THAT’S A RECORDING DEVICE!

Spilt tea

Someone has finally released the teapot tapes, the recording of John Key and John Banks talking at a Newmarket café, inadvertently recorded by cameraman Bradley Ambrose. This should have happened before the election.

Stuff are probably referring to the partial phone number John Key gives out when they say the authenticity of the tape is confirmed by information in the tape.

Here’s Steven Price on why it’s okay to link to.

Apparently police want to talk to six people who were in the café during the talk, because, you know, they probably recorded the conversation as well! (Or they can provide better details than the camera footage the police have?)

Mirrors: YouTube, SoundCloud and here.

Highlights:
(first four based on XboomcrashbangX’s comment on YouTube)

2:40 National Party are working with someone they would rather not. They are careful not to mention who.

4:08 A lot of Winston Peters’ constituents/supporters will have died.

6:10 John Key purposely doesn’t text John Banks so that it appears they are not working too closely, so they can say that they haven’t been in contact.

6:52 Don Brash is a strange fellow.

7:22 Is that yours? That’s a recording device!

7:40 What’s that? Someone’s recording device. Let’s take it with us.

10:30 It’s right here and it’s still going. [something about turning it on/off.] Take the batteries out.

Image credit: Lee Jordan

Please Follow The Instructions Carefully

Voting instructions

I agree with Graeme Edgeler over at Legal Beagle: you should probably read the Waitakere (Sepuloni/Bennett) recount/judicial review judgment (pdf) by Judge Adams. Graeme calls it 14 pages of democracy.

It’s written in plain English, and it’s no surprise that Judge Adams has a Masters in Creative Writing and has written a book of poems.

“[6] Imagine a large, vacated, open-plan office. It is well-lit, day or night, and there are windows along one side. At one end, it connects, through a door, to another similar room; at the other end, a door connects it to a large kitchen-dining area. It is not flash but the basics are provided. The room is furnished with tables made of cardboard. Four large tables have been created; achieved by pushing six tables together, three on one side and three on the other. Sellotape strips join  them together, and ensure that there is no gap into which a slip of paper could disappear. A single cardboard table stands at the head of each large table – this is the place for the table leader. The folding chairs have slightly padded seats. On these seats the counters will sit for several hours each day. This is the Waitakere electorate offìce.”

Some interesting bits from the judgment:

Dual votes

On Election Day I remember having a discussion on Twitter about what happens if it turns out there is more than one vote for a voter. I asked at a polling place but they weren’t too sure either. Basically, the election people find out what happened from the voter, and if they seem legit, they allow their actual vote.

“[22] All the polling place records are collected and a thorough check is made in order to discover if anyone has been given more than one ballot paper; this is referred to [as] “dual votes”. Where dual voting seems to have occurred the Returning Officer conducts a check – even having her staff call to the home of the voter – so that the voter can shed light on the matter. The rule is that dual votes are both disallowed but if enquiry shows that the real voter received only one paper, their vote is allowed.”

Unenrolled voters

Nearly 400 votes weren’t counted because the voters weren’t enrolled to vote.

“[24] … In Waitakere, 393 people who cast votes were found not to be enrolled anywhere so their votes remained unopened, never counted. Those votes did not form any part of the official count.”

National paranoia

A National Party scrutineer wanted the building guarded by police. The judge: “The police were likely to have more productive tasks on hand”.

“[42] At approximately 8:15pm on the Wednesday evening a National Party scrutineer, Mr Mark Brickell, requested that I ask police to guard the building. He submitted that, if word leaked out that the vote seemed closer than the official count, there might be an attempt to interfere with the voting forms. I saw no evidence of any such risk; the suggestion had not been made earlier; the police were likely to have more productive tasks on hand; the building seemed secure. I provided a hand-written decision which gave my reasons. I permitted either party to employ security guards to attend outside the building provided they notified me, and I gave them my cellphone number for that purpose. I received no call. In the morning the ballot papers were still where I had left them.”

<3

Best. Judgment. Ever.

“[47] … My favourite was the voter who emphasised their tick for Carmel Sepuloni by drawing a little orange heart in the rectangle containing her name.”

We don’t like admitting mistakes, or we love trees

Or we don’t know that we can get another voting paper if we screw one up?

“[49] … Quite a few voters had made ticks that they had scribbled over with the orange pen, but left a clear tick in another circle, which I took to be a clear indication of their preference. It seems that voters are shy of admitting they have spoiled their paper, because they could easily have obtained another. This might be fruitful area for voter education.”

The downside of transparent orange ink

Christopher Nimmo on the blog post: “But orange is just such a perfect colour for highlighting!”

“[52] … In one, the voter had made a tick for Carmel Sepuloni, and drawn a wavering line through her name. It is possible that the intention was to highlight the choice but I could not exclude the possibility that the voter had struck out her name. For me, this decision is much closer to my line than the previous decision. My level of doubt about whether the line was a change of heart of an emphasis is high; the possibility that a vote was intended is real. Nevertheless, close though it is to the line, I could not be sure that the voter clearly indicated that choice and for lack of clarity I treated it as informal.”

 

I think this all illustrates that in New Zealand the people dealing with votes actually care.

“I may heartily dislike the results of our latest election, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t dispute its validity. We’re lucky that way.” –Lucy Steward, comment on Legal Beagle.

Image credit: Liz West

Election Roundup

Colin Craig’s Conservative Party of stock photos

Here’s a selection of where stock photos used in mailer six (pdf) are used elsewhere on the internet. Part one of our stock photo adventure is here.

Conservative Party seniors 1

Conservative Party image

Fidenza Asset Management

Fidenza Asset Management

Conservative Party you want safetyConservative Party image

Wallaby Motorhomes

Wallaby Motorhomes

Conservative Party futureConservative Party image

Life Health Solutions

Quote Alabama Insurance

Medical Center AssociatesMedical Center Associates

The Conservative Party is a bad influence

The ACT Party are using stock images on their Facebook pages. Here’s some from their small business section.

ACT Party 90 day trialACT Party image

Terrace 139 CreativeTerrace 139 Creative

ACT Party economic policiesACT Party image

The Small BusinessThe Small Business

And from the Gen Y section.

ACT Party New ZealanderACT Party image (you’d think they’d actually use a New Zealander)

Indiana Library Federation

Indiana Library Federation

Six reasons not to vote Conservative tomorrow

From their handy ‘How Conservative Are You?’ quiz.

  1. Welfare reform so that there is no pay without work and incentives are toward working and couples staying together. No benefits (“no pay without work”). Concerning that they want to incentivize couples to stay together. Creates a, I assume, financial, incentive to stay in a domestic violence situation. Not everyone wants to have a partner and they shouldn’t be penalized for that.
  2. That the legal drinking age be raised to 21 years of age. War on youth.
  3. That the ban on smacking be removed with a return to parents being able to use reasonable force in correcting their children. The law already has an exception “if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances”. Force shouldn’t be used instead of proper parenting.
  4. Tougher sentences for violent criminals along with a requirement that they work and learn while imprisoned. “Requirement that they work” seems like it would be slavery. Locking people up longer isn’t the magic answer to crime.
  5. In sentencing ‘life’ imprisonment shall actually mean life imprisonment. As above, this isn’t the magic bullet.
  6. That Citizens Initiated referendum should be binding if 67% or more of votes cast favour the proposal. (and apparently we’re having a referendum in 2014 – “That the 2014 election referendum should include the following questions …”) – Referenda are stupid in that questions are often worded in a way that solicits the response desired by the people behind the referendum. Binding referenda could unfairly affect minority groups. Here are some examples of ridiculous referenda we have had:
  • Should the number of professional firefighters employed full time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed on 1 January 1995? (12.2% yes, 87.8% no – 1995 – 27% turnout)
  • Should there be a reform of our justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences? (91.8% yes, 8.2% no – 1999 – 84.8% turnout, held on day of general election) [emphasis mine, did 91% of New Zealanders who voted really support hard labour? Unlikely. Were they voting for better treatment of victims? Probably.]
  • I vote for compulsory military training. I vote against compulsory military training. (77.9% in favour, 22.1% against – 1949 – 63.5% turnout)

If I have crushed your Conservative Party dreams, and/or you’re not sure who to vote for tomorrow, check this website out.

John Key, John Banks, the Black Bag, and the Tea Tapes

Update: Teapot tapes have been released, here’s the recording.

There’s a little black box bag, yeah,
somewhere in the ocean on the table,
holding all the truth about us.
It’s a little black box bag,
a record of emotion,
everything that ever was.

You may deny it, deny it,
but when I find it, find it,
I’m gonna play it aloud to the world.

–Stan Walker

Two Johns and a black bag

 Oopsie

Invite media to a bit of political theater starring you and Other John, public figures, in a public Newmarket café.

Kick media out of said event. But leave some media close enough they could have “leaned over and touched the prime minister on the shoulder”.

Forget what is normally on a table in a café. Ignore the large black thing that could contain anything.

Have a wee chat. Maybe about Don Brash and how he might be rolled after the election.

Find out the black bag actually contained a radio microphone and the conversation was recorded. Oh no.

How to turn a little oopsie into a big oopsie

Call contents of recording “bland”.

Don’t give permission for the “bland” recording to be released.

Call the police on cameraman Bradley Ambrose, who allegedly accidentally recorded the conversation (which generally wouldn’t be illegal). Even though you’ve said before, regarding privacy, that “anyone who is innocent has nothing to fear”. Police get search warrants to search multiple media outlets.

Storm out of press conference after media ask questions about recording.

Compare what happened to the systemic hacking of murder and suicide victims’ phones in order to sell newspapers, ie. The News of the World.

Set the recording free

Chief High Court judge Justice Helen Winkelmann declined to make a judgement on whether the recording was public or private because it would be a “mini-trial” which would interfere with an ongoing police investigation.

So no tea tapes before election day on Saturday, unless some devious media outlet releases the recording even though they could face legal action(oh [email protected]@).

You Seem Confused, Let Me Help

Whaleoil, Catcus Kate and friends have blogged about a letter mailed to prospective voters by Labour.

This is, I assume the abridged version of what someone sent Whaleoil:

“A very ‘classy’ threat from Labour (see attached), it makes me wonder how do they get information about my child… and even if info is accessible, the use of it is rather inappropriate.”

Here it is:

Labour mothers mailer 1

Labour mothers mailer 2

Child’s information

The first time I read it I thought the person meant the child on the front of the mailer was her child, because of the emphasis of her child’s details (careful editing?). That isn’t the case. Labour used the electoral roll’s information on gender, occupation and, I assume age, to target their mailer.

“You won’t be around”

The first time I read the main statement: “Under National you won’t be around to celebrate her 1st birthday”, I thought of death. But in the context of the second page, it becomes apparent that Labour is talking about having to work. If that was intentional, it’s distasteful, but not end of days stuff. Either way it’s a poor choice of words I don’t think illustrates the point well–there’s nothing stopping someone having a birthday party on a weekend instead of a weekday. Mothers who choose to work deal with this already.

One or five?

The second paragraph on the second page is misleading too. “But under National’s new welfare policy, beneficiaries who get pregnant will be forced to find work when their baby turns 1”, but so is Cactus Kate when she says the return to work is actually when the baby is five.

What I think Labour is trying to get at is if someone has a baby and already had a child, under National’s policy they will have to look for part-time or full-time work when the new baby is one.

From National’s fact sheet (pdf):

“Those receiving Sole Parent Support will be expected to look for part-time work when their child is five years old and full-time when their child reaches the age of 14.

Those who have an additional child while on benefit will be exempted from work expectations for 12 months, in line with parental leave provisions. Work obligations will then revert to the age of the youngest child when the parent went on benefit.

For example, a beneficiary with a seven year old, who has another child, will return to a part-time work expectation when their newborn turns one. A sole parent of a fourteen year old who has another child will return to a full-time work expectation after one year.”

More from Cactus Kate

“And lets think from a working parents perspective, if the child has a party during the day they miss the bloody party don’t they as they are WORKING? Imagine picking this out of the letterbox when you know you will miss their birthday as you are working as most parents are. Like they should be guilty for not being there.”

Remember, this is the Solo Parent Support benefit. Why and how as a solo parent would you throw a party you couldn’t attend? If Kate means a couple where one parent is working and the other is throwing the party, it sucks if both parents can’t make it. But there’s nothing stopping the parent trying to get time off of work, or being flexible with the time and date of the party, eg. throwing it on a weekend.

Forced to return to work

I think the key message Labour is trying to push is that there would be no choice for you if you didn’t want to return to work. The intention isn’t to make working parents feel bad for going back to work when their child is one, but that they should have a choice whether to or not.

The Conservative Party Keep iStockphoto In Business

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The Conservative Party and I don’t get along. Their use of stock images of people in their advertising material (ht: The Egonomist) is one of the many things we disagree on.

Using the magic that is Google Image Search, I present to you the faces from the Conservative Party advertising that might seem familiar, but not because you would have seen them in real life.

But wait. If you want to play along at home, you can download their mailers that they’ve helpfully uploaded to their website and image search your heart out. By my count we’ve only had three delivered, so if you want a spoiler of what’s to come in your letter box in the coming weeks, here’s four and five in advance.

IIIIIIIVV (pdfs)

Mailer One

Nice Conservative Party People in Mailer One

Conservative Party image

Father and Son

Mama’s Health

Joshua from Switchup

SwitchUp (and I’m pretty sure they just made up that name and quote)

Online Counseling

Addiction Discussion

iStockphoto BusinessmaniStockphoto

Conservative Party Family

Conservative Party image

Family InvestmentsANG Investments

Conservative Party Safety

Conservative Party image

Drs Pedi

Doctors’ Pediatric

Therapy Virgil Roberson

Teacher Spotlight Building Blocks Early Learning Center (is this even a real teacher?)

ProsperityConservative Party image

VA MortgageVA Mortgage Center

Cleaning Sala de Terapia

New Zealand Farmer

Conservative Party image. You’d think that maybe they’d use a real New Zealand farmer for this image, but you’re not the Conservative Party or their graphic designers.

Dog Training Tallahasse Dog Training

You want familyConservative Party image

My CommunitymyCommunity

It takes a villageConservative Party image

Elbebe

Elbebe

Community and wage training

Conservative Party image

Square Mile

EAUK

Painter dude and friends

Conservative Party image

DcttbioDcttbio

RedhouselaneRedhouselane

Studying

Conservative Party image

Dec-sped Dec-sped

MotherConservative Party image

Pregnancy Treasures Pregnancy Treasures

Mailer Two

Test matchConservative Party image (featuring dog guy from above)

Farm insurance

Cooperators

Update: Apparently the woman in this photo wasn’t good enough for the Conservative Party:

Less MPsConservative Party image

Not good enoughThe original (ht: 2011 Election)

Update: Stock Stucker picks up a few I missed, as well as the keywords used for some of the photos on stock sites.

The Best or Worst Flowchart Ever

Depending on whether you want MMP to stay or go.
2011 Referendum Election Flowchart2011 Referendum Election Flowchart
(Click for larger versions)

Alongside the general election this year on November 26th, voters will also be voting on whether they support the MMP voting system or would prefer to change to another system. There will be two parts to the referendum (both are optional, so someone could vote for neither parts, both parts, just the first part or just the second part):

  • Should New Zealand keep the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system?
    • I vote to keep the MMP voting system
    • I vote to change to another voting system
  • If New Zealand were to change to another voting system, which voting system would you choose?
    • I would choose the First Past the Post system (FPP)
    • I would choose the Preferential Voting system (PV)
    • I would choose the Single Transferable Vote system (STV)
    • I would choose the Supplementary Member system (SM)

If at least half of the voters vote to keep MMP, there will still be an Electoral Commission review of it in 2012. If at least half of the voters vote to change the voting system, Parliament will decide if there’s another referendum in 2014 (Stuff has reported it as 2016, but it’s 2014 on the Elections 2011 website) to choose between the most popular alternative (according to the second part of this referendum) or MMP.

STV is probably the only other roughly proportional voting system, with the number of MPs elected reflecting the total share of the party’s votes across the country. However some people might feel their STV vote is useless because if they are in an electorate that predominantly supports, say, National, their vote for a, say, Green MP won’t “count” towards the Green party at all unless the Green MP wins that electorate. MMP is still the best system and results in a proportional and representative Parliament.

It’s arguable that few people actually know how our current or past election systems work(ed), even after having them in place for years. No information explaining the different systems was included in the flowchart’s mail out, except saying that more information will be, I assume mailed out (what about the [email protected]@), closer to election day and that information is also available on the Elections website. However, most people are inherently lazy and are unlikely to seek out additional information themselves. This will probably benefit the status quo.

Tweeting on election day

The Electoral Act prohibits “electioneering” on election day (midnight-7pm), meaning it’s illegal to distribute statements likely to influence voting decisions. The fine for electioneering on election day is up to $20,000. Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden says that social networks (Twitter, Facebook…) are covered by the ban and will be checked on election day for influencing material. He says “For a long time, the law has allowed for campaign-free election days, and my sense is that New Zealanders like it that way and so it’s not really in people’s interest to do things like tweet and breach the rules.”

This is stupid.

Amanda Palmer quite accurately compares Twitter to a bar. It can be great and you can find some really interesting people using it, or sometimes you can have inane conversations about nothing. The bar analogy also works for how tweets are shared. Tweets are only “sent” to users that “opt in” to receiving them, just like someone opts in to a conversation in a bar. Maybe they overhear part of a conversation, or are aware of it because their friends are involved, but they can choose to ignore it or join in themselves. This is just like Twitter: you could be aware of a conversation or tweet because of search, through someone you’re following on Twitter, or looking at profiles, but you’re able to ignore the tweet, unfollow or block the users involved if you don’t like it.

Social networks are clearly different to someone erecting an election sign in their front yard and tweeting to a relatively small number of users who have opted in to receiving your tweets shouldn’t be considered ‘seeking to influence the public’ even if it is about who you’re supporting in the election.

In Canada, Twitter users are unhappy about a law that bans the premature transmission of election results—mentioning election results in Montreal in the east before the booths have closed in Vancouver in the west, with a fine of up to $25,000. Users of social networks realized that this applied to them and for their May 2nd election protested against the rule by tweeting the results of the election using the hashtag #tweettheresults.

It would be awesome if something like that happened here (but I obviously wouldn’t condone it).