Sunday, March 12, 2006

More electoral violations?

First it was Labour's pledge-card, but now practically every party seems to be under investigation for possible breaches of the Electoral Act. The Greens, United Future, NZ First and ACT have all been referred to police over taxpayer-funded newspaper advertisements and pamphlets which appeared during the campaign, none of which had the mandatory "authorised by" line on them. The parties excuse? It wasn't electoral advertising:

"This ad was an ad that was setting out the achievements of United Future over the previous 12 months just as any political party does from time to time - informing the electorate what it has done," says United Future president Graham Reeves.

New Zealand First is being investigated for pamphlets promoting Winston Peters. The party says they were not advertisements.

"This was just standard information that has been put out year in year out by the party," says NZ First president Dail Jones.

And which conveniently happened to appear around election time, just to make sure no-one forgot. While that might be within the Parliamentary spending rules, the clear implication at election-time of any ad from a political party saying "look at all the great things we've done" is "vote for us so we can continue our work" - and anyone who denies it is trying to sell you something.

I'm not sure whether this will result in prosecutions or not; there seems to be less culpability in these cases than there is with Labour. But it does highlight the need for changes in the rules surrounding Parliamentary funding. Either we need to bite the bullet and accept political parties using taxpayer's money to solicit for votes, or we need much stricter rules to prevent them from spending any of that money even remotely close to an election. Which, given the ability of the government to call an election whenever it feels like it, might be rather difficult. But the current situation, where parties get to produce material which is clearly electoral advertising, and then deny that it is, is simply untenable.


It is time to change our PM. The present one, a vintage "Clark" model, is well past its use-by-date. It is no longer passing its warrant-of-fitness and must be retired in favour of a newer, more efficient type. The alternative model on offer isn't all that wonderful, but it has at least indicated that it can mimic a range of human behaviours, emotions and traits that suggest a similarity and therefore empathy to the rest of us, which is preferable, because the present encumbant/model seems to be powered by a drive system which does not even recognise the human brain or the human sensory system, and no longer relates to normal behaviours, is running out-of-control and on a course to its own destruction. I vote for a snap-election.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/20/2006 12:09:00 AM