Sunday, May 28, 2006
... But if anything I've seen about the police report into the Nats is true (I haven't looked) then the Brethren repeatedly tried to get an endorsement from Brash (bad idea from campaign spending POV) - so the Nat campaign DID know it was coming.I may be overplaying the NPA thing - saw a reference from during the campaign but I can't say for sure how it panned out.
Given the Newspaper Publishers Association made Labour sign off on union ads supporting pro-union parties generally - and that to me the brethren's campaign we 'obviously' supporting National at least as obviously as Labour's Pledge card was electioneering - I can't help thinking they should ALL have been prosecuted.
That's the bulk of a post I did[n't - Ed] bother writing recently, BTW.
On a peripheral point, lately I've been wondering what National's spending outside the campaign period adds up to...
Other things from that post: there was National's 'accidental' overbooking of TV ads by the amount of GST (the next result, I think was that the TV stations got stiffed). We might charitably conclude this resulted from National's lack of a contract with their booker. Is that how they plan to run a government?
As for misuing the parliamentary leader's fund - how one can promote oneself without electioneering during an election period is an old problem. If Bhatnagar's blog was still there and I had the energy, I could show you a pamphlet Rodney Hide put out in Epsom with the Parliamentary crest prior to the election (I'm not sure if it fell in the relevant period) that, without actually asking you to vote for Rodney, did supply what could be view as reasons why you should. I recall Aaron though it was clever. It could be viewed as a small-scale, cheap, ugly, yellow version of the pledge card.
ACT also had those 'cheeky' billboard where they pretended to a National endorsement and people like to imply a suspicious proportion of ACT's national campaign spending happened in Epsom. And had a confusing expanation of why the Parliamentry crest appeared on Rodney's car's paintjob.
All this doesn't cancel out Labour's overspend. Unless of course you add the Brethren stuff to the Nats. Anyway, the waters do appear to be genuinely muddy; if not a problem with the rules, systemic problems with their enforcement.
My overall point is that certain people who throw around talk of buying an election, and some of the people who complain about rorting, shouldn't throw stones. Labour got away with stuff. So did other people.
I think there should have been prosecutions. The public interest angle carries a bunch of weight. And there are issues that seem to require a court to draw the line. Not that courts always do a good job on elections.
Look at Tauranga.
Apparently you can in fact use your own commercial property and relationships to minimise your expenses. This came as a surprise to many. And the judgment would seem to favour the parties with their own money (who might that be?). It also contained sufficient decisions on matters of fact that could have made the difference and seem to have been decided arbitrarily - from accepting a low value for screenwriting a van to deciding the proportion of his newspaper spread attributable to his campaign - that Winston having to pay costs is utterly ridiculous.
Technically I am supporting Winston Peters here. In effect. But then, as someone who has in the past photoshopped the face of a world leader onto a swimsuit model for the cover of a student magazine, I've found myself in agreement with Wayne Mapp recently too. In effect.
New Hood:Satire: National's Labour Spin Machine Spin Machine Following the discovery of a confidential Labour discussion document on communications, National MPs have slammed the Government's approach as "all spin and no substance" for one of the paper's suggestions: that repeating phrases again and again can be used to control the media debate."This is Labour up to is old tricks," said Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee, "Once again Helen Clark and spin doctors on the ninth floor are trying to pull the wool over taxpayers' eyes. It's yet more PC nonsense from a Prime Minister that refuses to be held to account for her big government, anti-business policies.Read the rest...
Actually Also New Hood:Billboard Jamming 101 National has new billboards. One feels obliged to mash them up, but frankly, they're not all that inspiring. Since their Internet release, the ripfest has not been furious. The campaign itself seems familiar, but diminished.
Click for big version
See the others...