ban anonymous donations to third partiers in the Bill, and they can easily put new sections into the bill to cover parties, similar to sections 44 and 45 which cover thied party donations.. The second reason is that it would need cross party consensus to implement such a ban. This is a lie, as with the sole exception of the Labour party, and possibly Act, there is already a cross party consensus. Also, Labour needs a cross party consensus to ban anonymous donations, but doesn’t need one for a far bigger law change, involving silencing critics of the government by banning them from spending more than $60 000 in a whole year criticising the government. Also Helen Clark has already given the real reason- Labour needs anonymous donations to fund itself.

The Pinacle of Hypocrisy

July 27, 2007

The level of hypocrisy, corruption, and dishonesty we see from this Labour led government today is without precedent in our countries history, but in the Anti-Free Speech Bill it reaches new heights. In recent months Labour has criticised National heavily over its acceptance of large anonymous donations (never mind that Labour did the same thing, and the anonymopus donors paid for anonymous donations out of their own pocket, not the taxpayers pocket like Labour did for its pledge card).  Now the Anti-Free Speech Bill Electoral Finance Bill keeps these anonymous donations legal. David Farrar suggested that this was due to poor political management and failure to get the numbers required. I predicted (see comment 4 here that the real reason was Labour relised the impact banning anonymous donations would have on their own funding so decided to drop it. It turns out I was right. The hypocrisy is almost unbelievable. This presents National with a golden opportunity to attack Labour by proposing an ammendment in the committee stage banning anonymous donations channeled through trust funds, and watch Labour vote it down.

There is significent merit in banning anonymous donations above $10 000, by requiring money channeled through trusts to be be given to the electoral commision if the source of the trust money is not disclosed (as the Bill requires in the case of trust donations to third parties), namely that it allows the public to see who is funding parties and prevents corruption, but I oppose any limit to reduce the $10 000 limit on anonymous donations that aren’t channeled through trusts, largely because of a right to privacy, the fact that $10 000 does not buy any real influence in a party as its only a fraction of what parties spend in an election, and the fact that if you are a public servant you may loose your job if Labour wins and you are caught giving money to National. What is extremely hypocritical is the way the explanatory note of the Bill (see page 3) claims onr of the purposes of the Bill is to “prevent the undue influence of wealth” and “provide transperancy and accountability to minimise the perception of corruption”, both being aims that would be served by banning anonymous donations.

But the hypocrisy does not end there. The Bill contains a ban on anonymous donations over only $500 to third parties, including those channeled through trust funds. This means that if a person was to have $1 000 501 and wanted to spend thast money by putting it in a trust fund, with the trust to give $1 000 000 to the National Party to hand out pamphlets criticising Labour, and $501 to the exclusive brethren to hand out pamphlets criticising Labour, the $1 000 000 given to National could remain secret, but the $501 given to the exclusive brethren would be public for everyone to know about. Also, while third parties are banned from spending more than a paltry $60 000 in 11 months (enough for only 4 full page newspaper adds in major newspapers) criticising the government, the government can spend as much as it wants in working for families adds, and other “public information” campiagns to assisit in Labour’s re-election (which is the real purpose of the Bill).

Finally, amongst the other purposes of the Bill, according to its explanatory note are to “reflect our unique political culture and enviroment” (which it wil certainly do, we have a political culture that is very unique outside of Zimbabwe and North Korea, charactised by corruption, a ruling party that is above the law, and changes the law for its own partisan purposes, and now the suppression of free speech at election time, which will be well reflected in this bill), “prevent the undue influence of wealth” (while doing nothing to restrict the undue influemce of the governments vote Labour information campaigns on issues like Kiwisaver and working for families), “mantain public and political confidence … in elections” (by a partisan rewrite of election laws designed to benefit one political party (Labour) and muzzle criticism of the government) and most hypocritically “promote participation in parliamentary democracy” by banning people from spending more than $60 000 in an election year on free speech criticisng the government.

Best times still ahead of us

July 27, 2007

In a interview with Bill Ralston, published in the Listener July 21-27, John Key says he believes New Zealand’s best times are ahead of it. He said “I personally think the best 20 to 30 years are in front of New Zealand”. He claims this is partly because of growing demand for our products from China, and good dairy prices. Key has gotten rich as a foreign currency trader, so must know a fair bit about economics. Lets hope he is right.

Anti-Free Speech bill passes first reading

July 26, 2007

the Anti-Free Speech Bill Electoral Finance Bill has just passed its first reading. There are some very good posts on it here and here and here and here, which tell you all you need to know about what it says. The bill is very long, 94 pages, so I’ve got a lot of reading to do over the weakend. It is the biggest attack on free speech in the history of the country, and effectively bans anyone from criticising the government during election year. It will be opposed and hopefully defeated. Expect to hear a lot more about it on this blog in the future.