Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rethinking the EFA

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  • Raymond A Francis,

    While there are good reasons for a 4 year term I compared to 3 year one am fairly sure some time in the past there was a referendium on this and it was soundly thrashed
    Very little popular support at all
    Think 12 years of your less than favourite party

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 548 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    Hi Raymond

    You are right, the four year term was put to the public, I think in 1990, or near that date, and it was rejected.

    Although I can't speak for the rest of the electorate, this was under First Past the Post; and to my eye, the question was asking if I would like to decrease my say on government by about a third. Given I had almost no say to begin with (although, being in a bell-weather electorate was an advantage, it wasn't much of one), my instinct said 'No way Jose!'

    Perhaps other members of the public agreed with me.

    Under MMP, I don't feel as powerless, and the idea now seems to have merit. But I wouldn't die in a ditch for it.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    This is completely irrelevant...but I saw this Toto video over at the Fundy Post: "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPT_3PEjnsE"

    and I was struck by the singer's resemblance to a young Russell Brown....

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    It is really unfair that a lot of people voted for WP and he didn't get in because his voters are spread out over the country and not just in Tauranga

    Looking back at previous elections, I was surprised to see how many votes NZ First got in previous elections - 17 MPs in 1996!

    But NZ First is undeniably on its way down, which I think is just what we'll get with smaller, personality-led parties under MMP.

    1996 - 17 seats, 276,603 party votes (13.35%)
    1999 - 5 seats, 87,926 party votes (4.26%)
    2002 - 13 seats, 210,912 party votes (10.38%)
    2005 - 7 seats, 130,115 party votes (5.72%)
    2008 - 0 seats, 88,072 party votes (4.21%)

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1878 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    I think if they get an electorate & not 5%, they should only get the electorate seat.

    Well this time I do, ask me after the next election if I feel the same way.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Think 12 years of your less than favourite party

    Somehow, I managed to survive nine years of my less than favourite party without undue trauma. Democracy's like that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12073 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    But, as it has all along, the Herald skips over the reason the EFA was mooted in the first place. There is little point in making all party funding transparent if opaque surrogate organisations can spend the same money without having to declare a thing. There is still a place for regulation of third-party campaigning, even if the definition of what constitutes campaigning for a party needs paring back. And how any cap or oversight could be applied without the "onerous" filling in of a registration form isn't clear to me.

    I believe that there are large swathes of the right who would endorse a particular reform to tackle "opaque surrogate organisations". The Nats could change the definition of what constitutes campaigning to include the value of political work carried out during hours of paid employment or through the use of employee equipment. Such a small reform would do wonders to build support for the EFA amoung the Right.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    With all this talk of the EFA and thresholds and the like no one seems to have noticed the fact that this was the lowest turn out in a nearly a century.

    Now, I know some will put it down to grumpy Labour voters staying home, or the bandwagon effect, or whatever. But observing the disconnect in political systems in Europe that use PR I wonder if we are seeing some sort of law of unintended MMP consequences going on here.

    Perhaps the perceived convergence of the two main parties towards the centre means voter's think they no longer have a home for their tribal identities, so they disengage from the political process?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1825 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Oh and Mikaere, congrats on your part in running a great campaign.

    Cheers. In some ways, the Green campaign was as much internal as it was external, in that it seemed to develop an increased sense of cohesiveness.

    On reflection the EFA didn't have much that much impact on my campaign. All our material had to have authorisation, which meant a slightly slower process for getting things signed off.

    Plus, I had to wear an authorisation badge if I wanted to wear my Green Party Tee Shirt from the 2005 campaign.

    What I find interesting is Goff is now saying that any modifications to the EFA should be done with cross-party support.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 461 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    Having been involved in the campaign for a party this year, I'm not aware of anything we wanted to do and couldn't due to the EFA.

    If anything had a chilling effect on this election it was:

    1. The two larger parties refusing to debate with anyone else

    2. Some in the media deciding that the minor parties didn't matter and giving them minimal coverage.

    3. The Herald, in particular, refusing to print any good news about the Labour lead government, leaving them with little to write about. A change to CFLs that would save Kiwis hundreds of millions of dollars became - erroneously, as it turns out a campaign to save dimmer switches and chandeliers in Remuera. The fact that the dole was down to 17,500 - lowest in 30 years - was ignored by the Herald.

    If the Herald wants insight into who played a role in chilling debate in the election, they need only look in the mirror.

    I understand they would have had to do this in order to claim debate had been chilled....and they have a monopoly on 1.4 million people read in their newspapers every day.

    That's a problem that also needs addressing.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Now, I know some will put it down to grumpy Labour voters staying home, or the bandwagon effect, or whatever.

    I'll throw a few more into the mix: polls which made it seem like it was a foregone conclusion, and parties which hugged their opponents so tightly that it made it seem like nothing was at stake. As 2005 and 1999 showed, people turn out when they think it matters. Key's triumph is based on making people think politics - and him - are irrelevant.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1668 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    The Onehunga house story reminds me of the scorched earth Prebble's Act-olytes left in Auckland Central in 1992, after Prebble was defeated there.

    We lived in Grey Lynn when Richard Prebble held Auckland Central. In 1984 we held our Labour Party election night party at the Trade Union Centre on Gt Nth Rd. Next door is Trades Hall. Several hundred people attended the election night party at the TUC. But where was our MP? By chance someone lifted the sheets of brown paper we used for recording results and there - just a sheet of glass away - in a small room in Trades Hall sat Richard Prebble and beside him his ever present minder, Gene Leckey and perhaps two others, or even three. Perhaps they were sipping tea. Perhaps they sat around a cardboard flagon of wine. I leave it to your imagination. The people's advocate - distanced, as ever, from his people while also proposing the winding down of the party branch structure and recommending instead that the party pay consultants to do the electioneering.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Somehow, I managed to survive nine years of my less than favourite party without undue trauma. Democracy's like that.

    Craig, my reaction to this statement is in two parts.

    1. Fair enough. It's true the world still spins and much of your life, which is in fact influenced by as many non-political matters as it is by political ones, may be unaffected.

    2. For some, a change of government can be more significant. Potentially immediately so, and I don't mean the Pre Secs. National will fund heceptin, that's going to be well received by many, but I remain concerned about low-income earners and the unemployed.

    Cheers. In some ways, the Green campaign was as much internal as it was external, in that it seemed to develop an increased sense of cohesiveness.

    Mikaere, like Labour in 1996? I don't mean to be provocative, but I'm sorry Nandor's no longer in the party. Please don't feel the need to respond or divulge any deep-dark-party-secrets, I simply think he was a great voice for a particular constituency.

    What I find interesting is Goff is now saying that any modifications to the EFA should be done with cross-party support.

    I think, tactically at least, Goff needs to be seen to be different from the former leadership. Whether the new National/Act/UF/Maori goverment is able or willing to compromise is another matter.

    If the Herald wants insight into who played a role in chilling debate in the election, they need only look in the mirror.

    Nicely put Steve.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2239 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    We lived in Grey Lynn when Richard Prebble held Auckland Central . . .

    A good story verbwrangle. I lived 16 years in Prebble's electorate, and never bothered to vote, except once, for Bruce Jesson. In my last election spent there, in 1990, a besuited Prebble appeared on a soapbox - or something resembling one - right outside my front gate in Freeman's Bay, and delivered a speech to a sprinkling of curious onlookers. None of them ventured beyond their front gates apart from a pair of teenage guys who steadily heckled him from a distance. Like most of the onlookers I lost interest, but the last I saw Prebble had descended from his box and was holding a conversation with the two yobboes.

    I wonder, was this a one-off, or did he used to occasionally become possessed by the spirit of John A Lee?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • JohnAmiria,

    Now, I know some will put it down to grumpy Labour voters staying home, or the bandwagon effect, or whatever.

    I'll throw a few more into the mix: polls which made it seem like it was a foregone conclusion, and...

    But the two could be linked. I've long believed (off the top of my head) that when ppl feel 'their team' is going to lose they don't go out and vote. In that way they're absolved of feeling like 'a loser'. Illogical I know, but if they don't vote then they don't have to worry about being aligned with the losing team.

    Which is why parties work hard to project them selves as winners prior to voting. In National's case the polls said they were going to win, and this was spun into 'winning handsomely' and viola! it happened.

    This logic also works when deciding if/when to support a kiwi sports team. Unless they've got no hope of winning, in which case everyone gets behind them because the outcome doesn't matter.

    Not sure if it applies to this tho':
    Low Maori voter turnout

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Nicely put, Steve.

    Seconded, but what can be done about it?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Seconded, but what can be done about it?

    Cancel your sub?

    But seriously, at kiwiblogblog, a commentator called redlogix, observed that the NZHerald had entirely neutered itself as a potential critic of Key/National having been so biased in its coverage of National. He was right.

    I suspect it's because the Herald feels far more money can be made by being having copy supplied by NZPA and running advertorials. News, unbiased reporting of polics, investigative journalism; nah, too hard!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2239 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall,

    I really think it discourages people from running a little campaign unless they are professional politcals.

    For example I might want to put up a website or a few posters advocating an issue or a party.

    I'd have to publish my home address ( which is nicely situated for people to throw rocks through my bedroom windows)

    I'd have to understand ( just about get a legal opinion) if I was allow to encourage people to vote for a particular party. Would I need permission? Would I need to record my spending etc?

    So the simple weekends exercise of putting up a website becomes something that exposes me to a financial, legal and even physical risk. Which is really just a bit hard for a single person who just cares about an issues but doesn't really want the fallout from setting up a little website to dominate their life for the next year or two.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Mikaere, like Labour in 1996? I don't mean to be provocative, but I'm sorry Nandor's no longer in the party. Please don't feel the need to respond or divulge any deep-dark-party-secrets, I simply think he was a great voice for a particular constituency.

    Maybe, I was on my OE back then and "teh internets" hadn't really kicked in. I didn't even know there was a Hard News email subscription service. So my experience of the 1996 campaign was to read a policy overview of the major parties at NZ House in Haymarket and then cast a special vote.

    I do not think it is provocative to point out that Nandor had a special constituency. He was a great MP and was able to communicate with people that most MPs would prefer to ignore.

    No dark secrets, he decided of his own accord to unshackle himself from "the prison we make of Time" and get back to a non-parliamentary lifestyle.

    I remember one time we were protesting outside the French Embassy when they were conducting tests at Mururoa Atoll, when Nandor happened to be riding past. He stopped to lend support, and ended up giving the protest organisers a 101 on how to conduct campaigns. I was duly impressed. In retrospect, it seems a fully Nandor thing to happen. He's a natural leader.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 461 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Simon:
    - if your website takes the form of a blog, then you need no attribution or anything else.

    - NZ is not the kind of place where people break each others windows for their political ideas

    - You can't say "Vote National". You can say "Vote for a change for the worse" or "don't vote Labour"

    - You can spend up to $1000 without attribution or anything else

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4501 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    s/attribution/registration

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4501 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I really think it discourages people from running a little campaign unless they are professional politcals.

    I think the opponents of the EFA managed to create an atmosphere of doubt over whether you could engage in good faith campaigning without fear of prosecution.

    I might have missed it, but did any court actions take place at the behest on anyone who was for the EFA ? Seems to me that the ones who spoke out loudest about it restricting freedom of expression were precisely the ones who used it to do exactly that.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 461 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Mikaere, thanks for your candor.

    My reference to 1996 was about the way Labour reacted to NZF going with National despite feigning interest in governing with Labour. I recall the night of Winston dramatic announcement - what a completely self-indulgent wanker he was/is.

    After too long spent in low-level factional infighting, they regrouped and gelled into a very effective Opposition that exploited the weak National/NZF government. It seemed to me, and I was briefly working with the Research Unit, that Labour's sense of common purpose and policy agenda solidified around an incredibly competent front bench.

    I sense that Labour will again quickly regroup. The simple and effective transfer to Goff and King plus the new intake is a perfect platform. I hope the Greens feel similarly energised as you seem to suggest they are, they ran a great campaign.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2239 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Interesting thought Mikaere.

    - NZ is not the kind of place where people break each others windows for their political ideas

    Rich in Observationz, while I'm not disputing that. I am reminded of the story of my late great grandfather, who was evicted from the family farm and subsequently lost his inheritance for not voting National way back when.

    While Obviously he didn't take due care in protecting himself from such an eventuality, I think that our right to relative anonymousness whether in the vote or the campaign or even on the streets, is a right better protected by not requiring political action comes with a residential address affixed.

    Was reminded of this recently reading an article on stuff abut some political family, where both the father was campaigning against the son and they were both having a go at the daughter on which way to vote, and reminded that somehow it's those closest to us that we need to keep our political leanings most hidden from and furthermore, the person who would most easily recognize a campaigner etc from an address, would be someone most familiar to them.

    Yo take this out to the furthest reaches of the branch, obviously there are documented connections between All BlackĀ® losses and domestic violence, but I'm wondering if anyone has done the study to correlating the election season and domestic violence.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1707 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Sorry, that should read great-grandfather.

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1707 posts Report Reply

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