Archive for the ‘Corruption’ category

The dirty tricks campaign to defend the EFA

June 5, 2008

The Greens and Labour, having rewritten our electoral laws to their own partisan political advantage, are realising that the public backlash against their dirty tricks, is greater than any benefit they may receivefrom silencing potential opponents with the Act. And partly as a result, they are staring at defeat in the ballot box this election. The whole purpose of the Electoral Finance Act, was not to end the practice of secret donors giving money to parties through trust funds, but help Labours partisan political advantage. When the initial Bill came out, it completely ignored secret donors, instead going overboard in silencing “third parties” (anyone who might run a campaign against Labour). Although the Bill was improved at select committeestage, secret donations are4 still allowed, they just are called “protected donations” and are channelled through the Electoral Commission instead of trusts. And tight restrictions on third parties still remain.

With their bid to steal the election through gerrymandering election spending laws to their advantage set to fail, these parties now face the prospect of a National Goverment (elected ironically as part of a backlash against the EFA) repealing the EFA (something which can’t come soon enough), and introducing new, more sensible electoral finance laws. In order to stop this from happening, the Greens are proposing to set up a sham “citizens jury” on state funding of political parties.

And this proposal is not just one of their wacky dreams. It turns out that 4.3 million dollars have been allocated in the budget for the citizens jury. And it was part of a previous agreement between Labour and the Greens. The terms of reference and advisors to the comittee have not been finalised, but don’t be the least bit surprised if they are done in order to help Labour and the Greens.

A good summary of what a citizens jury is, is availiable here. In short, a group of people are picked randomly from the electoral role, and “educated” (or in this case, brainwashed) on the issues by a group of “experts” (don’t be surprised if Mark Burton, Mike Williams or people like them end up as the experts, and lets admit they are experts. They are experts at dirty tricks) and then consult and come up with conclusions, which are then turned into law. Citizens juries are quite good in theory, as they are independent, represent the general population, and enable ordinary people to participate in the process. Ensuring they have non-biased advice (remember they are selected at random from amongst the country, and thus generally people not highly educated on politics) and truly representative is important.

Anyone with an education in politics can see that the citizens jury in this case is a mask to disguise a pro-Labour comittee as a independent comittee. For a start, if Labour and the Greens really beleived in citizens juries, why didn’t they have one on the EFA before it was introduced? Because they might not have liked its conclusions. Mike Williams in a forum on election funding said we already have a citizens jury, “it’s called Parliament”. This summarises their entire attitude to electoral law. No place for the ordinary people involved (rememeber the retrospective legislation for the pledge card Bill was placed under urgency, so as to deny ordinary people to have a say on it), only those who are elected representatives of the peopel, with the right to rewrite electoral finance laws a bauble of office.

So why have they changed their mind now. Because the New Zealand people might elect a different, less corrupt group of people to represent them in Novemeber (and the election will be in November, as that way will enable Clark and her cronies to cling to the power they love for the longest period of time). The Greens want to fast track the jury, to start and be set up before the election, so that National won’t be able to influence it. And then the jury, with it’s pro-Labour advisors will be brainwashed into reporting what Labour and the Greens want (state funding) and these parties will then use the report of this “independent panel” as a basis for opposing National’s repeal of the Electoral Finance Act (a promise, which they, as National has publicly stated its intentions in this area before the election (something Labour never did), will have a clear public mandate to carry out) and in doing so, subvert the democractic will of the New Zealand people who voted National to get rid of the EFA.

As David Farrar writes, “everything about this is being done the wrong way. The outcome has been predetermined. Instead of being set up in a bipartisan fashion on matters such as the type of electoral system, it has been set up to deliver just one result-increased taxpayer funding of political parties. Labour and the Greens both want that outcome, tried to do it through the EFA, and having somewhat failed are now trying to do it again.”

When dealing with electoral law issues, Labour have a clear record of corruption. We have gone under them, from the early election (2002, held under the utterly preposterous excuse that 11 minutes each day of points of order on the status of the Alliance made Parliament unmanageable), to the cancelled election (the by-election in New Plymouth that never happened, due to Labour passing retrospective legislation enabling Harry Duynhoven to keep his illegal seat in Parliament he resigned by reaplying for Dutch citizenship), to the stolen election (2005 with the pledge card after three warnings from the Chief Electoral Officer previously it was illegal, need we say anything more) to the silent election (this one, with the third parties silenced by the EFA). As Farrar continues, “Labour are quite simply corrupt when it comes to electoral law issues, and any process which involves them as Government choosing the expert panel which advises the Citizen’s Jury should be treated as naked self interest. Hell Mike Williams will probably end up as chair.”

Fortunately, we already have a citizens jury in this country. One that is advised through a free press, was previously advised through the free speech of political and third parties, and consists of 4 million people. And I look forward to that jury giving its verdict on Labour and the Greens come election day.

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.

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.

Cronyism and corruption rife within Labour

July 24, 2007

The Dominion Post has a good editorial (although a week old) about cronyism within Labour, detailing the appointment of Ross wilson to be chairperson of the ACC, and the sacking of Ms Setchell from a job within the enviroment ministry, due to the fact her partner worked for National Party leader John Key. the latter case has got a large amount of media attention (which it deserves), particularly on the role of David Benson-Pope in her sacking (on which I will blog more latter). This comes after a case of someone being sacked for seeking nomination to be a National MP. There is a real threat to the neutrality of the public service here.

What is extremely distirbing is the possibility that cases like these are linked to Labours plans to change campaign expenditure laws in its own favour, and embark on a massive taxpayer funded re-election campaign. If what insolent prick says is true, we should be very frightened.

Theatre skills wanted

June 19, 2007

David Farrer has come up with an excellent idea. If you are wondering if its satire David denies it in the comments section. It is to produce a play about the way the Labour Party stole my tax money to break a number of laws including the Electoral Act, and lied to the Chief Electoral Officer, in order to steal an election. If I was Farrar, I would include in the play the Police descison not to prosecute, Labour’s refusal to pay the money back until forced to do so by public pressure, and the “validating” retrospective legislation to wipe out a lawsuit against them. I would also have the play start in 1999 with the descison to use public money for electioneering and lie to the New Zealand people by putting on the brochure acompanying the card “this plege card was funded by supporters of the Labour Party”. Also nice to be covered would be helen Clark talking about integrety, and then constantly spinning the truth to avoid having to repay the stolen money. The play could be called The Hollow Women: A study in the politics of corruption but The Pledge Card could be a better title. It could be classified as “horror”. One thing the play could do is show New Zealanders the shocking truth that our Government is the most corrupt in the Western World delibrately conspired to break our electoral laws, pass legislation to wipe out a lawsuit against it, and lied not only to the New Zealand People but our Chief Electoral Officer. these reasons alone should give anyone a good reason to vote Labour out in 2008.

People with relevant experience should e-mail David at david@farrar.com.

Field to be prosecuted for “trying to be helpful to someone” and “working hard on behalf of his constituents”

May 26, 2007

The police have decidied to prosecute Taito Phillip Field for “trying to be helpful to someone” and “working hard on behelf of his constituents” 14 counts of bribery. It is very good that the police have decided to prosecute as it shows even a non-Labour MP is not above the law.

It is important to remember that the following statement was made by Helen Clark when the allegations against Field came to light. “I think the only thing he is probably guilty of is trying to be helpful to someone.” After a independent inquiry which was very damning of Field, Micheal Cullen said “Mr Field …. works incredibly hard on behalf of his constituents. … He works harder on those matters than I suspect the entire National Party caucus on constituency cases. If that is what he is guilty of, then I am sure he is happy to plead guilty to working hard on behalf of his constiuents”. It is also important to remember that the reason he was expelled from labour wasnt because of his corruption and bribery, or the fact he lied to the Ingram inquiry, or that he exploited the poor vulnerable workers labour pretends to help, but because he hinted he might not stand for Labour.

What should come as a suprise is not the governments tolerance of corruption. This is to be expected from a government that stole $800 000 from the taxpayer for electioneering, refused to pay the money back until forced to do so by public pressure, and finally passed retrospective legislation to legalise the theft of such money. Labour’s failure to punisg field for lying to the ingram inquiry should come as no suprise from a party that put out a pledge card accompanied by a brochure, paid for using stolen tapayers money in 1999, with the brochure saying “this card was paid for and delivered by Labour supporters” (see the speech by Don Brash here). What should come as a suprise is that an MP is actually going to be prosecuted for breaking the law, after choosing not to prosecute for stealing $800 000 of taxpayers money and election overspending by a massive 33%, paintergate or Benson-pope putting a tenis ball in someones mouth, despite prima farcie cases in all three times. But since Field’s no longer a Labour MP, it should come as no suprise, given that National MP Shane Arden was prosecuted for driving a tractor up the steps of Parliament.