Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ZenTiger Knights of the Realm

I caught some of the debate from our Ministers of Parliament today. They were discussing the Electoral Finance Bill. Rodney Hide spoke well, as usual, proving he understands the value of freedom and the respect due to the voting public. Winston Peters and others spoke of the need to stop the Exclusive Brethren, or any other group, from supporting National in future elections. It was mostly petty and small minded. But it wasn't the worst thing they said.

They attacked John Boscawen for having the temerity to spend his own money to publicize the effect of the law changes the Electoral Finance Bill will have on the political landscape. This fact enraged them, and seemingly justified every-thing they said the bill sets out to achieve - stopping him from organising political dissent.

The Greens issued a press release playing the bogeyman card.

“It is no surprise that a member of the Business Roundtable would pay someone to organise marches against campaign finance reform. Around the world, far right business groups oppose campaign finance reform because they want to be able to spend a lot of money to influence government policy,” says Dr. Russel Norman, green Party Co-leader.”

It seems that more than 7,000 people listened to what John Boscawen had to say, and agreed with him. They demonstrated this by attending the marches he helped organize around the country. He has reportedly spent around [updated 9/12/07] $180,000 of his own money. But what he did was simply pay for the 7,000 people (minimum) that appreciated some-one standing up for their rights.

If we allow the Greens their paranoia, it started out as the protest from a single man, and ended up being the protest of thousands. If it took $180,000 to bring this idea to the public arena, so what? The idea was judged and found reasonable. The reality is though, that many people were against this bill even before John Boscawen stood up. The reality is that many groups made submissions pointing out the flawed legislation in this bill.

The Greens are focusing on the Business Round Table as the bogeyman, and ignoring submissions from numerous high profile apolitical organisations that conclusively demonstrated how badly flawed the legislation was.

John Boscawen has acted like a knight of the realm. He has stood up to defend the people around him. In the old days, our knights would do battle with horses, lances, steel armor and equipment of war. It was an expensive business, it threatened their very life, but they did it. Noblesse Oblige. It continues today, this time with pamphlets and advertisements. It is still war, and it is still an expensive business. We individuals might not be able to afford the excessive costs it takes to deliver a message to all New Zealanders, but thank God we still have our knights like John Boscawen.

Another knight surfaced today. A real English Lord, Lord Ashcroft, was discussing on the radio the theft of over 100 medals from the Waiouru Army Museum. He too stepped up to the plate and offered a $200,000 reward for any information leading to the return of the medals. I look at his generosity, and the willingness to spend his own money bringing an idea to the people - an idea that these medals have value, and even strangers understand the very real need to do all they can to get them back. I'm sure there are many fellow Kiwis that would view this Knights gesture in the spirit it was intended, and praise him for putting up his own money to help us out.

The two situations are not that different, when you think about it. So when you hear the left denigrating John Boscawen for spending his own money to help restore something we treasure, think of the medals that were stolen. NZ Labour, the Greens and NZ first want to steal our national treasure. They want to steal democracy. And any Knight that stands up to take them on is mercilessly attacked.

It was therefore no surprise to me that Helen Clark and the Police were of two minds about 'accepting' the reward offered by Lord Ashcroft. They say they are worried it will lead to more thefts. Like we have any more medals to steal?

This is the default thinking from the left. Big money influences outcomes. The only people allowed to influence outcomes are the State. Therefore, don’t accept the reward. I saw 4 posters down at the Police station recently, with $50,000 reward offered for missing persons. No wonder there are more murders in New Zealand. The Police are offering rewards! Idiots.

It's not John Boscawen's private cash that they hate so much. It's that he has freely given it on behalf of the thousands of people that couldn't have mobilised without his help that the left hate. Now his spending reflects maybe $30 per person. The Electoral Finance Bill is saying that is too much, and will not be allowed!

It's not Lord Ashcroft's $200,000 they hate. It's that members of the public (and I include here the citizens of our mother country) have the temerity to take any sort of action. To the left, too many people are taking action. Too many people are expressing their own ideas. When these ideas are at odds with their master plan, we see just how underhanded they become. Anyone who thinks NZ Labour, NZ first, United Future, Jim Anderton and the Greens have handled this bill in a fair and reasonable way are deluded.

And thank you John Boscawen; thank you Lord Ashcroft. Our government may not be supporting your generous efforts, but the people are. You are Knights of the Realm.

Related Link: Lord Ashcroft - Reward for medals

Related Link: John Boscawen organises protest marches

40 comment(s):

Psycho Milt said...

A knight of the f*cking realm? For standing up for the right of rich people to use their cash as electoral leverage?

I'm at a loss to understand this concept that the wealthy have some sort of democratic right to make up for their ideas' lack of popular support by throwing more money at the problem than their opponents. Yes, the wealthy do oppose campaign finance reform for exactly that reason. The current bill before the House may be self-serving bullshit, but so's most of the opposition to it.

KG said...

"I'm at a loss to understand this concept that the wealthy have some sort of democratic right to make up for their ideas' lack of popular support by throwing more money at the problem..."

You mean like the Labour party stealing taxpayer's money for election campaigns because Labour supporters don't freely donate enough?
Couldn't agree more.

Psycho Milt said...

Yes, exactly like that. Your point?

KG said...

I just made it, PM. Intelligent lefties may be a very select demographic, but I thought you were one.

Psycho Milt said...

I'm sorry, I presumed your agreement with the stated aims of the EFB was more of a rhetorical flourish than a statement of conviction. I stand corrected.

ZenTiger said...

I'm at a loss to understand this concept that the wealthy have some sort of democratic right to make up for their ideas' lack of popular support

Except its not a lack of popular support. Suddenly a couple hundred thousand dollars (soon to be illegal) represents $30 a head. Why is this so bad?

ZenTiger said...

A knight of the f*cking realm?

Heh. Thought this post would stir some emotions.

Craig Ranapia said...

Re: Playing the Bogeyman Card.

Could you imagine the reaction if Rodney Hide put his name on a press release noting that some high profile supporters of the EFB have links to (gasp!) trade unions, (shock!) left leaning special interest groups and (horror!) THE GREEN PARTY.

The only sane response is: Yes, now how about sticking to the issue? I did debating at high school, and resorting to the ad hominem appeal was regarded as the last resort of a bad debater with a weak argument.

Pathetic. Just proves to me (yet again) that paranoia should be treated in a psychotherapist's office not indulged in Parliament.

KG said...

I didn't agree with the stated aims of the EFB at all.
What I agreed with was the statement of yours which I quoted, as it applies to the Labour party.
They're the ones who lack financial support from those who vote for them and are reduced to stealing from the taxpayer.
The businessmen and religious organisations who donate to the Nats don't do it because the Nats lack popular support--they do it because Labour has an enormous built-in advantage at election time, having a compliant media (which is changing somewhat lately) and an enormous constituency of public servants and welfare beneficiaries which they bribe with our money.

Kent Parker said...

To the left, too many people are taking action. Too many people are expressing their own ideas. When these ideas are at odds with their master plan, we see just how underhanded they become. Anyone who thinks NZ Labour, NZ first, United Future, Jim Anderton and the Greens have handled this bill in a fair and reasonable way are deluded.

Now who's being paranoid? The whole EFB conflict has blown up because each side is paranoid of the consequences of the actions of the other side. The Govt is paranoid that money will buy National or anyone else, undemocratic amounts of votes and the anti-EFB group is paranoid that the ill-conceived, loophole ridden EFB will somehow spell the end of free speech and democracy.

There is a lack of trust on both sides. Judging from comments on both sides of the blogs (left and right) it is all out war. Neither side is really listening to the other. It is great that we are playing with words (many very sharp 4 letter ones) and not swords, maces, daggers or spears, because no one is essentially getting hurt.

Oops! Oh, sorry, you want to get back to sparring. I'll get out of your way.

Craig Ranapia said...

You also missed the most delicious passage in Dr. Norman's brain-fart:

“The attacks on campaign finance reform around the world are always done under the guise of protecting free speech. But free speech is still alive and well in Canada and the UK, which both have adopted more stringent rules than those proposed in the Electoral Finance Bill.

First, I wouldn't be holding up the UK as some paragon of political fiscal hygiene as New Labour is sinking under another funny money scandal.

I'd also disrespectfully suggest that Dr. Norman should sit down over a pot of Fair Trade organic tea with a few British greenies and civil libertarians. They'd quickly write a reality check on Norman's assertion that "free speech is still alive and well" in Mr. Brown's Britain.

Paranoid and psychotic.

ZenTiger said...

Kent, perhaps you should have shortened your quotation. You left this bit on the end:

Anyone who thinks NZ Labour, NZ first, United Future, Jim Anderton and the Greens have handled this bill in a fair and reasonable way are deluded.

And whilst that stands, your argument that the right (and I include all of those that made submissions to fix this crap piece of legislation, including Unions) are overly paranoid kind of falls flat.

KG said...

"Free speech is still alive and well in Canada and the UK"?
Where has this fool been hiding?
In Canada, a woman is facing jail for merely posting bible passages on her blog.
In the UK,people protesting peacefully against lack of immigration controls have been arrested, while islamists carry "behead the infidel" signs just across the street.
And a TV station that secretly filmed radical islamic clerics preaching hatred and violence was investigated by the police for "inciting racial hatred"!
Alive and well? He's not on this bloody planet

Psycho Milt said...

Yes - if Canada and the UK are Russel Norman's models for freedom of speech, he's got nothing to be proud of.

KG said...

PM, I reckon we'd be better to regard them as cautionary examples.
Whatever our differences about the EFB etc, we're still as a country miles ahead of those two when it comes to free speech.

Kent Parker said...

Zen, I was alluding to the few extremists, represented by John Boscawen, DPF and co who interpreted the EFB in the most paranoid context available to the human imagination. I am no supporter of the EFB, but I do question any form of extremism. At one stage DPF was counting Metira Turei as someone who supported his interpretation of the EFB. Any attempt to get him to back this up, or to be answerable to these claims was met with his usual "f**k off" response.

We actually have more democracy and freedom of speech now, in the age of MMP and internet blogs than we ever did. Politicians are increasingly transparent and their activities increasingly available to public scrutiny. A politician cannot even pick his/her nose without it being posted on U-Tube.

The most controlling and socialist govt we ever had was under National's Muldoon, where he controlled wages, prices, handed out subsidies to farmers that weren't needed and so on and so forth. In his day there would have been no power to stop the EFB or change its contents. It took the 4th Labour govt to unravel all the restrictions/regulations heaped upon the people of NZ by uncle Rob. In the process, Labour undid its previous image as saviour of the working people. Clark has sought to restore that image. To this point she hasn't gone quite as far as Muldoon did but I am sure, left in power (like Putin in Russia) she may well do, since, as we know, power corrupts.

On the balance of it, the EFB is an election winner for National with or without the anti-EFB extremism. It is a common tactic to whip up paranoia in order to win political support, but if one goes a little too extreme, it does not bite with the moderates and I think in the case of the EFB that has happened. Fortunately it looks like both sides are now gradually stepping down: Annette King is considering accepting some of National's amendments and DPF is rationally analyzing the amendments as if to accept that they might be workable.

Anonymous said...

"Free speech is still alive and well in Canada and the UK"?
Where has this fool been hiding?
In Canada, a woman is facing jail for merely posting bible passages on her blog.
In the UK,people protesting peacefully against lack of immigration controls have been arrested, while islamists carry "behead the infidel" signs just across the street.
And a TV station that secretly filmed radical islamic clerics preaching hatred and violence was investigated by the police for "inciting racial hatred"!
Alive and well? He's not on this bloody planet"

There's a bill before the US Senate to stifle Free Speech in the 'Land of the supposed Free'!

Just about anything you say publicly in Canada you can be arrested for it, if someone else complains!

KG said...

MMP has NOT aided democracy at all. It's allowed a few fringe nutters to hold the balance of power.
And where's that referendum on MMP

Kent Parker said...

Yes, well, anon, the US is a sad case. Being permanently in a state of war enables the federal govt certain emergency powers. That and the Patriots Act reduced freedom of speech. Iraq gave Bush a means by which to stay in power.

KG said...

Exactly how does the Patriot Act reduce freedom of speech, Kent?

Kent Parker said...

KG, the balance of power has yet to be shown to mean much. All Dunne got out of coalition with Labour was The Families Commission. Only a few of the Green's far left policies managed to make it through, such as the anti-smacking bill, and Winston got only his bauble.

Mostly MMP has meant that the PM has had to negotiate every step of the way with other parties, change direction according to opinion polls and generally become more answerable. In the past under FPP, the govt, once in power could do what it liked for three years without being answerable. MMP was a response to the abuse of power we experienced under Muldoon. So long as some of us remember those times then MMP will remain.

Maybe when those of you who don't remember Muldoon are in power, then FPP will be reintroduced and the lesson will be learnt all over again, but in the meantime we have MMP.

KG said...

I swear to God, if a whey tank in Ekatahuna sprang a leak, lefty idiots would find a way to blame President Bush for it.

Nick C said...

Great post Zen, The Left have offered nothing but rhetoric about the 'evils of big money in elections'. They have had no proof that money is able to buy votes towards a previously unpopular cause. They have had no proof that money is able to influence policy. They have therefore had no proof that money is bad in potilics beyond the negative conotations that the words "big money" have.

KG said...

"All Dunne got out of coalition with Labour was The Families Commission. Only a few of the Green's far left policies managed to make it through, such as the anti-smacking bill, and Winston got only his bauble."
So--all we, the taxpayer got was another expensive waste of money in the Families Commission, a bill rammed through against the wishes of 84% of Kiwis and a Foreign Minister who isn't really the foreign minister but who jets around the world on pointless jaunts....
And the votes of these creeps have helped keep a profoundly dishonest and incompetent party in power.
Yay! for MMP.

KG said...

Let's have a referendum, let's see if the people want to keep MMP. I may be wrong, since I wasn't in NZ at the time, but wasn't a referendum promised?

Kent Parker said...

KG, if you knew that you could be under secret surveillance affects your willingness to say certain things. Civil liberty and freedom of speech are related:
http://www.aclu.org/safefree/resources/17343res20031114.html

Being in a state of war requires limitations on freedom of speech. Recall the slogans of WWII: "careless talk costs lives" or "be like dad, keep mum".

In pure literal terms, after the patriot act, saying the word "bomb" in an airport would likely lead you to be arrested. That is a restriction on your freedom of speech.

The fact is: in a state of war freedom of speech is curbed. So long as the US is at war with Iraq, then this state remains.

KG said...

geddoffit Kent. Saying the word "bomb" on your mobile 'phone right here in NZ could get you investigated, or hadn't you noticed?
Any one of us in the Western world could be under "secret surveillance" and no Patriot Act is necessary for that.
"n pure literal terms, after the patriot act, saying the word "bomb" in an airport would likely lead you to be arrested. That is a restriction on your freedom of speech."
In pure bloody literal terms, any fool saying "bomb" at an airport deserves to be arrested, given the proclivity of our muslim friends for blowing up airliners.
"
The fact is: in a state of war freedom of speech is curbed. So long as the US is at war with Iraq, then this state remains."
really? That must be why the NYT was free to break the law and disclose several covert surveillance operations--without being prosecuted for it.

Kent Parker said...

So--all we, the taxpayer got was another expensive waste of money in the Families Commission, a bill rammed through against the wishes of 84% of Kiwis and a Foreign Minister who isn't really the foreign minister but who jets around the world on pointless jaunts

All that and more happened under Muldoon and happens under any govt. Regardless of the colour of the ideology govts will produce what might seem to some to be "massive wastage". The following spring to mind: David Bain, Achmed Zowie, Clint Rickards, the $200 million meningococcal vaccination.

John Key has already done himself some "wastage" by not checking out his potential copyright liability. It would be fair to predict that his govt is going to be responsible for a fair amount of "wastage".

Come to think of it private corporations are just as capable of "wastage", bureaucracy and ill-conceived policy as anyone else. Welcome to the human race. Sit down, relax and enjoy the entertainment.

KG said...

So--it happened under Muldoon.
Well, that's a relief. Makes it all ok then.
"Come to think of it private corporations are just as capable of "wastage", bureaucracy and ill-conceived policy as anyone else."
As capable, yes. As likely? No, because private corporations are constrained by the requirement to make a profit.

KG said...

I've had arguing with you Kent. Half the time you simply slide sideways instead of addressing the issue and I have better things to do.

Kent Parker said...

KG,

The fact is: in a state of war freedom of speech is curbed. So long as the US is at war with Iraq, then this state remains."
really? That must be why the NYT was free to break the law and disclose several covert surveillance operations--without being prosecuted for it.


I think that you'll find the effect of restrictions on freedom of speech in the US is more subtle than that. The media is only now waking up to the fact that they have been stifling themselves as a result of the atmosphere of paranoia that Bush and his cronies swept up during the war in Iraq years. Few commentators at this point would dispute the argument that Bush is a 'lame duck'.

So, anyway, you go do your "better things".

ZenTiger said...

KG, if you knew that you could be under secret surveillance affects your willingness to say certain things.

So you are all for anonymous donations then?

Sit down, relax and enjoy the entertainment.

I'll be sure to let Labour and their supporters know how they should react to any initiatives the new government proposes, should they lose the next election.

ZenTiger said...

Kent, you said: Zen, I was alluding to the few extremists, represented by John Boscawen, DPF and co who interpreted the EFB in the most paranoid context available to the human imagination.

and then you say: I think that you'll find the effect of restrictions on freedom of speech in the US is more subtle than that.

For starters, the left are quick to label any dissenting opinion as "extremist". DPF and others have voiced strong opposition to the bill, but that doesn't make their views extremist. You explain their reasoning over picking apart the bill well when you point out such changes can be more subtle, and require strong debate. The only other option is to voice general concern with the bill and have the critics respond that there is no detail, and therefore no substance to the criticism.

Labour is charged with making good legislation, and DPF and others going through the detail have pointed out exactly how stupid the legislation is, regarding blocking TVNZ (oops, sorry), the megaphone law, the loopholes around expressing personal opinions, the requirement to register to express any opinion BEFORE the election period begins, and so forth.

Labour is now trying to argue that badly flawed legislation is now being fixed by the 150+ amendments, but all this has done is move the goal posts to discussing the detail of the badly worded clauses to ignoring the fact (for example) that a limit of $120,000 doesn't actually buy that much TV time or print.

These are not "extreme" opinions, it was just extremely bad legislation.

Kent Parker said...

the left are quick to label any dissenting opinion as "extremist". DPF and others have voiced strong opposition to the bill, but that doesn't make their views extremist.

Firstly, I oppose the bill, not because it will necessarily restrict my freedom of speech, but because of the lack of due process.

Secondly, I do believe that DPF has taken an extreme stance, because his argument has not stacked up and because Annette King used a reference to DPF as a weapon in answer to Bill English. The inference of that is that Labour perceive that for National to be associated with DPF and Boscawen is not in their favour. I do not see massive support from National for the extreme view held by a minority of anti-EFB campaigners, specifically ones that took to the streets.

Oops! Your were there too, weren't you, Zen!

MK said...

Free speech being stifled in the US, oh yeah, that's why gasbags like code pink and leftwing infested MSM are still flourishing merrily away.

KG, i wouldn't waste my time with someone who uses the ACLU as a source. The very fact that those ACLU scumbags haven't been executed for their treachery is proof enough that America is still too bloody free.

Kent Parker said...

i wouldn't waste my time with someone who uses the ACLU as a source. The very fact that those ACLU scumbags haven't been executed for their treachery is proof enough that America is still too bloody free.

So, you're not a supporter of free speech. Fair enough, that's your choice.

Skyman said...

Ah, Kent quoting the ACLU and talking like he knows what's going on in the US.

Take it from someone who lives in the US, my free speech has not changed one iota since the introduction of the Patriot Act. Nor do I know ANYONE who feels it has.

Kent, who claims to stand for moderation, uses as an example the Patriot Act which, if applied inappropriately, could result in abuses of the US Constitution.

But when it comes to the chance the EFB being misapplied and leading to abuses, he claims thats extremism.

You can't have it both ways.

And please Kent, until you can speak of life in the US with some first hand knowledge, don't embarass yourself.

Kent Parker said...

Hi Skyman,

How goes?

I'll accept that as a fair comment.

I guess my sentiments are more drawn not so much by the lack of free speech, but the lack of representation for anything but a very narrow frame of political reference in the US since 2000.

That's the sad bit.

Seeing Red and Green said...

Quoting Kent Parker... "I was alluding to the few extremists, represented by John Boscawen, DPF and co who interpreted the EFB in the most paranoid context available to the human imagination. I am no supporter of the EFB, but I do question any form of extremism."

I don't agree that the views or actions of John Boscawen in particular can be called extremism. The more I hear or read from mr Boscawen the more I am inclined to see his point of view as one of moderation in fact. It certainly hasn't hurt his credibility that the Greens and Annette King have resorted to ad hominem attacks on him (but has certainly harmed their own credibility even if only in my own opinion). Boscawen has been rational and forthcoming in all of his advertisements to date and presents a strong case, well done that man.

The groundswell of anti-Labour sentiment is getting more momentum every time Labour and the Labourettes open their mouths to change foot. I used to think Helen was a good bloke but she's trounced all over that notion with retrospective legislation to make their own illegal election spending legal. The pledge that only 5% of tax-payers would have to pay the top tax rate is long broken, Mr Cullen, and you're too late to get my trust back on that issue. The Greens have cultured an odour of manure since flying against more than 80% of NZers on the anti-smacking legislation (the intentions may be good but they seem to have forgotten about support infrastructure and education programmes to ensure parents understand how to effectively raise children with minimal physical discipline).

In all honesty, I think the EFB has been the best thing that could have happened for National. Regardless of whether it passes through unchanged or not, it seems to be Labour's biggest millstone to date.

Kent Parker said...

In all honesty, I think the EFB has been the best thing that could have happened for National.

I agree totally. The EFB for this election outcome will be the same as the EB was for the last.

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