Koha for votes?

An interesting issue arose out of Duncan Garner’s inteview of Simon Lusk around the use of koha or a form of financial encouragement to vote.

Garner wrote: Lusk goes public on ‘koha to vote’

Many people have asked me does political operative Simon Lusk pay people, on behalf of clients, to get a certain voting outcome – as I said on TV3’s Story last night.

This is his response he just sent me:

Get out the Vote, especially in local government elections, can have a real impact on results because so few vote, and so few minorities vote.

Local government, on the other hand, is relatively easy to run a legal Get out the Vote campaign. Provided you are not paying for votes or offering anything in exchange for a vote, or treating, there are few rules around GOTV, and small turn out changes alter results.

The one group in New Zealand that has the ability to mobilise a big database of people quickly and effectively is Iwi. Thanks to the Treaty settlement process Iwi now have extensive databases of members who they can easily mobilise. At local government, iwi can quickly mobilise people to ensure their members Get out the Vote, and get their candidates elected. Assembling a team of 50 or 100 iwi members to Get out the Vote is straightforward, legal and effective if it is possible to raise some koha.’

(That is edited)

This raised some discussion in the Social Media thread today but it deserves it’s own post.

Jaspa:

From Lusk’s statement, I suspect something a bit more dodgy is at play here, and I suppose it’s the whole idea that has me gobsmacked.

Just thinking about it today has given me a strange possessive (? if that is the right word?) feeling about my right to vote and the fact that I would never sell it, for anything.

As the RNZ article says “But that statement didn’t answer key questions: How much was paid? By whom? And for what purpose? “

Pete Kane:

Three things here:

1. Were people ‘paid’ (if ‘koha’ for expenses still must be declared) to canvas/work in some way? (A problem if yes and not declared.)

2. Were people given a ‘koha’ to participate in the form of vote? (Big problem.) Were people given a ‘koha’ to participate in the form of vote – with implied (big, big problem) guidance or even clear ( HMP rock breaking problem) ‘guidance’ as to how said vote is ‘best’ cast?

3. Did Lusk admit to being hired by a third party to campaign for an election outcome (either Party Vote or TTT or both)? Was this declared under the EFA requirements?

Note: In the pragmatic sense – it’s really Mana/Internet vs Labour, National and NZ first here. Wouldn’t have a clue how the Greens might approach this (although Nicky vs Lusk?). So not easy – but I would think there are people, not only from Internet/Mana interests, but political and legal academia, just sneaking a little peep at all this.

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19 Comments

  1. Pete Kane

     /  22nd November 2015

    Jaspa: “As the RNZ article says “But that statement didn’t answer key questions: How much was paid? By whom? And for what purpose? “

    When I heard it on Thursday (was away when broadcast so don’t really no level of wider discussion), I took the koha thing as a general approach rather than specific to Internet/Mana.
    For some reason I had in mind the dam in the HB. So the “Hone” link didn’t specifically register with me until the way it came over on Media Watch this morning (I’ll go back and listen to the original). So without the full interview transcript it’s hard to say. And (unless it’s just poor editing), Garners interviewing is pretty b……………y disjointed at times. I still think there’s water to flow though.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  22nd November 2015

      Pay koha to the bosses. Turn out the drones. That is the implicit message.

      Reply
      • Pete Kane

         /  22nd November 2015

        Lusk confirmed tens of thousands in terms of payment from business interests (that’s a third party). He did mention Hone, but I suppose (at a decent stretch) he may argue he meant the IMP party vote rather than TTT.

        Reply
      • Timoti

         /  22nd November 2015

        I can tell you most District Councils, bar a few, have very cosy relationships with local iwi.
        Not that they want to. Its just if Maori decide to play up they can make life a living hell
        for councils via the legal processes. The average Koha in our area is $1000 sweet ones if
        council hold talks with Iwi on a local Marae ( thanks guys).

        As to using Iwi registers to mobilize troops, I have seen no evidence of that. Maori don’t
        waste time voting unless there’s mana involved. That said with nepotism so rife I have seen
        sweet heart deals for a leader and his whanau to make things go away- things like a Taniwha.

        But that’s my area. I can’t talk for others. Maybe Lusk has done deals for votes- votes for deals? But folk like Lusk are becoming old hat. Technological mind control is were it is at now.

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  22nd November 2015

          i wish that I could disbelieve this, but I know that it happens in my area, too-we may be in the same one.
          .

          Reply
          • jaspa

             /  23rd November 2015

            I had a friend (now deceased) who knew some taniwha-evicting spell that he performed for the sum of $1000 – and I know this because he used to come to my house to get me to send his “invoice” (i.e., his bank account details and a specific mention of the sum) by email, as he did not know how to use a computer and did not want his wife (who did) to know about the money, which he used for partying purposes. He thought it was a huge joke. He would typically come on a Thursday night, and the money would be in his account for Friday/the weekend. Sadly, the partying in his case morphed from drinking into meth use, hence his untimely death. That was in the Coromandel area.

            Reply
    • jaspa

       /  22nd November 2015

      I am just copying my reply to PK here, in the interests of continuity:

      2. is my biggest worry – re the guidance. And the fact that it is necessary to tiptoe around certain issues – eg, if some one were to suggest that iwi leaders are accepting “koha” in return for influencing people who are not well-informed, they run the risk of the old “He called Maori dumb! He’s racist!” accusations.

      Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to influence people about something you believe in, but if money is being accepted it should be known, IMHO.

      As for the Internet/Mana part of things – yeah, well, that worked out well for them didn’t it? Way to go, Lusk. But it still needs to be known – who paid what, to whom, for what?

      Reply
  2. Ray

     /  22nd November 2015

    There was a claim that in the Mike Williams days that Labour used KFC to get out of the vote
    I have no idea if has any basis in the real world but it was made fairly often

    Reply
    • jaspa

       /  22nd November 2015

      Yeah, that’s weird, I have seen videos of that before but they don’t seem to be available now.

      Reply
    • Timoti

       /  23rd November 2015

      I know one ex Labour MP gave some pensioners $20 towards their powerbills while on the campaign trail. We hear so much about Tory corruption, sometimes we forget to look over the fence.This happend during Labours second term tenure under Clarke.

      Reply
  3. DaveG

     /  22nd November 2015

    Just consider what the unions do, they get FUNDS from members, they encourage those members how to vote, they organise meetings prior to an election, and distribute LABOUR info. Paid, yes, telling members how to vote, YES. If one wants to look at corruption, look no further than the unions and the relationship with labour / instructing members how to vote. In Aussie, the outcomes of the Royal Commission are astounding, the indepth scams, fraud and corruption. One union boss had a Luxury home built courtesy of others from being lenient on union demands.

    Reply
  4. Pete Kane

     /  22nd November 2015

    I’m assuming there’s no direct advertising (I’m sure people are looking though), which would be part of a required third party return whether as a registered (spend 100 000+) or unregistered. So it would be the treating where any interest is. I’m mean to be of use, in this instance voters either specifically vote Labour in TTT or are dissuaded specifically from there intention of voting IMP (electorate vote) through a material inducement.

    Reply
    • Pete Kane

       /  22nd November 2015

      Should have added, at the end of the day only one person actually knows how an individual has voted.

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  22nd November 2015

        One person was boasting in the Listener that he could change the election by voting in every booth-the silly man can’t have known that his votes would be disallowed when the votes were counted.Even if this wouldn’t be detected, it would have to be an incredibly close thing for him to have any chance of affecting the result. Who could be bothered ?

        Reply
        • I know this is beside the point, but might some kind of ‘koha for voting’ constitute a measure to increase voter participation generally? A Universal Electoral Payment or UEP, or Voluntary Voting Koha, VVK, the incentive carrot to ‘compulsory’ voting’s enforcement stick? Each returned ballot paper, postal or booth, sees a payment lodged in your bank account. How big would the payment need to be to provide a real incentive? How many people would still refuse, unwilling to take part or perhaps let the government have their bank details (if they even have a bank account)? These people, these non-participant types, low sorts they are – we don’t really want them voting anyhow – should be prosecuted using the full weight of the law. Their fines might go some way towards paying for the VVK? Private sector sponsorship of the remaining cost is probably unrealistic since there’s no advertising opportunities inherent in the scheme. Space or naming rights might be incorporated on the voting forms though, I suppose, provided none of the logos or writing appeared like images or in any of the colours used by political parties. Much of the administration could be done by a computer, the job being mostly a matter of matching names to ballot papers and initiating direct credit payments to banks. Ah! Hang on … Got it! Run elections like a lottery, like Lotto or Bonus Bonds! The incentive is that one ballot paper will win $4million. It could be funded like a lottery too; a “pay-to-vote” scheme. $2 or $5 with the chance to win $4mil. (Elections are probably already on the TAB, aren’t they?)
          It’s comforting to know no-one’s gonna read this.
          Now, I really must fly …. where did I leave my wings?

          Reply

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