Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A convenient "mistake"

National has admitted they overspent their electoral broadcasting allocation by $112,500, in violation of the Broadcasting Act 1989. They claim that this is due to a "misunderstanding" between them and their advertising broker which resulted in their not including GST in their advertising bookings, but that's just a little too convenient. The Electoral Commission has always been perfectly clear that GST is included, and an awful lot of people would have to have "overlooked" that fact in order for this to happen. Or else we'd have to accept that no-one in the top echelons of the National campaign can add or do percentages. OTOH, given their ludicrous tax-cut policy, that may not be that much of a stretch...

The police are investigating, and I'm looking forward to National being fined $100,000 for this. I'm also looking forward to finding out exactly when the error was noticed. And finally, I'm looking forward to smearing them with this next election campaign. Quite apart from suggestions that the "mistake" was somewhat less than accidental, there's also a very good point: National can't even manage their own budget. How the hell then do they expect to manage the country's?


How do we expect Labour to behave honestly when in charge of the country when they are prepared to rort over bus shelter ads to promote the budget?

Posted by Aaron Bhatnagar : 12/06/2005 07:48:00 PM

ooooooH is aaron getting a little desperate.

His man from Tamaki has a knife that he is
prepared to use at least that shows that he
is a true blue. They have a history of
using the knife. Ask The Hon. Jim McLay.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/06/2005 08:46:00 PM

A few things come to mind

1) this is not the sort of error you would expect business savy national supporters to make (of course it includes GST!).

2) the $100,000 fine is a bargain. I suggest everyone overspend their budget next year if thats all the threat is.

Frankly I have to admit you have a point at the end of your post. One that I think was not entirely lost on the electorate even before this came out.

Posted by Genius : 12/06/2005 09:05:00 PM

That's a bit rich Aaron.

Also a bit of a sad attempt to divert debate - all it proves is that National is at fault as well.

Labour had nothing to do with National's budget decisions - so why start talking about Labour?

Posted by Matt : 12/06/2005 10:22:00 PM

Hah yeah aaron very sad.
This is the tip of the iceberg considering what is comming when the rest of the Exclusive Brethern funding story comes out. Dont think people have forgotten about that my self important freind

Posted by Anonymous : 12/07/2005 09:58:00 AM

If an individual candidate overspends they can be removed as an MP. I think if a party overspends they should lose list MPs equal to the percentage overspend.

Two less Nats would give Lab/Prog/Green a solid majority - Winnie could lose his baubles and Dunne could be sent crawling back under his rock..

Posted by Rich : 12/07/2005 12:39:00 PM


Because if some folks would like to get their partisan heads out of their arses, there's a serious problem with campaign finance law. I think it's fair comment to say all parties are blatantly using public money (their so-called leader's budgets) for party political propaganda - you know, like the Labour Party pledge card that got pushed through my letter box.

And I've no idea whether you've spent any time working on a RW world campaign, but I'd be amazed if any party or candidate hasn't broken a series of complex and, dare I say, deliberately vague pieces of legislation? Seriously, I've sat through a debate as to whether putting out a plate of sausage rolls and a cask of Chateau Cardboard instead of tea and biscuits after a cottage meeting at my house was 'treating'. (In the end, I decided I'd give a glass of water to anyone who asked and that was it. Who needs the bother?)

If the shoe was on the other foot (and I note media reports that the EC has confirmed "another party is likely to be referred to Police for similar overspending" - so it may be), I'd be getting my gloat on too. But I guess there's a slightly more serious issue that needs to be addressed.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/07/2005 01:12:00 PM

It seems to have been the ad company that thought the $900,000 was GST exclusive.

As we all know they are wine swilling lefties.

It's either a great way to get paid another $112,500.00 from the taxpayer


get National into hot water over election spending.

It's all a left wing plot.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/07/2005 03:54:00 PM

Craig: I don't think that a requirement to include GST in advertising spending is at all "vague". There may be other problems with the law, but this isn't a case of people falling foul of something technical or unclear - it's a completely blatant violation, whether accidental or otherwise.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/07/2005 03:58:00 PM

Yeah, I/S, and don't you think it was just a wee bit too obvious to sustain the nudge-nudge wink-wink conspiracy theory you're pushing?
Let's just consider the possibility that 99.9999% of the time, cock-up trumps conspiracy.

As far as I'm aware, the National Party informed the EC when this utter f.u. was detected; the EC notified the Police because it's required to by law, and whether they believe the alleged offence was intentional or not is utterly irrelevant; and if the Police determine there's grounds to prosecute, then it's going to have to play out - and National must accept the consequences. (And despite what the more wing-nutty folks on the left think, there's no Yankee bagperson waiting in the wings with 100K. That's not petty cash, especially at this point of the electoral cycle.)

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/07/2005 04:25:00 PM

Craig: most of the time I prefer to blame incompetance. But believing that this was merely a fortunate accident requires such widespread and total incompetance as to be beyond the bounds of reasonable belief. We'd have to believe that no-one at the top of National can add, no-one can do percentages, and that no-one checks the figures on one of the most crucial aspects of their campaign - in short that there were effectively no financial controls whatsoever. OTOH, when you look at their refusal to accept receiving a lower allocation than Labour (despite accepting the shoe being on the other foot in 1996) and their dodgy dealings with the Brethren, and their sheer desperation to get into government this time (as evinced by their policy platform and willingness to whip up racial hatred for electoral advantage), it looks more than a little suspicious.

This is, as you point out, besides the point as far as the police are concerned; motive is irrelevant to prosecutions under the Broadcasting Act. But it will matter to the public - and neither story really looks very good.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 12/07/2005 04:43:00 PM


Well, that's your story and you're sticking to it. :) I just like to see a bit more of that nervous energy going into securing meaningful campaign finance reform - including getting rid of the triennial farce of parties bickering over who gets the biggest lump of pork from the EC. (National has no monopoly on whorish inconsistency when there's public money at stake, if we really want to get into that particular mud fight. Nor should the parties of the left get too sanctimonious about strange bedfellows or campaigning that would need a ladder to reach the gutter.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 12/07/2005 05:20:00 PM