Speaker by Various Artists

Read Post

Speaker: Legislating in the Twilight Zone

87 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

  • merc,

    AA Members?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    You presume incorrectly, if they say the same thing. If an AA member wanted to spend on any additional advertising of the AA campaign, they shall not be able to.

    You'll have to point me to where it says that, I can't see it.

    Unless they want to say the same thing their association says and it relates to an election.

    My point was, and is, that money does not equal free speech, and free speech does not equal money. Money equals distribution of that free speech. The EFB certainly doesn't, in any part I can see, say that you can't associate with anyone in particular, nor does it restrict your ability to say stuff, it just restricts your ability to print adverts so that people can hear it. This is not new, we've had restrictions on electoral spending for a while now, they just clearly didn't always work very well.

    If I had my way I would limit each NGO to a campaign funding of $X per member. That way all New Zealanders rich and poor can have the same voice and actually have a voice.

    That would require all the NGOs to have members - lots of them in fact, in order to be able to spend lots of money. That's not necessarily the model that all of them operate under.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Graeme: what do you think of Dean Knight's proposed amendment?

    It pretty much works for me, but I'd also like them to get rid of the new paragraph (i) in the definition of publish, just to be sure.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Graeme,

    Do you think that clause 3 (the stated purpose of the bill) could be used to limit prosecutions to those public 'advertisements' that involve a commercial transaction, such as hiring a megaphone van, or paying for an advert? Surely you could not prosecute someone under a bill with the term 'financial' in it, if the activity was purely 'non-financial', eg: a blog post?

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Karl Laird,

    it just restricts your ability to <i>print adverts</i> so that people can hear it.

    Actually Kyle you better go read the bill again - especially where it currently explicitly includes Oral Communication in its auspices

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Rich in ob - good on the Greens for removing the underage restriction.

    Steven,

    Or it phones up some wealthy pals and coordinates its $120,000 spend with their $120,000 spends so that their messages lined up (for example, AA helps them design their leaflets). Not allowed either.

    Setting up a web based community called "Get Up NZ" to specifically coordinate people of a political tendency is certainly a no no and something this bill will prevent. However a well established church with some 4000 members in NZ some of whom are quite wealthy, if several groups from that church spend $120,000 dollars there is no way of 'proving' collusion and so any campaign they choose to make is quite legitimate. No slyness is required for groups putting across their similar points, because they are similar people.

    If that is all that is to happen, then surely this bill is the most pointless, stupid, waste of time, vote losing, divisive...(rant continues off line).

    PS - State offers a reasonable breakdown service with their car insurance.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • KevinHicks,

    Oh here we go - people who disagree with you are living in the twilight zone. Nice, but typical tactics I would expect from a labour stooge organization set up for the sole purpose of "to remove the corrupting influence of big money in politics." [Remember citizens for Rowling?]

    And I had such high hopes for an organization called "coalition for open government" - I thought "now we're getting somewhere" but sadly no.

    The point is that these two bills (the appropriations bill and EFB) actually reinforce the corrupting influence of big money in politics - the corrupting influence of all our lovely money the incumbent politicians are sitting on - and, as we all know there's always more where that came from!

    Auckland • Since Sep 2007 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Margaret B,

    I heard on the 5pm news on RNZ that the plan is to get all the parties' general secretaries together to talk about how the law is intended to be interpreted, so that everyone has the same understanding, and some input into that understanding. That sounds like a good idea to me, I hope particular parties won't boycott that process just to grandstand. I do tend to think that if opportunities are offered to fix something if you then stick your fingers in your ears and go "nah nah nah I'm not listening and you can't make me," complete with stamping feet, then you kind of forfeited your right to be taken seriously.

    That said I would hope that they might broaden the group involved in this process to include organisations that have an advocacy role. After all the EFB isn't just about the financing and electoral speech of political parties.

    Gee it seems everyone is an AA member! Not me, although my partner is I admit. Anyway, if the AA had an article/advert/whatever in their magazine then that wouldn't be covered by the law because that would be communication with their membership. If they plastered the same information on a billboard or bought a full page ad in the Herald then it would come within the limits, that's my understanding. There is no limitation on electoral speech within an organisation, where it is communicating with its own membership, I think?

    Since Oct 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Angus:

    I can't see how a web community would be caught, unless they're spending a great deal of money in a coordinated advertising campaign. If they all do their own thing toward a common goal, they're fine. More amateur voices, less million dollar professional leaflet drops: that's the whole point.

    If you want to coordinate a nation-wide walk down the main street of every city with ten thousand other amateurs shouting "don't vote Labour, vote National", that's fine, because no one spent all that much money to do it. If you want to pay a million dollars for rent-a-crowds to do the same thing, you're out of luck.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Actually Kyle you better go read the bill again - especially where it currently explicitly includes Oral Communication in its auspices

    Would it hurt to provide a number? The bill is like 50 pages long, and it doesn't actually include the word Oral after it finishes talking about Oral Submissions.

    But I've flicked through it again. I don't see anywhere where it says "a person cannot talk to another person about the election/candidates etc", or "a person cannot talk to the news media about the election candidates". Those are the two most important components of free speech. The rest of it isn't so much free speech, as 'money speech'. Which is an important debate to have, sure, but it's not exactly an attack on one of our fundamental freedoms. Money doesn't buy me time on the 6pm news, nor should it. Being 'newsworthy' should.

    I'm sure it limits how much you can spend amplifying, distributing, printing etc, your free speech, but having limited reach doesn't make it unfree speech, it just makes it quiet. If I can only afford to print a hundred pamphlets, as compared to a million, that's not a limit on free speech, it's just a limit on being rich. The idea behind this bill, as I understand it, is to bring everyone down to a reasonable level so that money doesn't try and buy elections. That's the debate.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Would it hurt to provide a number?

    Kyle - it's new paragraph (i) of the definition of publish in clause 4 that extends the reach of the EFB to oral speech. That this is the intention is made clear on page 8 of the report under the select committee's discussion of their new definition of broadcast.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Do you think that clause 3 (the stated purpose of the bill) could be used to limit prosecutions to those public 'advertisements' that involve a commercial transaction, such as hiring a megaphone van, or paying for an advert?

    Not really.

    The courts will do their best to read down and minimise the excesses of the legislation, and the police will rightly tell lots of people to naff off, but that's not something we should have to rely on. Also, the very fact that there is an exemption for non-commercial blogs (and that that Internet exemption is still very narrowly tailored to blogs, despite submissions asking for change) suggests that the Government knows exactly what it is doing.

    People have said the bill covers megaphones, the select committee says the bill covers megaphones, and if that bit remains, it would be an adventurous court which stood in front of Parliament's pretty clear intention.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle - it's new paragraph (i) of the definition of publish in clause 4 that extends the reach of the EFB to oral speech. That this is the intention is made clear on page 8 of the report under the select committee's discussion of their new definition of broadcast.

    Thanks Graeme. I still don't see how this restricts free speech - maybe Angus will explain his reasoning.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    KevinHicks:

    all our lovely money the incumbent politicians are sitting on

    I find it amusing how people who make their living in the public sector can believe that tax money, instead of paying the wages of themselves and their colleagues, is being squirrelled by politiciians.

    My parents do this. They both did (excellent) public sector or government funded jobs for most of their working lives and receive substantial pensions from those jobs. Yet they fondly believe that their taxes are going straight into Gordon Brown's bank account.

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

  • Angus Robertson,

    Tussock,

    Way I read it, if you coordinate a campaign in excess of $120,000 you are in violation of the EFB even if you yourself do not spend more than $120,000, this being collusion which cannot be seen to be happening. The EFB requires that such coordination does not occur.

    Kyle,

    You'd be wanting to talk to Karl not me.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Thanks for the response to my question, Graeme. While yours is an experienced response, lawyers are not unanimous in support of it. Like with a doctor, you can get several different professional opinions, and you cannot predict how a case may unfold in court.

    My impression was that the Law society condemned the EFB because the process was faulty, hasty and messy, not because it gagged free speech. It does make free speech more difficult during election year because of the swag of compliances, but in essence it does not do what the doomsayers think it does.

    Annette King loudly proclaims that common sense would prevail. I believe her, however I think we darn well need a whole lot more than common sense to cement the meaning and purpose of this legislation.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I heard on the 5pm news on RNZ that the plan is to get all the parties' general secretaries together to talk about how the law is intended to be interpreted, so that everyone has the same understanding, and some input into that understanding. That sounds like a good idea to me, I hope particular parties won't boycott that process just to grandstand.

    As do I. But I'm not holding my breath. National seems to have raised bad faith to an art form on this issue.

    Sorry to be so pessimistic, but I'd be more impressed if - just for once - they did something constructive and offered some useful amendments to fix the identified problems with the bill, rather than just screaming, pouting, and demanding the continuation of the (rich-benefitting) status quo.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Like Steven we (the Greens - I'm a member) want to see the cap for anonymous donations brought down further - we reckon $1,000 is about right.

    Serious question, Kath - if you're serious about the notion that anonymous donations are subversive of democracy, why allow them at alll?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As do I. But I'm not holding my breath. National seems to have raised bad faith to an art form on this issue.

    Yeah, like Labour's spectacluar 'bad faith' in the 90's regarding the Employment Contracts Act. AFAIK, it was a central plank of their industrial relations policy that the ECA was so fundamentally flawed and obnoxious that it couldn't be mitigated, but would be repealed and replaced with better law when it regained the Treasury benches.

    I heard on the 5pm news on RNZ that the plan is to get all the parties' general secretaries together to talk about how the law is intended to be interpreted, so that everyone has the same understanding, and some input into that understanding. That sounds like a good idea to me, I hope particular parties won't boycott that process just to grandstand.

    Actually, Margaret, I'd rather have some confidence that any such 'understanding' wouldn't go out the window as soon as parties figured out how to bend any legislation to breaking point. And I'm not sorry for being that pessimistic, because we're just got to look at the spectacular bad faith on display during the pledge card fiasco, as well as the total lack of accountability.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Malcolm,

    I/S: I imagine the argument would be that ad hoc amendments are not going to fix a fundamentally flawed bill. Rather, participating in the process would just add legitimacy to what has been highly partisan process. So I can understand why National don't want to lend their name to the outcome.

    I agree many of the bill's intentions are laudable, but bear in mind the Electoral Commission, Human Rights Commission and Law Society are all still expressing grave concerns.

    Under those circumstances, characterising opponents of the bill as excitable partisans seems itself to be a rather partisan comment. Bear in mind, Labour has made an art form out of ignoring objections and difficulties, so I don't see how polite comment will any impact on the Bill whatsoever.

    Since Apr 2007 • 69 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    rather than just screaming, pouting, and demanding the continuation of the (rich-benefitting) status quo.

    While I do think Mr Farrar has a very small bit between some very large teeth I don't think you can write off National's position quite so easily.

    Labour is in a rush to get this thru, which is understandable, but there's a degree of panic that isn't making for good law. I haven't had a strong opinion one way or the other but after hearing the Law Society this morning I'm tending to the view that there should be more time given this.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    You want to criticise the process for drawing up this bill? I'm there with bells on.

    While I wasn't exactly wearing bells (or even chanting), this is a large proportion of the reason I was at the march in Wellington yesterday. I don't think I can put it better than I did in the introduction to my submission:

    This bill is intended to create reasonable restrictions on electoral campaigning in order to “prevent . . . undue influence” on elections (page 1 of the explanatory note), among other things. Such restrictions amount to a restriction on freedom of expression—albeit an arguably justifiable one. When restricting such an important freedom (however justifiable the reason) it is vital to take great care not to create a broader restriction than necessary. In this case, the importance is even greater, given that the restrictions specifically relate to the freedom of political expression. Unfortunately, this bill
    does not appear to have been drafted with the necessary care.

    I don't care whether excessive restrictions are put on freedom of expression deliberately or accidentally; I'll protest against them either way.

    The select committee process seems to have replaced some excessive restrictions with some other ones. This perhaps achieved an overall improvement, but it was so bad to begin with, it would have been hard to make it worse. I have no faith that rushing the bill through parliament won't introduce even more absurdities.

    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    The rest of it isn't so much free speech, as 'money speech'.

    The word free has several related meanings in English. Most of them are about freedom. Another is an abbreviation of "free of charge". Please don't conflate the two ideas---they're quite distinct.

    Now that we've got those two ideas separate, are you trying to suggest that our right to free speech isn't about freedom?

    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    "I heard on the 5pm news on RNZ that the plan is to get all the parties' general secretaries together to talk about how the law is intended to be interpreted, so that everyone has the same understanding, and some input into that understanding. "

    If I tried to do that in business I would risk being fined very heavily or even gaoled under the Commerce Act. But then they are politicians and can do what they want

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    If I tried to do that in business I would risk being fined very heavily or even gaoled under the Commerce Act. But then they are politicians and can do what they want

    Rubbish.
    If you and your competition get together and agree on fixed prices, that would be illegal.
    But getting together an industry interest group and discussing the effects of relevant legislation on your line of work has never been against any laws.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.