Dowry update

July 4, 2018

The Taxpayers’ Union says Winston’s dowry continues to grow:

It was revealed last week, that the tax break for racing industry bloodstock is expected to cost significantly more than previously anticipated. The tax breaks for the racing industry have faced ridicule as the only tax cut in Budget 2018. 

That’s not surprising: the racing industry has historically been a strong supporter of New Zealand First. The Electoral Commission recently found that Sir Patrick Hogan was in breach of the Electoral Act when he funded a full page ad in support of the party prior to the General Election last year. 

At Budget 2018, the cost of the tax break was expected to equal $4.8 million over the next four years, however IRD officials expect the tax break will cost up to $40 million – a 733% increase in the cost of the policy. That means taxpayers will be on the line for an additional $35.2 million over the next four years, which is all added onto Winston’s Dowry!

Winston’s Dowry as at 2 July: $5.168 billion ($2989 per household)

The total cost so far is $5.168 billion – or $2989 for the average New Zealand household, although if officials continue to increase the expected cost of policies, this figure will grow. 

“The Dowry” to date:

  • Provincial Growth Fund: $3 billion or $1735 per household
  • Additional funding for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: $1.144 billion or $661 per household
  • Additional funding for the Ministry of Defence: $426 million or $246 per household
  • Additional funding for learning support: $272.8 million or $157 per household
  • Additional funding for Oranga Tamariki: $269.9 million or $156 per household 
  • Adjusted ‘Hot horses’ tax break, the new Forestry Hub, and a rename for the Ministry of Children: $55.4 million or $32.05 per household

Some of that spend could be necessary and provide value for money.

But hot-horse tax breaks? Neigh!


Electoral law isn’t working

May 23, 2018

The Electoral Commission is investigating an advertisement exhorting people to vote for New Zealand First.

It’s not hard to join the dots between tax breaks for fast horses and racing interests who back New Zealand First.

. . . Winston Peters has repaid the electoral support of the racing industry with changes to the bloodstock tax rules and plans for an all-weather track. 

Peters announced $4.8m for tax deductions towards the cost of breeding high quality horses, in Thursday’s budget. The change would encourage new investment in the breeding industry, he said, enhancing the country’s racing stock and making it a more financially attractive industry.  . . 

NZ First has not disclosed its party donors in the annual declarations to the Electoral Commission, this month, but Peters did have outspoken support at last year’s election from the Waikato thoroughbred and bloodstock industry.  . . 

Industry leaders were vocal in their support of NZ First, with thoroughbred breeders Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan taking out a full-page advertisement in industry newspaper The Informant to encourage racing participants to party vote NZ First in September last year.  . . .

It is permissible for people or groups to advertise in support of a party but Andrew Geddis raises some questions about this advertisement:

The advertisement definitely encouraged people to vote for New Zealand First. It was here on Sunday but if you click that link now you’ll get access denied. However it is in the link to the story at Stuff above and says:

There is only one horse to back, it’s New Zealand First. It has the race record.  It’s now imperative that you all take this opportunity to have what we want by  making our PARTY VOTE IN FAVOUR OF NEW ZEALAND FIRST.. . 

And under the signatures it says:

PLACE YOUR PARTY VOTE FOR NEW ZEALAND FRIST

It’s possible the Hogans and the industry magazine didn’t know the electoral law about third party promotion but ignorance isn’t a defence.

Although, like far too many instances when questions are raised about possible breaches of electoral law, the investigation is far too late, this horse has well and truly bolted.

Months after the election is far too late so whether or not there has been a breach of electoral law, this yet again raises questions about the effectiveness of the law.

However, it’s not too late to address any conflict the issue of Peters as Racing Minister.

David Farrar points out:

Jacinda Ardern said NZ First Ministers can’t be Minister of Fisheries due to their donations from the fishing industry. Yet she makes Winston Minister of Racing despite figures in the racing industry running advertisements campaigning for NZ First. . . 

If NZ First MPs can’t be Ministers of Fisheries because of donations from the fishing industry, this advertisement should disqualify Peters from being Racing Minister.


Greenpeace ad is electioneering

September 8, 2014

The High Court has supported the Electoral Commission’s contention that a Greenpeace advertisement is electioneering.

The High Court in Wellington has today released a judgment in two cases filed concerning decisions of the Electoral Commission (Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc & Ors v Electoral Commission CIV-2014-485-8997) and (Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc v Electoral Commission CIV-2014-485-8998).

In the first case, Greenpeace and others were seeking a statutory declaration that the Climate Voter website was not an election advertisement under section 3A of the Electoral Act 1993. The Court rejected Greenpeace’s arguments and said that the website that the Electoral Commission considered when providing its advisory opinion was an election advertisement for the purposes of the Electoral Act.

In the second case, regarding a Greenpeace website criticising Simon Bridges, the Court has declared that the website was not an election advertisement as it related to his role as Minister of Energy and could not reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading people not to vote for a candidate or party.

The Electoral Commission will need to carefully consider the judgment and discuss the implications of the decision further with Greenpeace and others.

No further comment will be made while the judgment is under consideration . . .

Of course the advertisement was electioneering.

It was clearly aimed at persuading people to vote the way Greenpeace and its fellow travellers wanted them to.


Party and candidate lists

August 27, 2014

The Electoral Commission has released the party and candidate lists for next month’s election.

The registered parties seeking the party vote are:

ACT New Zealand

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Ban1080

Conservative

Democrats for Social Credit

Focus New Zealand

Green Party

Internet MANA

Labour Party

Māori Party

National Party

New Zealand First Party

NZ Independent Coalition

The Civilian Party

United Future

13 registered political parties contested the general election in 2011.

Candidates

A total of 554 candidates (electorate and list) are standing in this year’s election. This compares with 544 candidates in the 2011 election.

71 candidates are on the party list only and 114 are standing as electorate candidates only.  38 electorate candidates are standing as independents or representing unregistered parties (only registered parties are eligible to contest the party vote).

The number of candidates standing both as an electorate candidate and on a party list is 369.

The electorates with the most candidates are Epsom and Tauranga with 11 and the electorate with the lowest number of candidates is Hauraki-Waikato with 3.

390 men and 164 women are standing in the 2014 General Election. In 2011 there were 397 men and 147 women standing.

The elections website www.elections.org.nz has full information by electorate including candidates, advance voting places and election day voting places at

www.elections.org.nz/events/2014-general-election/information-voters-who-when-and-where

The party lists are available at www.elections.org.nz/2014partylists

Party

Number of Candidates

List Candidates

Electorate Candidates

ACT New Zealand

44

41

39

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

13

13

10

Ban1080

9

9

5

Conservative

64

20

64

Democrats for Social Credit

35

35

30

Focus New Zealand

8

8

2

Green Party

60

59

57

Internet MANA (figures include Electorate Candidates standing for MANA Movement or Internet Party)

35

32

Internet Party – 15

MANA Movement – 18

Labour Party

85

64

71

Māori Party

27

24

24

National Party

75

75

64

New Zealand First Party

32

31

31

NZ Independent Coalition

10

10

4

The Civilian Party

8

8

0

United Future

11

11

11

Unregistered party and independent candidates

38

N/A

38

Total

554

440

483

To see the break-down of list and electorate candidates click on the link at the top of the page.

Does anyone know why only 65 candidates appear on the published list when a few parties have more than that number of candidates?


Civilan Party regsitered

August 13, 2014

The Civilian Party has met the membership and other criteria necessary to be registered as a political party:

On 11 August 2014 the Electoral Commission determined applications made under Part 4 of the Electoral Act 1993 to register the following political party and logo:

Party: The Civilian Party

Logo:

The Electoral Commission determined that the party and logo be registered in accordance with sections 67 and 71F of the Electoral Act 1993. The Register of Political Parties and logos has been updated accordingly.

I admire this party because it knows it and its policies are jokes.

There are several other parties without the required self-knowledge to realise they are too – though none of them is nearly as funny.


113 breaches referred 0 prosecutions?

July 2, 2014

The Electoral Commission has referred 113 breaches of the electoral Act to police in the last three years and none has resulted in a prosecution:

Figures supplied by the Electoral Commission reveal 113 cases have been referred to police for investigation since the beginning of 2011 – not one has resulted in a prosecution.

Daljit Singh, a Labour Party candidate in Auckland’s first Super City elections, was convicted of electoral fraud earlier this year but the actions on which the charge of electoral fraud were based  took place more than three years ago.

Back to the original story:

It’s a figure Justice Minister Judith Collins wasn’t aware of.

Ms Collins doesn’t know the basis on which the Electoral Commission referred the cases to police, and says it’s something she’d have to find out more about before she could express an opinion.

While surprised at the figure, Ms Collins remains critical of opposition party calls for the Electoral Commission to be given the power to prosecute breaches of electoral laws.

“That would be an interesting situation since as I recall it’s mostly their parties that are actually responsible for most of the breaches, but that would be very interesting. That would be turkeys voting for an early Christmas wouldn’t it.” . . .

It would be very interesting and that might not be the answer.

But all those referrals and not a single prosecution is a very strong indication that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Alleged breaches need to be taken seriously and dealt with quickly – preferably before the election which might be affected by them.


All votes equal

February 3, 2014

I don’t expect everyone to share my political views and respect others who have the courage of their convictions, whether or not they agree with mine.

What frustrates me is people who vote without understanding what they’re doing.

It’s a frustration shared by Paul Henry:

. . . “The problem with the democracy is that everyone’s vote counts the same as everyone else. I think it is diabolical that someone who doesn’t give a shit about politics, has no interest in it, doesn’t care, can go into the polling booth and nullify my vote through their own pig-ignorant stupidity,” he said.

If Henry ran the country (his 1999 foray into politics for the National Party in Wairarapa left him unelected) there would be a test at the beginning of the ballot paper to determine a voter’s intellectual capability to participate in democracy. A three-question, multi-choice quiz to establish a minimum knowledge of the system.

“And if you can’t get those three questions right, there is no way you can make an even vaguely intelligent independent decision on who should form the next government. It would be nice if people could upskill,” he said. . . .

I’ve often said that people should have a comprehension test before they’re allowed to vote – but only tongue in cheek.

If you’re free to vote you’re free to vote in ignorance or to not vote at all.

But could – and should – more be done to ensure people are better informed and engaged so that they can vote more intelligently?

I don’t know of any data on why people vote the way they do but Statistics NZ has found that the most common reason for not voting at all was they didn’t get round to it, forgot or weren’t interested.

Non-voters in 2008 and 2011 general elections: Findings from New Zealand General Social Survey shows 21 percent of people who didn’t vote in the 2011 General Election ‘didn’t get round to it, forgot or weren’t interested’.

A further 7 percent didn’t vote because they felt their vote wouldn’t make a difference. It’s interesting to see that this group has nearly doubled since the 2008 General Election, according to NZGSS manager, Philip Walker.

Age, income, and migrant status also made a difference to voting behaviour. Younger people were less likely to vote – 42 percent of people aged between 18–24 years said they didn’t vote in the 2011 General Election.

“People who feel they don’t have enough money to meet their daily needs are also less likely to vote,” Mr Walker said.

Whether people are migrants, and how long they have been in New Zealand also made a difference to their voting behaviour. Recent migrants had low voting rates, while migrants who had been in New Zealand for longer periods had very similar voting behaviour as people born in New Zealand.

The report is welcomed by the Electoral Commission, which is concerned about New Zealand’s declining voter participation.

“Declining voter engagement in our Parliamentary democracy is a problem that affects all of us and it will take a national effort to turn this worrying trend around,” Robert Peden, Chief Electoral Officer, said. “This research will further increase understanding of the problem, which is a necessary step in finding solutions.”

It’s not just a matter of quantity but quality.

We should be concerned not just about how many people vote but that they do so in an informed manner with a good understanding of what they’re doing.

I am sure one of the reasons people are disenchanted by politics and politicians is that they don’t understand them.


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