Monday, September 11, 2006



Brethren back in 2008?

The Brethren want to campaign again in 2008 - and they want a law change so they can openly solicit votes on National's behalf. The latter would make a mockery of campaign spending limits, and give rich parties free rein to circumvent them using proxies. But then, from the email [PDF] the Brethren sent to the Chief Electoral Officer last year, that seems to have been precisely their intention.

As it is, the Brethren's actions last election of spending big money on anonymous attacks raises the spectre of American-style politics, where implausibly deniable proxy groups like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth conduct negative advertising, slander, and character assassination against candidates with impunity. That's not a style of politics I'd like to see here, and so I'm in favour of tightening restrictions on third party advertising. In a democracy, victory should go to the party which gets the most votes - not the party with the most money or richest, vilest friends.

Questions of funding rules aside, the Brethren are as free to engage in politics as anybody else, and I welcome their participation. Given the suspicion most New Zealanders have of the linking of religion and politics and of phrases like "godly government", I don't think it will do the left any harm at all...

12 comments:

The link to the EB email (sent on their behalf?) to the CEO is interesting. At least we now know where the figure of $1.2 million comes from. The horses mouth.

Posted by noddy : 9/11/2006 03:30:00 PM

I/S, can you configure your feed so we get the whole post in the feed?

Posted by Anthony : 9/11/2006 07:50:00 PM

Anthony: It's supposed to be, but sometimes it flips back to summaries for unexplained reasons (I keep noticing it on VLWC).

I'll poke it again.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/11/2006 09:47:00 PM

Thanks (you should move to Wordpress).

Posted by Anthony : 9/12/2006 08:10:00 AM

Word Press is fantastic. Incidentally, to me, your feed does not appear to be updating at all. I use Sage and according to that you haven't posted anything since your cap and trade post from ages ago

Posted by Make Tea Not War : 9/12/2006 08:58:00 AM

Government moves to crack down on third-party (negative) advertising suggest that they've decided that the Phillip Field saga has done far more damage for them with their union friends than anyone has suggested...

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 9/12/2006 09:28:00 AM

I have no idea why the EB are bothering with this "please can we campaign on behalf of National" nonsense. With $1.2 million in the war-chest, surely they can just launch a takeover bid for the entire National Party - and if Brash is prepared to accept cash-for-policy, this seems like a logical next step.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/12/2006 01:06:00 PM

I think a disclosure of spending regime by third parties is far more important than spending limits. Spending limits can easily be avoided: EBs can spend as individuals, circumventing the intent, as can unions spend individually, rather than a collective.

Personally, I agree that the EBs campaign is counter-productive to National: not because they're from the religious right, but because they're politically naive and amateurish.

I wouldn't mind if the EBs pulled out of campaigning altogether. But limits on organisational spending apply just as much to left-leaning organisations than they do right ones. The Left has always had an advantage with spending and organisational support from the unions, and it's time that is addressed as well.

But you can't do what Helen Clark's doing with any moral conscience: she's specifically targetting a group, and wanting to limit their campaigns, just because they disagree with her.

Posted by Insolent Prick : 9/12/2006 01:07:00 PM

"I think a disclosure of spending regime by third parties is far more important than spending limits."

Agreed. As a voter the source of a particular campaign allows me to add an extra dimension to the motives behind the campaign.

Which is why I also support the opening up of information about party donations.

Posted by noddy : 9/12/2006 04:06:00 PM

MTNW: The atom feed definitely has today's posts in it, but has flipped back to summaries for some reason. Bugger.

As for wordpress, I'd rather not go to the hassle of shifting sites anytime soon.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/12/2006 04:15:00 PM

"But you can't do what Helen Clark's doing with any moral conscience: she's specifically targetting a group, and wanting to limit their campaigns, just because they disagree with her".

Helen has plenty of real credibility issues but I have no problem with her targetting the EB directly, same as I'd be happy if the good Reverend Moon were attacked should he start dodgely backing a party.
The EB's are an enemy of the democratic system. There's no hope of them ever changing thir views (or would that be recanting?).. they're lost in a medieval mindset. Therefore take the gloves off and see them off, I say.

Posted by Huskynut : 9/12/2006 05:19:00 PM

If you do want to shift, I'm happy to donate you hosting and you can run something fully under your control on that.

Posted by Anonymous : 9/12/2006 07:01:00 PM