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March 17, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Students Guide to The Electorial Finance Act

Out of the ashes of Don Brash’s Exclusive Brethren saga arose the Electoral Finance Act (2007). Some people say it is going to be a big issue in the lead up to the election, some people say it won’t matter too much, others say that it infringes on free speech. One thing is for sure – it has changed the ways in which political parties on campus will be able to operate this election.

Under the EFA you can spend up to $12000 on a party, part of which can be $1000 for a specific candidate, before you have to register as a third party. It’s unlikely many students have this much lying around in the bank but just in case Studylink fucks up your course related costs payment it might be handy to keep this in the back of your mind.

If you directly endorse a candidate or party you will have to get the party secretary’s authorisation. Last election ACT on campus handed out badges with the slogan: “Fuck Winston, Vote ACT.” If they were to do the same thing this year AoC will have to gain authorisation, and the cost of the badges will come out of ACT’s advertising budget. Sucks if the secretary doesn’t want to authorise it because it is seen as too risque, or contrary to the party’s image.

Minor infringements of the law are seen as inconsequential, and if you do choose to break the law you should get away with it on a small scale. Also, if you were to be prosecuted, first the Electoral Commission would have to look at the case and then the police would have to look at the case. Both bodies can use discretion about prosecuting offenders. However if you do manage to pull off a whopper of an infringement you could be liable for a nice big fine, or even prison time.

Feel free to wear a shirt with the logo of the party you are gunning for, put up posters advertising talks about the party you want to inform people about, even statements like “John Key is Racist” would be ok.

How to subvert the EFA

Graffiti: Unless a student was to get caught red (or blue, or green) handed in the ACT of scrawling the political statement of their choice onto a bathroom stall, it is unlikely that the police will choose to investigate further.

Write for Salient: According to the EFA, editorial pieces published in magazines are not included as advertising as they are an opinion. Vote One New Zealand Party this election!

Start a blog: Andy Moore was one of the first tests for the EFA. His website was deemed in breach of the act. Solution: change it to a blog. Since a blog is a log of the writer’s opinions on certain subjects it is therefore not covered by the act.

Just break the law: Nothing is really stopping you. Most of you are probably smoking marijuana, exporting endangered animals, jaywalking and downloading mp3s anyway.

Good law or bad law, it will change the flavour of support students can show for political parties.

Week on the Blogs

T’was a quite week on the website. Jackson blogged about the unccanny resemblences that Joel has to a variety of people, and wrote a response in the style of Robert Fisk to a rascist person in Totara Park.

Conrad felt obliged to clutter cyber space with more of his inane ramblings about what fucks him off, and poked fun of the USA’s fiscal instabilty.

Hugh didn’t do anything due to carpal tunnel. Emma posted her brilliant interview with Rodney Hide and won over the heart of a fan.

Comment of the Week

Graeme Burton on Things that fucked me off today:

“Things that fucked me off today: Having one fully fucntional leg, hair loss and greying trigged by advanced trauma and shock, limited internet access (meaning this blog is the closest I get to the sweaty smell of student sex). Fuck.”

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The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

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