Monday, 30 October 2006

Clark Government signals free speech attacks

I've mentioned the headlining sustainability nostrums trumpeted at the weekend's Labour conference, but Bernard Darnton points out the less well-reported attacks on free speech that emerged:

In the wake of their shambolic handling of the election funding scandal and their disgust that people voluntarily give more money to the National Party than to them, the Labour Party called for a raft of changes to electioneering rules at this weekend’s party conference.

The NZ Herald reports that the remit called for state funding of political parties, a ban on anonymous donations to political parties, and constraints on third party advertising. The resolution was passed “unanimously and without debate.” And that’s how they like it.

All of these are attacks on free speech. State funding of political parties subsidises some political propaganda, in effect drowning out opposition. Banning voluntary donations can be seen as a move to protect against any potential corruption but, given the general lack of corruption in New Zealand, is more likely to be used as a way to find out who donates to the “wrong” party. Restricting third-party advertising is the most direct attack on free speech as it prevents unapproved groups from expressing their opinions at election time.

Read Bernard's whole post here, and make no mistake that free speech is under attack.

UPDATE: Liberty Scott weighs in as well:
Having happily used your money, extracted from you by force, to fund a key part of its election campaign (and none of the other parties having the same funding to spread its manifesto the same way), the Labour Party has voted in its conference to support compulsory funding of political parties campaigns based on the previous party vote... This is an absolute outrage for several very important reasons:
Read on for those reasons.

LINK: Stifling dissent the Labour Way - Section 14
Thieving bastards have conference - Liberty Scott

RELATED: Politics-NZ, Free Speech, Politics-Labour


  1. IF governments insist on making me pay for their propaganda then I would like them to put together a simple black and white flyer which has 1 page per party, in alpahbetical order with a word limit of 500 words per party, in the same size font, in which every eligible NZ party can explain its policies and manifesto prior to a general election.

    This flyer would be delivered to all mailboxes and would be the only tax-payer funded pre-election spending allowed. Equal space for each party, so that the voter can see all of the parties next to eac other.

  2. It would certainly make for a quieter (and less wasteful) election.

    But would you allow airbrushing?

  3. But would you allow airbrushing?

    LOL, certainly not. No pictures at all, not even logos. Just black text on white paper. Anyeon with financial clout can make themselves look appealing with a few advertising dollars. I'm interested in policies and integrity, not faces.


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