Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: All is Forgiven, or: The Happy Consensus

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I'm amazed that advertising has any effect at all on the vote outcomes.

    You can see how it would. You don't follow politics, but you like tax cuts for the rich. National has ads in which it promises tax cuts of a sort you like, so you vote National.

    The advertising didn't change your view, so much as give you enough information to take your view and work out which voting option is best for it.

    Does anyone disagree about an equal spending cap for all parties? Apart from the 2 main beneficiaries?

    There was a comment from someone a few posts up which indicated that they did. And the Greens apparently do, too. Although Rod Donald didn't =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    You can see how it would.

    I can see how it could, at least. It just seems weird that I've never heard anyone say they made the decision based on advertising. Even people who aren't into politics seem to have better sources of information than that. Discussions of the merits of the various advertising campaigns seem to center around the affect they will have on other people .

    I'd guess that the angle taken by major media would be a way bigger factor.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    In general I see democracy as a market place of ideas - not of money - a good idea isn't necessarily the one with the most money behind it. If the people are to choose fairly between all the ideas on offer they need to get equal exposure.

    So mostly I think everyone should get the same amount of TV/radio time - how we go about that is the problem of course. I think one can reasonably argue that there are a class of ideas that can be excluded (let's call those "lone nutter ideas") and so having a minimum constituency (ie a party of a minimum size) backing the idea is reasonable - after that why should the National party's tax plan get more air time than the Legalise Cannabis folks? - both are ideas that need public scrutiny at an election

    More importantly why should the National tax plan which might be assumed to benefit those with money get more airtime than Labour's that might benefit those without

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If parties (and others) can just pay for political advertising on TV, then it's pretty clear that parties such as ACT (using money from big business) and small religious groups (using money extorted from their followers) will be able to spend up disproportionately.

    If on the other hand TV advertising was given out in equal share per party, then any party getting 500 signatures (or maybe anyone standing as an independent MP) would get the same amount of TV advertising as Labour or National.

    Neither of these seems fair to me, so the current system appeals as a compromise. (Of course, if you believe that the rich have a right to spend big to buy elections, then that trumps everything).

    Alternatively, banning political TV advertising would indeed be a good alternative option.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    What about factoring in all the free advertising in the media in the quota? Like that fishing guy who took John Key out fishing on prime time television just before the election and raved about him - almost advertorial.

    I heard that once upon a time print news used to count up column inches of mentions of political parties and try and allocate roughly a balance (although it didn't matter whether it was positive or negative comment, and I have rarely read an editorial sympathetic to the left).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I think that if you are of the opinion that the Greens ought have the same allowance as the National Party, you surely have to have the opinion that the Socialist Workers'* ought get the same allowance, and the anarchists, and the Posadaists and so-on.

    I mean, requiring a registered party is merely another way to strap the chicken.

    I also think that the cap and allowance should be identical, and would prefer an uneven cap with identical allowance to an even cap without identical allowance.

    (Not the workers' party, but the CPNZ continuing.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I have rarely read an editorial sympathetic to the left

    Then you must rarely read editorials. The New Zealand Herald in particular seems to be all over the place.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Graeme, I meant editorials of the major dailies around election time. In 1987 they were supportive of Labour, not surprisingly, but very rarely since.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    There was a comment from someone a few posts up which indicated that they did. And the Greens apparently do, too. Although Rod Donald didn't

    I took your word for this, until I failed to find said comment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Well, I didn't want to pick on anyone, but it was Keir:

    I don't think that if the allocation & cap is inequitable it ought be replaced by a higher cap and yet not a higher allocation.

    And later:

    I also think that the cap and allowance should be identical, and would prefer an uneven cap with identical allowance to an even cap without identical allowance.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The New Zealand Herald in particular seems to be all over the place.

    The New Zealand Herald - selling cluelessness as journalistic balance since (at least) 1997.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Yeah who knows - maybe the public will decide that the socialist workers ideas are better than the greens, or the nats - it's a marketplace: the best ideas should win on their own not because they have more capital behind them

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    The New Zealand Herald - selling cluelessness as journalistic balance since (at least) 1997.

    Blogging twitterers wrote my editorial for me. 140 caricatures or less.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Yeah who knows - maybe the public will decide that the socialist workers ideas are better than the greens, or the nats - it's a marketplace

    Ah, the irony!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the best ideas should win on their own not because they have more capital behind them

    Money is treated as a proxy for level of support. The right believes the playing field is already level, so each party ought to be able to spend as much support as they can raise through their own deserving hard work.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Money is treated as a proxy for level of support.

    Here? I'd have said it was all about poll ratings in New Zealand. In the US fundraising is a pretty good proxy for support because:

    1. only individual citizens can donate to candidates; and
    2. such donations are limited to $2000.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    If Labour gets to spend $1 million on radio and TV advertising, everyone else should be too. Anything less is strapping the chicken.

    if you are of the opinion that the Greens ought have the same allowance as the National Party, you surely have to have the opinion that the Socialist Workers'* ought get the same allowance, and the anarchists, and the Posadaists and so-on.

    You forgot National Front. I'm sure we'd love to see them getting taxpayer dollars to produce election material, right...?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Here? I'd have said it was all about poll ratings in New Zealand. In the US fundraising is a pretty good proxy for support because:

    1. only individual citizens can donate to candidates; and
    2. such donations are limited to $2000.

    Unless you count 527 money.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'd have said it was all about poll ratings in New Zealand

    Doubt it - hence the discrepancy between Act's funding and poll ratings. All the fuss about third party funding would be meaningless if you were correct. Likewise your assertion that broadcast advertising does not affect votes seems untrue (especially given the sophistication of mass messaging and ongoing positioning these days).

    I agree influence is multi-factorial so there's no one-to-one correlation. Many small contributions and volunteer feet on the street have some balance against a few large financial donations (which can then be used to buy feet on street, research, non-restricted advertising throughout the cycle, etc).

    Given the parlous state of our media, it seems reasonable that the relative impact of crafted political messages on voters would be increasing rather than decreasing. Fortunately, authenticity still counts for something.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    the best ideas should win on their own not because they have more capital behind them

    ...and other utopian ideals. Of course I agree, but, umm, America?
    Free speech is also about who has the loudest megaphone.

    This seemed apposite. Obama Assails Supreme Court Ruling On Political Advertising.

    1. only individual citizens can donate to candidates; and
    2. such donations are limited to $2000.

    Maybe in theory, and not in every state, as I understand the 1990 ruling allowed States to ban corporate financing, but that Supreme Court ruling, mentioned above, looks set to erode the 'levelling' that occurred, at least in some states.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Maybe in theory, and not in every state, as I understand the 1990 ruling allowed States to ban corporate financing...

    I was talking about federal limits. I don't know enough about each individual state's system to paraphrase the 51 different systems in two lines of a comment =)

    Unless you count 527 money.

    I don't see why you would. The amount of money donated to Greenpeace, some of which goes to the Vote for the Environment Campaign, which ranks the parties on environmental policies and tends to give the Greens the highest score isn't figured into how much they get.

    There is a lot of money sloshing around the US political system. But the massive sums being raised by Obama (and being used by the media as the proxy we were discussing) were all from individual citizens, and all of amounts of no more than $2000*.

    Doubt it - hence the discrepancy between Act's funding and poll ratings.

    Who uses ACT's funding as a proxy for its support? In the US Presidential election, the vast sums being raised by Obama were being touted as "see he's got a lot of support and will win". In New Zealand, nothing like that happened with ACT or anyone else - ACT was doing poorly in the polls and that was it.

    * inflation adjusted

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    if you are of the opinion that the Greens ought have the same allowance as the National Party, you surely have to have the opinion that the Socialist Workers'* ought get the same allowance, and the anarchists, and the Posadaists and so-on.

    You forgot National Front. I'm sure we'd love to see them getting taxpayer dollars to produce election material, right...?

    If taxpayer money is going to political parties for them to promote their policies, then, yes, it should go to all political parties equally. The National Front have as much right to promote themselves as anyone else.

    Their views being repugnant does not invalidate their right to have or express them. The same goes for other fringe views.

    The idea that only mainstream political views are valid is itself repugnant. Arguing that funding should not be equitable because it would go to people you don't like if it were is even more repugnant.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The National Front have as much right to promote themselves as anyone else.

    Could we raise the bar as to what constitutes a national party at least? You'd think that a reasonable number of paid up members would be a honest prerequisite and weed out some of the fringes (and I say that as a lifelong holder of fringe political ideas).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    ** strapping the chicken.**

    Is that like spanking the monkey?

    More like "stacking the deck".

    Its a piece of jargon from the US Star Wars program, where incredibly expensive but ineffective lasers were "tested" by shooting them at point-blank range at stationary targets, which had been painted black (to increase absorbtion) and tensioned to ensure they exploed messily at the slightest pinprick, and then declared "effective". This was compared to strapping a chicken to a table, shooting it at point-blank range with a shotgun, and concluding "shotguns kill chickens". The "result" is really an artefact of the artificaly simple test, rather than anything real.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    You forgot National Front. I'm sure we'd love to see them getting taxpayer dollars to produce election material, right...?

    If Labour deserves money, then so do they. And regardless, the same spending caps should apply to each. Anything less is undemocratic and a way of distorting the outcome.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

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