tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

I give thanks for the fact that there are no instant potatoes in my life

I don't get this. What on earth are instant potatoes? Is that like the dehydrated stuff you buy for when you go tramping, that you add water and heat and it's like (well, actually, totally not like) mashed spud?

And why would you do that if you weren't tramping?

The Electoral Finance Bill. It's pretty crappy and will probably be passed.

So why's it crappy? Well, mostly because of the bit where you have to disclose full name and address for third party election advertising. This has always been the case, but the definitions around 'publishing' and 'election advertising' have changed. I've bolded the relevant bits:

"publish, in relation to an advertisement, means to—

(a) print or insert in a periodical published or distributed in New Zealand; or
(b) issue, hand out, or display; or
(c) send to any member of the public by any means; or
(d) deliver to any member of the public, or leave at a place owned or occupied by a member of the public; or
(e) broadcast; or
(f) include in a film or video displayed to the public; or
(g) disseminate by means of the Internet or any other electronic medium; or
(h) store electronically in a way that is accessible to the public; or
(i) bring to the notice of the public in any other manner"

And this bit:

"In this Act, election advertisement—
(a) means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can reasonably be regarded as doing 1 or more of the following:
(i) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote, for 1 or more specified parties or for 1 or more candidates or for any combination of such parties and candidates:
(ii) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote, for a type of party or for a type of candidate that is described or indicated by reference to views, positions, or policies that are or are not held, taken, or pursued (whether or not the name of a party or the name of a candidate is stated);"

"So what's the problem with that?" I hear you ask. Well, the problem I have with it is that for folks like me, who occasionally like to rant about our viewpoint, it means that if I say something like "I don't like Jim Anderton's drugs policy and anyone who agrees with me shouldn't vote for him" on my blog, that counts as published election advertising and I'm legally required to then publish my full name and address with it.

So it isn't exactly censorship, but it isn't exactly free speech either. It gets better. If I were to say something along the lines of "Don't vote for a nanny state whatever you do" (or whatever), that also counts as election advertising under part II of the definition.

More comprehensive information about this here.

Some people are saying this is a black and white, free speech issue. I wouldn't go that far. I'm free to say what I want. What they are trying to legislate is that I have to identify myself when I say it, so that they can check if I'm either paying or being paid to say it. If I were to say who I am voting for, and leave other people free to do whatever they want without trying to persuade them, I would not be breaking the law. I can even say "Vote for the McGillicuddies!" If I want. But if I do, this law says I must add my name and address to the statement.

I disagree with this bill in principle, that principle being that I am not prepared to publish my personal details on the internet for the world to come stalking me, just because they want to know if I'm being paid to give a certain opinion. Attempting to force me to expose my personal life because of an opinion I hold, is wrong.

I will continue to say whatever I want. Just saying.

It seems the bill will be passed, at the moment it has a majority in the House. This is only a small part of the bill, but it's an important part IMO. If it's passed, I plan to ignore it. I doubt the Powers That Be are likely to come chasing me anyway, I'm not a big enough fish for that. I'm more concerned that a future government with a not-so-altruistic agenda and a large show of force could use this law to silence dissenters. And that is totally fucked up.

So yeah. I plan to start violating this law on day one. I suggest you do too. *insert total lack of name and address here*

OK, so now you've had your daily dose of Tats on a rampage, you know that all is well with the world, things are normal, nothing to see here, move along please.. ;-)

This weekend I'm going to spend grubbing thistles with friends. And I can't think of a better way to spend the weekend. It's going to be Ace! What are you up to?
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