Saturday, November 17, 2007

ZenTiger The Exclusive Brethren versus the Greens

Back when I blogged at Sir Humphrey's, I had a look at the EB's brochure and investigated the points they made. Some of my material was lost (long story), but I'll work over the next few days to post here whatever I can find. For the record.

[Largely from Sir Humphrey's - 10 September 2005, with minor updates]

The Exclusive Brethren (EB) exercised their democratic right to print political brochures. Unfortunately, they bucked the trend and rather than blasting National Policy, they came out with a brochure criticising the Greens. They made 15 points, and provided an assessment of the environmental impact the Greens have had on our Flora and Fauna in the wake of a Labour-Led government.

The Greens were quick to brand the brochure as a "campaign of lies". Jeanette Fitzsimons, Greens Co-Leader also referred to the brochure as 50% outright lies and 50% gross exaggerations. Other pro-Green commenters and main stream media seemed to accept that this "cult" had lied, and I had seen nothing from our investigative reporters spelling out the content of the EB Brochure. I had a look for myself, to see if what they had said were indeed "all lies".

My findings were that 15 of the 16 points were absolutely fair comment to make with regard to the Green policy. Points 4,5, and 8 were debatable as to the exact numbers and costs, but that is standard fare for politics. There was one point only I could see no justification for the assertion, or any reason they may have had to hold that opinion. Just one.

For Jeanette to brand their brochure a "campaign of lies", "half full" of "outright lies" is in itself, a gross exaggeration. In an election where we have Ross Wilson, head of CTU saying "National will fund tax cuts with workers lives", and Labour allegedly sending "eviction notices" to State Housing tenants to show a vote for National is a vote for eviction, the opinions expressed in the Exclusive Brethren brochures are mild, and with as much foundation. For example, the Greens can hardly claim its a lie they don't support the Kyoto Protocol. Their opinion is the tax payers will not be paying the billion dollars per year in Kyoto taxes, because they will convince Labour or National to turn it around just in time. We'll see. In the meantime, do the Greens support Kyoto? Absolutely.

I list the main points put forward by the EB Brochure, and my verdict - if the Green's are guilty of the claims made by the EB or if they are innocent of the charges against them. Please accept a one line summary is not always a clear explanation. It is backed up by detail. Click on each link (the highlighted word Guilty or Innocent against each item) to learn what my research uncovered.

1: Introduce a capital gains tax on family homes.
The Greens recommended this in their Eco-Tax Submission to parliament 2001. They quoted from that document as recently as 5 Sep 2005. Lets assume they mean what they say. Guilty!

2: Increase petrol and diesel taxes.
Greens want to remove tax exemptions on diesel, and add a Kyoto tax. Prices up and Guilty!

3: Introduce a carbon tax, and putting power prices up.
Greens are in favour of carbon taxes, and it is arguable power prices will increase. Guilty!

4: Support Kyoto Protocol - the billion dollar bungle
Kyoto = Greens. Guilty!

5: Add 4 more ministries and [...] more bureaucrats
The Greens plan to grow the government - Guilty.

6: Cut defence spending by 50% and disarm our forces
Take the words of Keith Locke, and the sums offered by Jeanette Fitzsimons, it looks that way. They have no defence and are found - Guilty.

7: Ban the building of new prisons and teach criminals art
Once again, Green Policy. Guilty.

8: Spend roading money on uneconomic and novel public transport schemes
Underground rail is novel and expensive. Maybe not as much as roads? Its a good debate. On the Guilty Train.

9: Block construction of vital new roads with tortuous RMA regulations.
The Greens support the RMA. It's tortuous. Some parties want it gutted.Guilty by association.

10: Push high country farmers off their lease-hold land.
All they want to do is raise farm rents...and they complain about State Housing: Within range of Guilty

11: Permit right-to-roam over property.
They support public access over private property. Guilty.
Note: Right-to-roam is a phrase meaning access private property without owners permission.

12: Decriminalise illegal drugs - like cannabis.
Like cannabis? You mean hash, skunk, and marijuana? Guilty man.

13: Offer financial assistance to cannabis growers for alternative employment.
I could find no specific policy for this, just a line from their Drug Law Reform Policy that offered assistance, but not specifically financial. Clean and Innocent.

14: Create rainbow communities. Legalise Adoption for Same Sex Couples.
Create? No, just support/encourage. But the rest is true, and we'd be quibbling. Guilty.

15: Voted against including the right to own Property in the NZ Bill of Rights
Other countries might need it, but NZ doesn't the Greens say. That explains why they have a right to be Guilty.

16: Support Labour, who are destroying/not maintaining the environment
With declining numbers of Kiwi, Hector Dolphins and wetlands, they have a point. Its Labour's fault, but they are Guilty.

Greens version of the Rebuttal (by Jeanette Fitzsimons)

The thrust of this rebuttal was to label anything that was basically true a "half truth". There were 7 of those, and one point she fully conceded, and one she ignored, making 9 out of 16 points in the region of "OK, they have a point, but we can explain". That really destroys their credibility in attacking the brochure the way they have done. This is NO WORSE than the Greens own style of politicking seen in their press releases and website.

Of the other 7 points that Jeanette labeled "outright lies", I agreed with her on one of those points. That is, I agreed their interpretation was perhaps too liberal, but not that they were caught in a lie. [Source].

The substance of rebuttal on the other 6 would seem to be in splitting hairs on the numbers, or debating the actual effect of the policy, except the point on halving Defence Spending [source], where I catch Jeanette's rebuttal as, ironically, looking like a lie.

I found very little substance in the Green blog on their costings, which makes it harder to form an opinion one way or the other [Update: I may have found data I was looking for, I'll update when I get a chance]. That's why I submit it is very reasonable to bring these points to debate. The Greens have responded with "gross exaggerations"

The Greens campaign on being a straight up and refreshingly honest party with the importance of the environment as the underpinning of all human prosperity. Acting in an arrogant manner and labeling the EB brochure a "campaign of lies" from a "cult group" does not demonstrate any discernible difference from Labour. They would do well to embrace criticism in a more positive light. The Hector Dolphin, the Kiwi, our forests and lakes may be depending upon it.

Well, that's my opinion.

Side Topic: International Green Conspiracy

Update (November 2007)
For the record! Back in 2005, the Greens and NZ Labour began a campaign of concerted vilification of the Exclusive Brethren (EB), in response to the publication of an anti-Green brochure by a group of 7 business men connected with the EB. It became an even bigger issue of course, with several other twists to the story I will cover (rehash) in due course.

The press effectively gave tens of thousands of dollars of "free" coverage to the Greens and Labour, as the moral outrage expressed by these parties made good news. Sadly, I can recall no news service offering a balanced review of the contents of the EB brochure, nor any comparisons to gutter politics style brochures from Labour at the time. They simply regurgitated the sound bites from the Greens and Labour.

As NZ Labour push through a series of anti-democratic legislation that deeply affects our right to promote an opinion, whilst providing them with more tax paid funding, I find myself wondering how sophisticated parties and unions will get at manufacturing debate so as to give themselves free exposure of their opinions, even as it becomes illegal to spend more than three or four full page advertisements for up to a year before an election.

Some of their justification for this legislation has referred to the EB, and insisting they do not have the right to spend money to voice an opinion. This stance, whilst understandable, is not sound for people who place great importance on freedom of speech. I hope to cover this argument too in due course.

17 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Mate i read both sides of the argument and your claims contain about as much bullshit as the exclusive brethrens .

But besides that you conveniently forgot one big detail they didnt include who was behind the phamplets .A very big issue because people need to know what type of redneck is behind the way of thinking .

Windge and moan all you like but the same religious rednecks are doing the same deceitful tactics over the Tasman .

Maybe you should go join them because you obviously enjoy redneckism

I.M Fletcher said...

I still got the brochure here Zen; I will try to scan it in (if my scanner is still working)

ZenTiger said...

Anon Mate, looking forward to your detailed rebuttal instead of empty claims.

Don't totally disagree about the disclosure issue - and will cover that in due course.

I'm not winging, I'm outlining the bigotry and spin coming from the other side.

Not interested in joining them - I never said I agree with their philosophy, just that I feel freedom of speech is a bigger issue than your perception of the EB.

I.M Fletcher said...

Zen, check yr gmail...

ZenTiger said...

Thanks Fletch. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Well done see you have the EB pamphlet claims on your blog now .

All you need to do now so unlike the EB you have a balanced honest campaign .

Is post the (green policy) that these claims were made from .So blog readers can compare yours and their claims to what the green policy actually said .

For a start they had no policy to increase (petrol tax) so it was a half truth .

There is a big difference between putting forward whether capital gain tax should be investigated and it actually being policy .Where did they state if they got in this would happen ?.

Where did they talk about disarming our forces ?.

On the guilty train you suggest over the transport huh ...But you suggest its a good debate ! L.o.L ..You bet it is ...unless you think oil is a endless resource and maybe you think Aucklanders will be able to grow wings to get to work .Nothing wrong with thinking outside the square unless you are a square right winger i suppose !! l.o.l .

And your right to roam is crap claims .Access along rivers mate ..Dont you friging rednecks want your kids kids to be able to go trout fishing .

Mate im not gonna bother argueing with rednecks , there is no need .They are old hat and in decline thankfully .

Here is another point of view seeing your blog is as biased and as full of lies and half truths as the EB bullshit ....

Anonymous said...

And one more thing while your windging on about how wonderful and how hard done by the Exclusive brethren are .About this disarming of the forces .

Yeah the EB and most likely National would be keen as hell to pump mega money into arm forces etc .Most likely would be keen to send young people to fight muslims and die there in numbers as well.And make us look just as foolish as Bush and co too .

The eb certainly would they dislike muslim because they are not Christian .But do you think any of their young would be sent to take up arms ? , not likely .Infact not a chance !! they claim another religious exemption and refuse on religious grounds .

So what are the twits mouthing off for ? .Put it this way do you think they would bat a eye if your teenager got killed over there ? .

Anonymous said...

Hysterical, mis-informed and massively bigoted.

Well done anon. You have effectively advertised why the greens must never, ever get their fingers on the levers of power.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you seem to be a little upset. LMAO. What a joke your are.

Redneck. Heheheh.

ZenTiger said...

There is a big difference between putting forward whether capital gain tax should be investigated and it actually being policy. Where did they state if they got in this would happen?

Anon. The Greens put forward their Eco-Tax Bill with the obvious intent they would like the ideas adopted and made law. Otherwise, what is the point?

From their web site: Ecological tax reform is gradual process, and needs to be worked through with all concerned. That’s part of Green thinking too. But we have clear proposals on how to start...

They start with their Eco-Tax Submission to parliament. I quote from that document, and link to the page from their tax submission where they 'suggest' a Capital Gains Tax. Even on the family home.

Only a suggestion, doesn't count? Very funny. That's like saying "Our policy is freedom for all, but as a suggestion (not our policy you understand) we recommend creating Gulags and putting anyone the Greens call a 'redneck' in them.

And your right to roam is crap claims .Access along rivers mate ..Dont you friging rednecks want your kids kids to be able to go trout fishing

These are not my claims, mate. It's an opinion the EB are raising when talking about the effect of the Greens policy. Sorry. Suggestion.

Their proposed law change isn't just about a bit of trout fishing on Farmer Browns property. The law change is not limited to walking alongside rivers. It ends up giving people that have been caught stealing sheep or been caught scoping a Farmer's property, and the farmer, miles from any meaningful police support, being beaten and robbed. The wrong Right To Roam laws could add further danger.

As it happens, I think it a fair opinion to bring to the discussion, and personally speaking, I think there is a way of accommodating Right to Roam in a way that doesn't infringe on property rights of landowners by using the blunt force of the State.

Thanks for the link to the Greens Rebuttal. If it isn't in one of my other posts yet to be re-published, I'll pop it up later.

You might want to slow down on the constant 'redneck' bleating. A few used in choice places works well, but if over-used, just makes you look like a stoned Marxist on speed.

I know legalizing dope is another Green 'suggestion', but it hasn't been legalized yet.

MathewK said...

Just looking at those points and judging from the high pitch of squealing from the greens and knowing what the greens are like over here, i'd say the Brethren nailed it on the head.

ZenTiger said...

Anon, I just checked my above post - and the Green's rebuttal link was there all along. (Thought it was around somewhere).

Anonymous said...

Anon. The Greens put forward their Eco-Tax Bill with the obvious intent they would like the ideas adopted and made law. Otherwise, what is the point?

That right Zen .

Then this is for real and bound to happen if National gets in ! .

The National Party is considering going into next year's election with a policy to partially sell some of the country's state-owned assets - and its deputy leader, Bill English, is confident the idea will not provoke a voter backlash.

National has talked openly about the merits of partially selling state-owned enterprises before, but Mr English's comments yesterday have provoked a fierce response from Labour and effectively reopened the political debate about the future of SOEs.

Anonymous said...

I think Anderton has it right .

“Anyone opposing new electoral laws needs to front up with an explanation for why some of the most anti-democratic behaviour at the last election should be allowed to continue,” Progressive leader Jim Anderton said today.

And .

Bill English's admission that National would sell some state assets if it won an election is a throwback to the failed policies of the past. His promise is a good opportunity to look at what happened when the public's crown jewels were given away in the last fire sale of state assets.

L.o.L ...Check it out ...Not idea Nats ! Turnaround Nats - not sure what they believe ! .

How true !!

Hysterical yep , with laughter ! ..

Ok i`ll leave you National rednecks to windge and wine on as usual ! like a band of useless violin players !squealing out some old backward tune ... L.o.L

ZenTiger said...

Thanks for dropping in Anon. While you are away, can you tell me how much of AirNZ was floated? Roughly?

As for Anderton, he is confusing the illegal behaviour with the last election (which should have been prosecuted) with the naive assumption that the party most responsible for corrupt behaviour, is the very one putting forward flawed Electoral reforms, are to be trusted. Stupid.

Pretty simple really.

PS: I've never voted National. What's your point again?

ZenTiger said...

Also Anonymous, after all of your frothing, you've effectively agreed the Greens wanted to put CGT on the family home:

That right Zen

Keep up the therapy. I think it's helping.

ZenTiger said...

An anon commenter above has leveled a few criticisms of my rebuttal documents. Although I'm not sure they read them in any detail, relying on Jeanette's summary.

I've therefore gone back and done some further research, and will update the original posts as they come over to this blog site.

For example, the Defence Policy claim that the Greens wanted to halve defence spending and disarm the forces.

Anon states: Where did they talk about disarming our forces?

I have found the specific quotes from MORE THAN ONE SOURCE (and all Green Party documents) to totally nail this one down.

You can read that particular update by clicking the link from point 6.

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