Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Crashing the party before it starts

103 Responses

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  • Hebe, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    A different issue, surely.

    I would imagine the electoral law drafters would have thought of election year.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2882 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve,

    For the NZ Herald article...

    The Electoral Commission confirmed that it had provided advice to Mr Dotcom.

    So it seems that the Electoral Commission are the source of the legal advice?

    I'm guessing it went like this:
    - Party yay
    - Whaleoiil leak with free wifi detail
    - "Free wifi is a bribe"
    - "If free wifi is a bribe, what about a massive party for 25,000 people?"
    - "Shit."

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 306 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Hebe,

    Will those 15,000 young people vote at all? If Kim had 15,000 old people turning up, that would signal large-scale change

    It's a function of the industry I work in that I meet dozens of young, straight, pākehā men who can best be described as "cyberlibertarians" (as Craig describes above.) They're not, strictly speaking, politically apathetic, but they don't vote currently because they don't care much about (for example) marriage equality, but they do care about civil liberties, narrowly defined as anything that would affect people like themselves. (That's how they see it, anyway.) They could easily get behind this party.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Hebe,

    I would imagine the electoral law drafters would have thought of election year.

    Me too, but given some of the laws that have made it through our parliament, I'm not certain...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    A good reason to keep/extend ballot box voting.

    One of many good reasons to keep ballot box voting. We (collectively, as a species) seem to have forgotten that technology is not the answer to everything and some things actually don't need to be fixed.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2384 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    The clause in question is almost identical to English law dating from the early 19th Century. The UK doesn't really have "election year" - elections are even more at the whim of the PM than here and have been held anything from six months to 4.5 years after the last one (with a hard limit of 5 years).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    So it seems that the Electoral Commission are the source of the legal advice?

    I’m guessing it went like this:
    - Party yay
    - Whaleoiil leak with free wifi detail
    - “Free wifi is a bribe”
    - “If free wifi is a bribe, what about a massive party for 25,000 people?”
    - “Shit.”

    Exactly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If the Party Party is “treating”, where does that leave the Picnic for the Planet organised by the Green Party soon?

    I imagine that the Electoral Commission will continue consider that an event which is primarily political in nature, and which features entertainment as a minor part, is a political event, whereas an event which is primarily entertainment and which has politics as a minor part might be considered to be a gift. The Greens have charged entry to musical events for this reason (though they have had a dual purpose in being fundraisers, justifying a higher ticket price).

    Even were KDC to offer tickets at a low price, it would be possible to argue that they were not being offered at or near their commercial value (if we presume that David Dallas and others are worth paying money for - a not unreasonable assumption).

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    To be an illegal practice, there has to be an element of corruption.

    Traditional party rallies are seen as legal, because the purpose is to promote the party and its policies through a fun event.

    Bribery or treating would seem to require some sort of explicit or tacit understanding that services are being provided in return for a person's vote. I guess this can fall short of swapping a photocopy of a postal ballot for a manila envelope stuffed with cash, but there must be some sort of actual or attempted corrupt bargain, surely?

    It's hard not to think that shere's a subjective standard being applied here: "legitimate" established parties are allowed fund raising rallies, while a new single issue party run by an indicted "Bond villain" doesn't get cut that slack?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Yeah, I can't see how the Greens picnic obviously differs from Dotcom's party.

    Worth noting fundraisers are obviously legal 'cause you aren't giving anything away --- the reverse in fact.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Radio NZ's story:

    Dotcom warned over party plan

    The Electoral Commission says it warned internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom that his birthday and album release party could break electoral law.

    On Thursday afternoon, Mr Dotcom cancelled the free party for about 25,000 people scheduled for Auckland's Vector Arena on Monday.

    The birthday bash was originally intended to include details about his planned political party, the Internet Party, which will contest this year's general election.
    However on Wednesday, Mr Dotcom tweeted that those details would be released on a separate day at another event.

    The Electoral Commission says it emailed Mr Dotcom's legal representative that night, saying despite attempts to distance the event from his political movement, Monday's party could still be seen to be influencing voters.

    The commission warned it could expose those promoting and attending it to the risk of prosecution.

    It strikes me that the "those attending" warning is really ill-advised.

    But mostly: I don't think the Electoral Commission would have bothered here had not Bomber's dumb free wi-fi plan come to light. He's quite the political strategist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hebe,

    Auckland is not the key to this election

    being the largest concentration of voters (and non-voters) it's likely to feature heavily.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    free party for about 25,000 people scheduled for Auckland's Vector Arena

    and good luck with that, given the venue's capacity

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Has a political party ever bought banner ads on a website in NZ? I don't recall ever seeing it, but is that because it could be illegal or is just thought not to work?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Political parties definitely buy facebook ads & they are certainly not illegal.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    This whole thing plays into Dotcom's image and how it will play against his presumed target base though huh. "We just wanted to throw you all a giant party but The Man shut us down"...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    But when you look at an ad supported web page, the deal is that you get free information/entertainment/whatever in return for your eyeballs on the ad.

    How's that different to a sponsored WiFi service?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5543 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Andre Alessi,

    It’s a function of the industry I work in that I meet dozens of young, straight, pākehā men who can best be described as “cyberlibertarians” (as Craig describes above.) They’re not, strictly speaking, politically apathetic

    I know some down here, and you describe them well. Personally, I find them overwhelmingly self-centred in their lives and outlook and I guess their voting patterns would reflect that. They are, when moved, ferociously focused. I could see Kim Dotcom appealing to them, but are they really numerous enough to put his party over 5 per cent?

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2882 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Hmm. There's an intermediary between the party and the voter, and there's a different paradigm we put that case into (i.e advertising.) But I agree it's not super clear where the boundary is --- the Greens give out packets of seeds, and invite you to see Minuit: is that illegal? Why not?

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    the Greens give out packets of seeds, and invite you to see Minuit: is that illegal? Why not?

    poem in that

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19428 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But mostly: I don't think the Electoral Commission would have bothered here had not Bomber's dumb free wi-fi plan come to light. He's quite the political strategist.

    I guess this is what not paying him $8,000 a month gets you.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1704 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Hebe,

    Will those 15,000 young people vote at all?

    Possibly not, but they might all sign a petition stating that they should be allowed to vote online.

    Come to think of it, has anyone seen any hints of what the Internet Party’s policy (if any) might actually be towards Online Voting, given the degree of internet actually involved? It’s not something I’ve ever been able to associate as compatible with a free and fair election, at least in terms of things like guaranteed anonymity and less likelihood of coercion at the time of voting. (Most of it isn't too different from postal voting in many respects, but we don't use postal voting in national elections.)

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1107 posts Report Reply

  • jb, in reply to Craig Young,

    Dangerous to extrapolate local/state election results to a national level. The Pirate Party achieved 2% in the 2012 Federal election and has slipped to those numbers in 2 recent state elections from 13% in May 2012. It's currently not registering AT ALL, having been bunched together with the fringe parties under "Miscellaneous"

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Has a political party ever bought banner ads on a website in NZ?

    I've definitely seen it. United Future bought some ad space (and a blog post) on Kiwiblog last year. And I'm sure other parties have bought internet ads as well.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3188 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to izogi,

    Come to think of it, has anyone seen any hints of what the Internet Party’s policy (if any) might actually be towards Online Voting, given the degree of internet actually involved?

    Whatever it is, it's not going to affect this election.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3188 posts Report Reply

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