Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Today, a copy of Gordon Copeland's newsletter, "Copeland's Chronicle", landed in my mailbox. It's a special edition, sent out in response to the recent Auditor-General's report that United Future (among others) had unlawfully spent parliamentary Services funds on "electioneering". The bulk of the newsletter is Copeland's third-reading speech on the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill (which you can read here), but it finishes with a not-so-coded appeal for funds:

Concurrently we are seeking support from United Future members and others.

The newsletter is produced by Parliamentay staff and sent from Parliamentary servers. So, does it count as "electioneering"?


what's your call?


Posted by Anonymous : 10/25/2006 12:40:00 PM

I don't think its quite explicit enough. But its dodgy, and certainly not accepted practice in Parliamentary newsletters.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 10/25/2006 12:47:00 PM

It might be electioneering (although I note there isn't an election in the offing), but is it "electioneering advertising" (a phrase which remains in the Speaker's Directive).

I'd also agree with I/S that it's not explicit enough - electioneering in rela5tion to the provision of "communication services" would have to "explicitly [solicit] subscriptions or other financial support".

This law took affect today, I understand I/S thought such a law change sensible so that MPs could continue to do their work. Probably shouldn't complain too much when this is what we knew they were going to do, and expressly why they changed the law (if National does it, of course, complain loudly of the hypocrisy of which that would smack).

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 10/25/2006 01:28:00 PM

I was very disappointed in the tv media coverage of the debate of the bill - on one channel (I forget which) there seemed to be an endless parade of Nat MPs lambasting it, a regular clowns convention of Lab MPs sitting at their desks (notably, NOT speaking), and no coverage of the other parties. It was if Labour were the only people voting for it.

Mediawatch on Sunday also covered the fact that a lot of media made a meal out of the late sitting, when in fact it wasn't actually later than usual.

I'm not surprised Copeland feels the need to circulate his speech more widely, given a media that seems to be stuck in some FPP alternative reality.

Maybe I have too much sympathy for the minor parties, but it seems to me that our media is pretty crap at covering them and their policies, so any restriction on the ability of politicians to communicate about such to the public is going to have a worse effect on them than on National and Labour.

Posted by Span : 10/25/2006 03:04:00 PM

I agree with you Span. If the Greens, UF, JAPC, get ignored, then whither the (currently) extraparliamentary left...?

I'd say that the NZ media is pretty crap at covering any political issue in anything but most cursory way and acting as the mouthpeice for a small number of voices with access to power. It's almost like Chomsky and Herman's propaganda model was right ;)

Posted by Anonymous : 10/25/2006 06:49:00 PM

you've got my vote, span.
the nzherald seems to have gone to a significant amount of effort over the last couple of years to focus almost all political debate on Lab v Nat. the rest are nearly invisible. sometimes they even release poll results with only figures given for the big dinasaurs. f-ing annoying.

a bipolar system (rather than multifaceted) seems to be the limit of the MSM intellect...

Posted by Anonymous : 10/26/2006 04:24:00 PM