Electoral Commission

Mike Smith – On Labour’s Mantra of Misery

There is trouble inside Labour.

Former General Secretary, Mike Smith, the guy who lied to Police and the Electoral Commission over the pledge card, is being very vocal now about how dreadful David Cunliffe is.

David Cunliffe badly needs a new stump speech. On Thursday in Whanganui I heard him depress a large and sympathetic audience for ten minutes with tales of national woe, then promise a positive campaign but give no details. It is good to know that a positive campaign is proposed. Labour has promised an economic upgrade; it also needs a communications upgrade, and besides being positive it must be relevant. That could shift the polls.

The policy bones are all there – they’re just not connected in a narrative that relates to voters. Because they are not connected they can’t be repeated, so too much communication is undisciplined and unfocussed, as we saw last week from several players. Focussed and disciplined communications are necessary for voters to have a clear idea of what is on offer, how it relates to them, and why Labour’s alternative is best for them and for the country.

It is the mantra of misery and it besets everything that Labour says and does.

Message relevance is critical; this was key to Labour’s late communication in 2005, described to some extent by Mike Williams in today’s Herald. Relevant communication to non-voters was critical to Labour coming from behind to lead on election day. Don Brash is still crying in the beer about it. And while I’m on 2005, getting Labour’s numbers up is also critical to post-election decisions. The lead party will have first crack at forming a government, and much will depend on the numbers on the day.   Read more »

Why won’t the Police act with complaints from the Electoral Commission?

Back when I was editor of Truth I OIAd the Electoral Commission about outstanding complaints they had sent to the Police for prosecution.

To date nothing has happened with those complaints.

Here is what I wrote back then. The sentiments and facts remain the same:

In our January 3rd issue we reported the following story. This has since been picked up by other media agencies, so we thought we would refresh your memories on how you heard it first at Truth.

Police are sitting on more than twenty open investigations referred to them for prosecution under the Electoral Act by the Electoral Commission.

Truth has obtained details under the Official Information Act that reveal Police seem to have no interest in prosecuting offences and breaches of the Electoral Act.

Of the 32 cases referred, 6 have lapsed because the prosecution time limit has expired.

62 dual vote referrals remain open and un-prosecuted.

Headline cases referred by the Electoral Commission that remain open with little or no progress are the Green party worker Jolyon White’s alleged vandalism of National’s signs at the 2011 election, several of Labour’s flyers including their ‘Stop Asset Sales’, ‘Prices are Rising faster than wages’ and ‘Ohariu Census’ pamphlets.

Only 3 cases have been closed, with no action or prosecution resulting.

The Electoral Act is the governing act to keep checks on political parties and candidates. The Police do not appear to be interested in prosecuting these cases.

The new electoral cycle begins again this year with local body elections held in November and 2014 will see the next general election held

So far it appears that those referred by the Electoral Commission to the Police for prosecution have gotten away scot-free.    Read more »

Andrew Little just drew a great big target on thge backs of his Labour pals

Andrew Little has called for an inquiry into the Police not investigating political complaints. This is good stuff, the Police have ignored complaints from the Electoral Commission for far too long.

The other phrase that we grew used to hearing last time LAbour was in power was the Police saying that something “wasn’t in the public interests to prosecute” usually when it related to an investigation over a Labour politician…like Helen Clark’s forgery and fraud with a painting, and Darren Hughes and his grooming activities, and numerous other complaints.

In terms of electoral complaints the Police just simply ignore them. There is more than 50 complaints that have never been investigated, most of them Labour politicians breaking the law.

So I agree with Andrew Little…let’s have at it.

Labour is calling for “high powered” independent inquiry into the way politically-charged cases are handled, saying the police decision not to prosecute John Banks needed to be investigated.

The call comes after the Act MP was found guilty last week of filing a false electoral return following a private prosecution by retired accountant Graham McCready, launched after the police claimed in 2012 there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Labour’s justice spokesperson Andrew Little said the Government should launch an inquiry into why the police failed to prosecute, as well as into the way previous politically-charged cases had been handled, in order to ensure the integrity of the electoral system.”

Read more »

Mark or Mike? Doesn’t really matter the missing million isn’t really a million or missing

I saw the headline this morning and though to myself…”Who is Mark Williams and why do I care what he has to say?”.

Mark WIlliams

Who was this Mark Williams who was providing his prognostications on our elections and turn out?

Well it turns out that it is Mike Williams aka Fat Tony the former president of the Labour party and he is shilling the mythical “missing million” story yet again.

The announcement of Laila Harre as leader of the Internet Party again put the political focus on the high rate of abstention in the 2011 general election when more than a quarter of enrolled voters failed to cast a ballot.

Harre stated her party’s main objective was to mobilise these no-shows, dubbed the “missing million”. If this happens, it is likely the survival of the National-led government would be in doubt.

The missing million fall into two groups: the nearly 800,000 who registered to vote but didn’t and the more than 200,000 Kiwis the Census tells us didn’t even bother to enrol.

Given pro-active enrolment campaigns by the Electoral Commission and the fact that enrolment in New Zealand is compulsory, it’s likely that the unenrolled group won’t reduce by much. That still leaves the enrolled non-voters. Following the 2002 general election, the Labour Party set out to understand who made up the non-vote to develop strategies to mobilise at least some in 2005.

The party observed that the non-vote was highest in safe Labour electorates and lowest in safe National seats. After research, a number of conclusions were reached.

The non-vote is nearly impossible to poll by conventional methods.

As many as half the people contacted refuse to participate. It is likely that in this group the non-voters are to be found (or not found).

Labour thinks, erroneously, that all of these “missing million” are going to vote for them or the left and hand victory to them at this year’s election. They are pouring precious resources into this group and at the same time ignoring the working poor of New Zealand and definitely ignoring the middle classes struggle.

There is some debate about whether or not there is infact a missing million.   Read more »

Mallard and Dyson shafted by their own team in boundary redraw

It is looking increasingly like Labour’s own advisor to the Electoral Commission has worked very hard at shafting Ruth Dyson and Trevor Mallard. So much so he has missed some strange looking boundary adjustments in other areas.

Jadis has performed some very good analysis of the changes over at the lifestyle, travel and arts blog of David Farrar. From the looks of it there are no winners on the left side of politics.

And most of the losers are Labour.

Losers:

Ruth Dyson, Port Hills – Dyson is the biggest loser in this boundary review.  Her majority has been reversed with the Nats stronghold of Halswell moving into the seat, and Anderton’s old stomping ground of Sydenham moving into Christchurch Central.  Dyson will have a real battle to hold this, even with the Nats putting in a new candidate.  How winnable the seat is very much depends on the strength of the Nat candidate, but a good candidate could take the seat with a 2000 majority.  I’d be gutted if I was Dyson as Pete Hodgson (who did the boundaries for Labour) is a good mate of hers.  Perhaps this is Labour’s new (poor) strategy of retiring MPs.

Trevor Mallard, Hutt South – This is the surprise of the final boundaries.  Mallard has gained all of the  Western Hills (good Nat territory) and lost super red areas of Naenae and Rimutaka. Labour should have been able to stop this occurring but appear to have put up no fight.  Mallard should be furious with his party for failing to keep Hutt South a real red seat.  Why didn’t Hodgson fight hard for Mallard?  Was it a directive from on high?  Realistically, Mallard should hold the seat but he’ll be working hard for it and never should have been put in this position. I expect Mallard’s majority to be pegged down a few.  Read more »

HoS editorial on Dotcom’s dodgy deals

Patrick Gower should really be sinking his chipmunk teeth into finding out who the dodgy MP is that is skulking in his current party but looking at bailing out in June, dogging on his mates.

That MP is a traitor to his party and should be outed. Instead I fear we will have more stories from him and Corin Dann about how much milk there is or isn’t in the fridges of Oravida’s offices.

The Herald on Sunday makes a call for openness from Dotcom, but there is fat chance of that after he got a gagging order against his former head of security. That didn’t work in keeping his appalling employment practices secret, and it won’t work in keeping other dodgy behaviour secret either.

Dotcom is dangerous. He could threaten Key. But his private life could also explode in the face of potential allies like Labour, the Greens and Mana.

I don’t think he is dangerous, not with what I know and will release. His party will wither and die with coming revelations, my only hope is it also takes out all those who have bent their knee to Dotcom. If is hilarious to see Mana leap into bed with them when he rips off workers in such a blatant manner. I wonder what John Minto of the Unite union and a Mana party prospect thinks about Dotcom paying his staff less than the minimum wage as required by law.

He is fighting extradition to the United States to face copyright charges, and suffered a setback in that fight on Friday when the Supreme Court ruled he would not have access to details of the American prosecution case against him.

He has also gone to court this week to prevent disclosures by his disgruntled former head of security, Wayne Tempero, apparently angry at having his contract and pay cut. Tempero is threatening to lift the lid on Dotcom’s relationship with staff, debts, and allegedly embarrassing trivia such as what he keeps in his basement. Dotcom says he cannot (or will not) comment on the threatened Tempero disclosures, beyond dismissing them as a “smear campaign” and promising his creditors will be paid in full this week.  Read more »

What is the relationship between Hone Harawira and Kim Dotcom?

David Rankin has issued a press release:

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira has been involved in negotiations with internet tycoon Kim Dotcom over funding for the Mana Party, and a possible role of Kim Dotcom in the Party.

This is according to Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin, who says he is frustrated after having repeatedly asked Harawira for the past week if there is any truth to the allegation.

“Everyone knows about the meetings.  Even Whale oil’s Cameron Slater has been informed and wants to break the story,” says Mr Rankin, “and my nephew Hone has suddenly gone quiet whenever I mention Kim Dotcom.”

Mr Rankin says that unless Harawira explicitly denies the allegation that he sought funding from Dotcom then the Mana Party is in trouble. “Mana will face a major credibility crisis,” says Rankin, “and the longer he keeps silence, the more suspicion grows.”

What David Rankin says is true.

My sources deep within the mansion have been telling me for weeks about an “arrangement” between Hone Harawira and his Mana party and the nascent and unlaunched Internet Party. There have been meetings held around the boardroom table at the mansion and serious discussions amongst those associated with Dotcom, some even suggesting this is wrong, only to be hectored and shouted at by Dotcom.

I also know that Mana party advisors and confidantes have been meeting extensively as recently as two weeks ago to discuss these details with some privately sharing with WOBH that they are concerned about the future of the party should this deal go ahead.

Their strategy from what the sources have told me is cunning, though I’m not sure voters will appreciate the subterfuge necessary for this scheme to work.

There is provision in the Electoral Act for component partiesRead more »

Geddis on donations and why Cunliffe’s trust is tricky

Even though Andrew Geddis, like a petulant child, can’t bring himself to say my name, he does make good points in his latest post at Pundit.

The left wing blogosphere has been cock-a-hoop (wrongly it turns out) that Patrick Gower ‘got’ John Key on The Nation. Geddis doesn’t agree and schools them on the law.

There’s been a bit of lefty gloating going on around the traps aboutPatrick Gower’s interview with John Key on The Nation, in which he sought to draw an equivalence between David Cunliffe’s use of a trust to receive donations for his Labour leadership campaign and donations that National received back in 2010 and 2011 through a dinner held at “Auckland’s pricey Parnell restaurant Antoine’s”.

(On that last point, check out Antoine’s menu and the attached prices. This, remember, apparently is one of John Key’s “favourite places to eat”. That this fact does not at all seem to undermine the popular view of him as being “just like us” is a source of unending mystery!)

But much as I would love to grab a pitchfork and torch and follow in behind the crowd all the way to the door of Key’s castle on a bleak mountain top (which is what he lives in, right?), my goddam conscience just won’t let me do it. So I’m going to have to break ranks and say, “nice try, but not quite.”

If the lefty bloggers take just 5 minutes to read why they will find out why no other media except TV3 is pushing this story.  Read more »

Another potential legal problem for Cunliffe and his secret trust

David Cunliffe has another legal problem with his donations and the secret trust he used to launder them, with the help of Greg Presland, a blogger at The Standard.

Mr Cunliffe yesterday released the names of three donors who gave a total of $9500 to a trust set up for his leadership campaign last year, but said he had not known who the donors were until recently after the trustee, Greg Presland, advised him they were willing to be named publicly. Another two donors had refused to be named and would have their donations, totalling $8300, returned to them.

He said the trust, called the TR Trust, was set up partly so that he would not know who had donated. But he admitted at least one donor – Chicago-based Perry Keenan – had approached him directly to offer a donation. He had told Mr Keenan to discuss it with Mr Presland, and said he was never told whether the donation had been made.

Perry Keenan is offshore based. That means that section 207K of the Electoral Act kicks in, which states:

207K Overseas donation or contribution may not exceed $1,500

(1) For the purposes of this section, overseas person means—

(a) an individual who—

(i) resides outside New Zealand; and
(ii) is not a New Zealand citizen or registered as an elector; or

(b) a body corporate incorporated outside New Zealand; or
(c) an unincorporated body that has its head office or principal place of business outside New Zealand.

(2) If a candidate receives from an overseas person a donation that either on its own or when aggregated with all other donations made by or on behalf of the same overseas person for use in the same campaign exceeds $1,500, the candidate must, within 20 working days of receipt of the donation,—    Read more »

Left demanding changes to MMP they want, how about the other changes?

John Armstrong goes full noise against the coat-tailing provision of MMP…labelling what is actually law ‘gerrymandering’.

Predictably Labour is also pushing hard to try to get the provision of the Electoral Act reversed showing their naked partisanship.

They all point to the recommendations of the Electoral Commission to remove the coat-tailing provision.

But National’s refusal last year to implement the recommendation of the Electoral Commission to rid MMP of the unnecessary, unfair and deeply unpopular one-seat threshold provision should forever be a large blot on John Key’s Government.

Of course, eradicating this legal loophole, which exempts a party from having to meet the 5 per cent threshold if it wins an electorate seat, would have been to National’s major disadvantage in making it much more difficult for its minor party allies to bring extra MPs into Parliament.

The one-seat threshold survives simply because it could yet be the difference between National staying in power and going into Opposition.

But that does not make it right.

The media and the opposition are trying to paint coat-tailing as anti-democratic, yet it has been part of the law since the day MMP was implemented. Now they are suggesting the law and MMP is anti-democratic.  Read more »