More Civil Disobedience

Science and Technology News and Commentary: Aardvark Daily

Bruce Simpson of has joined the civil disobedience over the Electoral Finance Act, but with a twist. His explanation is beautiful.
[quote]In past columns I’ve sometimes been strongly critical of Labour and its attempts to clamp down on the rights of good honest NZers.

So what’s with that strangely pro-labour banner now running on the Aardvark website?

Have I gone crazy?

No (well that’s my opinion, others may disagree).

I’m about to force the hand of the government to bring prosecution under the new electoral spending legislation that was dragged through parliament just before Christmas.

And here’s how I’ll be doing it.

I’m assigning a value of $100 per day to a banner of this size with a side-wide run of Aardvark Daily. That’s a pretty fair value. I spend three hours per day working on the site to aggregate news links and write the two columns you all wait to read each day. Given the minimal amount of advertising I carry on this site (one sponsor, one Google Adsense and now one banner), this represents a gross return of around $33 per hour — a pittance really.

So here I am, donating advertising to the Labour party — and, more specifically, to the Helen Clark re-election campaign. I’ll be dropping her electorate office an email to advise them of my donation which, by the time the election rolls around, will have amounted to some $30,000 worth of advertising.

But wait — as an unregistered individual I’m only allowed to spend $4,000 on promoting an individual candidate during an election year. Oh my gosh, this means that by mid-February, I’ll be in breach of the law.

Yes, I will have committed an offence under the new law.

So what will happen?

Well if police fail to prosecute, Labour will open itself up to all sorts of allegations in respect to political interference with the enforcement of the new law. Are they choosing not to prosecute simply because it’s Labour that’s being promoted? Would they have prosecuted if I were promoting National or NZ First?

And, since political parties themselves have a cap on their ad-spend during an election year, I expect that my donation of $30K advertising will have to be subtracted from the total ad-spend Labour has to play with — or they too would be in breach of the law.

Gosh, doesn’t this seem like an awful mess the government has gotten itself into in their attempt to suppress free speech in an election year?

So I call on everyone to make a little note in their diaries that my $100/day advertising campaign started on January 7th and by Monday Feb 14th, I will be breaking the law. If a prosecution is not forthcoming by that stage, I suggest you contact the relevant authorities to report this abominable law-breaking.

I, and I’m sure much of the country, will be very interested to find out how someone can be prosecuted for publishing their own opinions on a website they’ve run for 13 years, simply because it’s an election year.

It makes China’s move to censor the Net look rather paltry by comparison doesn’t it?

The gauntlet is down Helen, you have 40 days to think hard about your response.

Readers, what’s your take on this?

Any predictions?

Will my daily columns after Feb 14 be brought to you from an IP number within the corrections system?[/quote]

Powered by ScribeFire.