As HL Mencken observed, elections are an advance auction of stolen goods. In New zealand, the auction is paid for by the taxpayer.
Parties are not allowed to use their own money for electronic advertising during the election period, so the taxpayer has to be fleeced in order to be made aware of the election bribes on offer. The distribution of that funding for the forthcoming election has been announced by the Electoral Commission.
Labour and National recieve $1.1 and $0.9 million respectively; ACT, NZF, UF and Greens $200k; Maori Party $125k; Progressive Party $75k; Alliance, CHP, Destiny and Libertarianz $20k each; and a truck-load of minor parties each getting a $10k bone.
AS you can expect, some people are happier than others at the state's generosity. DPF and related comments here. The Greens' frog croaks unhappily here. Greg Stephens comments here, Winston bleats here and Rodney Hide here.
TV time has been allocated for all but the minor parties. Libertarianz has received one minute of TV time; Labour and National 12 minutes each (and to top this up Labour also have the taxpaid promotion of their Working for Families bribe).
To bribe people with their own money! What could be more ingenious?
Full story here.
[UPDATE: Winston's bleating has been removed from Scoop. He now whinges here, and National respond here. ]