Mike Smith

Stephen Franks on Labour’s Liu Legal problems

Stephen Franks has highlighted Labour’s little legal problems with the Donghua Liu revelations.

Since the link between Donghua Liu and David Cunliffe surfaced early this week there has been widespread speculation that Labour breached the law in failing to declare two campaign donations made by Mr Liu in 2007.

Though Labour maintains it has no records, the Herald has reported that in 2007 Mr Liu contributed $15,000 for a book signed by Helen Clark, and an unknown amount of money for a bottle of wine.

Under the current law, a candidate donation can include:

‚Äúwhere goods or services are provided by a candidate under a contract or arrangement at a value that is more than their reasonable market value, the amount of the difference between that value and the reasonable market value of those goods or services.‚ÄĚ

Corresponding terms govern party donations. Assuming the second donation was for more than $1500, they would capture both of Mr Liu’s transactions. The candidate or responsible party agent who knowingly failed to report them could face up to two years imprisonment (section 207I of the Electoral Act 1993).

But¬†until 19¬†December 2007 the law governing donations was different. Until then the Electoral Act 1993 defined ‚Äėdonation‚Äô to include goods or services provided¬†to¬†the party at an undervalue, but did not expressly capture a sale at an overvalue.

This loophole was partly closed by the Electoral Finance Act 2007 but untl then it was arguably legal not to report the alleged Liu donations if they were provided by way of auction price.

The fact that the law was changed to capture the second transaction increases the strength of the case that parliament realised there was a legal loophole under the old provision.

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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 ‚Äď they‚Äôre just not connected in a narrative that relates to voters. Because they are not connected they can‚Äôt 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs late communication in 2005, described to some extent by¬†Mike Williams¬†in today‚Äôs 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‚Äôm on 2005, getting Labour‚Äôs 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 »

Labour’s former general secretary isn’t hopeful for Labour

Mike Smith is Labour’s former general secretary. He is tribal labour, so much so he lied to the Police and the Electoral Commission regarding the pledge cards election advertising.

He has written a post at The Standard about polls and what they are saying.

It isn;t all that good for Labour.

[E]very time there’s an unfavourable poll for Labour and yet another post on this site says that it is because of right-wing bias, or media motives, or moves away from landlines, or the two blocs are still neck and neck and that’s all that matters, or the pollsters analysis has got it wrong, or there is some magic law that pulls the polls together at election time, I must confess I think they have must been written at night and the hedgehogs are out.

Silver famously made his reputation as a fox in the 2012 US election campaign where he used a whole variety of polls to draw his conclusions, that in the end proved the most accurate. The best we’ve got is the poll of polls, and that shows a steady divergence in favour of National and away from Labour since the beginning of the year. I think they are a powerful wake-up call; my worry is that Labour is still dozing.

In my experience, the polls change because the parties change what they are saying and how they are saying it. Wishful thinking doesn‚Äôt cut it. I‚Äôd like to see us discuss what we think Labour should do differently to shift the polls in our favour so we do win the one that matters. I don‚Äôt think it is impossible, but my view is that the sooner things do change the better. I‚Äôll offer what I think tomorrow ‚Äď I‚Äôm interested in what others think.

He won;t listen to what I have to think about why Labour is tits and why they will fall to their lowest vote in more than 80 years.¬† Read more »

Chris Trotter recants, wants Shearer to go

Chris Trotter has changed his mind and now thinks David Shearer should go as leader of Labour.

New Zealanders are not natural radicals, but once persuaded that radical change is necessary and can no longer be avoided they can be very radical indeed. Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble understood this ‚Äď and transformed their nation. Shearer showed a glimmer of understanding it when he held up the example of the Finnish prime minister, Esko Aho. Big change is better than little change, was what Shearer seemed to be saying. The problem was, none of those responsible for getting him the Leader‚Äôs job agreed.

Douglas and Prebble had the likes of Graham Scott and Bryce Wilkinson to rely on, Shearer had John Pagani, Fran Mold, Julian Robbins and Mike Smith. That wouldn‚Äôt have mattered if Shearer possessed the leadership qualities necessary to attract the sort of advisers he needed to succeed. But Shearer has never been that sort of man. He has always gone where he was sent, and worked with what he found there. Fine qualities in a UN troubleshooter. Massive drawbacks in a political leader.¬† Read more »

Labour hypocrisy over late donations

Labour is claiming that it was all just a mistake that they failed to declare a donation as required by law.

The Labour Party says it has settled a problem with the Electoral Commission over its party donation returns.

It appears to have broken electoral law by not immediately declaring an over $430,000 donation it received from an estate last year.

The sum has only just turned up in its annual donations return

Labour Party General Secretary Tim Barnett says it was because of confusion as to whether bequests count as donations.

“We have apologised to the commission for that.

“They have accepted our apology, we’ve provided some additional information, and the matter with the commission is now closed.”

I disagree that the matter is closed. It isn’t for them to to decided this, it is a matter for the Commission.

Former Labour Party General Secretary¬†Mike Smith blogged:¬†Of course when Labour thought (wrongly) that National was late declaring a donation – they called for a conviction…

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Whale Week What Was

682zoomWe started our Saturday by paying our respects to¬†Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., the hard-charging US Army general whose forces smashed the Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War. ¬†He died aged 78. ¬†At The Standard 2012 Worst Political Blog Mike Smith is told some home truths about long term grass-roots Labour families heading for the Greens. ¬†A quick vid on how to put out a boat fire the Kiwi way is next, followed by a vote for Best Minister. ¬†The winner, at 52%, is Judith Collins. ¬†The Whale Week That Was summarised all the stories this blog covered in the previous seven days. ¬†A quite active Saturday Debate (for the time of year especially) led a post calling for nominations for Best Political Blog. ¬†Those who see WOBH as any sort of threat to them (and those that don’t too), should take heed of this Malcolm Tucker quote: “marshal all the media forces of Darkness to hound them to an assisted suicide”.¬† A CNN piece showing Teachers in Utah taking a class on gun use shows some common sense around the gun debate. ¬†A reader has taken yesterday’s US Fiscal Cliff graphic and created one for New Zealand – great work. ¬†As Cameron Slater predicted from the outset, the Aussie Hoax DJs will not face charges. ¬†The NZ Herald continues to amuse – this time a car crashed into a poll. ¬†The blog then introduces us to two sexy taxidermists showing you don’t have to look like a front row forward to deal with dead animals. ¬†And you’d think we’re picking on an incompetent NZ Herald, and you would be right. ¬†This time they have Jesse Ryder beating himself at Eden Park in Wellington. ¬†Then a hilarious story about a Queensland woman who fell into the longdrop and was there for two hours before being discovered by her husband. ¬† Turns out that during the Falklands War the French tried to send missiles to Argentinia behind Margaret Thatcher‘s back. ¬†Commerce first eh? ¬†The last post of the day highlights a report of a man holding up a Countdown Supermarket with a hammer. ¬†Our readers get fired up about the idea of hammer banning.

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Whale Week What Was

QC7kkThe blog started Saturday by having a look at a number of Christchurch¬†people taking pictures up women’s skirts¬†at malls. ¬†And wouldn’t you know it? ¬†A teacher was arrested as well. ¬†Iain Lees-Galloway shows he is a slimy git by opening a Burger King and then refusing to take a bite, preferring to preach sensible food choices. ¬†Cam then called for nominations for Worst Political Journalist, and Barry Soper and John Campbell appeared hot favourites. ¬† Next we had a vote on Best Political Journalist, which Larry Williams took out with a massive 47% of the vote. ¬†Graham McCready withdrew¬†litigation¬†against John Banks because it made no sense to anyone – as in – they couldn’t understand what it said. ¬†Whale then claims a win on his Hekia Parata predictions and wonders why Key has let this train wreck happen. ¬†We raise our eyebrows about Nelson looking for a scooter riding bottom pincher and then watch a video of what happens to a pig at the bottom of the sea over 7 days. ¬†Next a post where Greens are fighting Greens over the Google solar plant. ¬†On the one side: solar energy. ¬†On the other? Turtles. ¬† Charles Krauthammer explains why gun control alone isn’t the solution to mass shootings. ¬† A MENSA spokesperson calls people with low IQs carrots and the BBC feels they have to apologise. ¬†There is a property for sale next to Kim Dotcom‘s place. ¬†Cam suggests the GCSB or the US should have bought it to set up spying operations. ¬† WOBH is calling for The Whale Army to send in their holiday snaps, in a new feature called Snapped! ¬†Cam takes a brief look at who will enter parliament if Tim Groser leaves for the WTO. ¬†To close the day, a¬†WhaleTech post looks at a the cull-de-sac that’s the QII roll-up keyboard. Read more »

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Labour’s Mike Smith gets a grass roots reality check

At the 2012 Worst Political Blog, Mike Smith is being told how disconnected loyal labour voters feel from what’s left of their party.

Molly Polly pours her heart out:

You see Mike, many Labour Party members and potential supporters are currently despairing of Labour.

Take my family gathering at Christmas for instance.

My extended whanau are on the whole favourable to Labour. I myself am a long serving LP member. Even had a crack as a candidate in a National stronghold many years back. There was no hope of winning but at least Labour supporters had someone to vote for! My kids (now adults) were brought up delivering LP pamphlets, helping at fundraising events and taking turns working on LP stalls at the markets.

That’s dyed-in-the-wool Labour, right there.

At Christmas lunch the talk turned to politics. There has been a noticeable shift in my once staunch LP family members. Those under 40 are now Green Party members or supporters. Some voted that way at the last election or split their vote. My adult kids stood behind Labour, but they were faltering until Phil Goff lifted his game in the last few weeks and his heroic push at the end persuaded them to give both their votes to Labour.

Without exception, their support for Labour has now waned. They feel more in tune with the Greens and particularly their Leaders, Turei and Norman. They like their policies, they like what the Greens stand for. I doubt they will ever come back to Labour. Just like many of the friends.

It looks like there is a vacuum on the left for disaffected Labour voters to find a new home. ¬†In the absence of the “Real Labour”, the Greens are the next best fit.

Those over 40 at our family gathering said they were increasingly despondent with Labour. One of them over dinner said, ‚ÄúIt feels like Labour is a train wreck about to happen, albeit in slow motion, and there is nothing we can do to stop it!‚ÄĚ

He went on to say, ‚ÄĚ We had Goff slowly inching his way to disaster in the last election‚Ķand now it feels like history is repeating itself. For Goff it was going to be a hard task to win as Key was still basking in undeserved public glory. But today the general public are beginning to see through Mr Nice Guy, and the Government, is in fact, a fucking train wreck. A perfect opportunity for Labour. But what do we have? A boring, uninspiring, insipid, bumbling Leader, who so far, is unable to display much confidence in Labour winning in 2014.‚ÄĚ

So, what is a loyal Labour supporter activist to do?

So as you can see Mike, many of my whanau have lost faith in Labour. The younger ones of course have already departed, but for those of us who remain, we are struggling. We feel so dispirited that we can’t even face going to LEC meetings. When we do it feels like a charade…everyone pretending to be positive about Labour and the direction it is taking, but never a mention of the elephant in the room. We know we should attend more and speak our minds, but that is difficult to do when one’s MP is close to the Leader and is part of the ABC group.

For many of us it has got to the stage that even that person is not likely to get our vote at the next election, let alone the Party.

(I can’t believe I have actually written that last sentence…)

 

When Lap-Blogs go Feral

Yesterday David Farrar picked up something interesting from a comment by Mike Smith on The Standard Lynn Prentice’s hate speech blog:

Mike Smith blogs at The Standard:

I thought back to when we started the Standard. I was in the room too; our aim was to set up a labour movement blog and offer a counter to Kiwiblog’s pro-National line; not to join Farrar in making the prospect of Labour government the principal target for attack.

A fascinating statement, somewhat at odds with the traditional line that The Standard had nothing to do with Labour, and is just a bunch of individuals. Mike was of course the Labour Party General Secretary at the time, so his revelation that he was part of the group which established The Standard is significant. I blogged some time ago that it was an initiative started by Helen Clark’s office, and this confirms it.

Mike Smith was the General Secretary of the Labour party from 2001 until September 2009. He was also the person who told the Electoral Commission and the Auditor-General that they would account for the pledge card spending and then didn’t.

He also has said this:

I‚Äôm also not starry-eyed. I sat in Labour‚Äôs caucus as a non-voting member for eight years, and from time to time I had my say. As for policy, this year was the year of the manifesto ‚Äď its here.http://www.labour.org.nz/about-us¬†Next year will be where the detail gets done. Plenty of work for all.

It is perhaps pertinent for some history. I blogged about the Labour party and their close association with The Standard¬†Lynn Prentice’s hate speech blog¬†at the time. Essentially, like now, they were caught bragging and Labour and Lprent went into full obfuscation mode.

But it all started with this little claim from all_your_base:

Happy New Year

Cyber-Santa came a little late to The Standard this year but we’re certainly not complaining ‚Äď evidently we’ve got a New Year’s present instead.

He and the techno-elves have moved us to a brand spanking new server cluster that should give us plenty of breathing room and make those pesky traffic congestion problems we were having a thing of the past.

Seriously though, it wasn’t really Santa. Just like James Bond apparently we have our very own M and it’s him we have to thank instead.

Mike Williams even had to explain it away on TVNZ.

Ever since then, whenever anyone mentioned this they were instantly banned and abused by lprent, the genius level master coder who thinks in binary.

Now Mike Smith has told us that there was¬†definitely¬†a plan to try and counter Kiwiblog…he was at the highest levels of Labour…and now he is, reportedly working in the leader’s office as well as blogging on The Standard¬†Lynn Prentice’s hate speech blog. The Labour party and The Standard¬†Lynn Prentice’s hate speech blog¬†are still very much living under the same roof, although having some teenager style temper issues.

However there is a schism that has developed as the years have progressed. The baby that they illegitimately begat has turned on the parents. We know that there was still some sort of conduit between Labour and The Standard¬†Lynn Prentice’s hate speech blog¬†because recently data has been shared/taken/used from both Red ALert and The Standard and compared in order to identify the ring leaders of the insurrection. Clare Curran is the one most blamed for this.

Of course they will still use weasel words like it is a blog of the “broad left” and the “labour movement, with a small l” but I think we all know that there is …or at least there was a cosy little arrangement for them to be paid bloggers to counteract David Farrar.

They clearly didn’t count on me coming along and spanking their asses though…this poor little blogger with mental health issues, who is in the words of lprent, technically inept…and yet caning them month on month.

The funny thing is it take god knows how many authors and fulltime staffers to try to counteract David and myself and still they come third.

Consistency Not A Strong Suit

Had to laugh at Mike Smith’s¬†piece on Lynn Prentice’s hate speech blog the Standard¬†at the weekend when he unveiled his new bromance with John Armstrong from the Herald:

Armstrong comments that¬† ‚Äúin terms of ideological renewal and momentum, Labour is starting to get it right.‚ÄĚ ¬†I agree

It was almost exactly a year ago the same Mike Smith was calling John Armstrong a right wing stooge:

“Armstrong‚Äôs faux outrage”…¬†“Armstrong‚Äôs article is crap”…¬†“He gets tangled in his own overblown rhetoric”