The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Dissenters: We still know where you live


If you spend your own money supporting or criticising a political candidate, your political opponents get to know where your family lives. Nice.

The Electoral Finance Act 2007 was a real bone of contention when the Labour Government introduced it. The long and short of it was this: It was a way of preventing private citizens and groups from spending however much of their own money they like to encourage people to support political parties or their policies leading up to an election. The Act made it illegal for any person or group “to spend more than NZ$12,000 criticising or supporting a political party or taking a position on any political matter, or more than NZ$1,000 criticising or supporting an individual member of parliament, without first registering with a state agency, the Electoral Commission.” That registry is public information and can be read by anyone. If you spent $1,001 criticising the Prime Minister leading up to an election, her supporters, whether politicians, union bosses or common thugs (Helen Clark was Prime Minister at the time) would know who and where you were.

That alone is fundamentally wrong in a free society. But what’s worse, the Bill limited private spending to $60,000 – although this was increased by recommendation of a Select Committee to $120,000 before becoming law. It may be your money, and your opinion, but how much of it you can use was not your decision. This was a clear free speech violation.

Thankfully, the Act was repealed in March 2009.

Not so thankfully, those experts in tinkering with things until they break otherwise known as Government Ministers are at it again:

Justice Minister Simon Power has just announced changes to the laws governing campaign spending during elections, and details of next year’s referendum on the MMP electoral system.
Under the changes, people who spend more than $12,000 on parallel campaigning will have to register with the Electoral Commission. The register will be publicly available.
But unlike under the previous Electoral Finance Act, which was repealed by National last year, parallel campaigners such as unions – or the Exclusive Brethren – will not be limited to spending $120,000 during the campaign.

Is it better than the Electoral Finance Act? Yes, but let’s not get carried away. It is not generous to allow people to spend their own money expressing their political viewpoint. They should have that right without any dispute. Not limiting that right in this case simply amounts to refraining from injustice. But why impose any injustice at all? Why make people who want to advertise political values tell everyone else who and where they are? Not to keep them honest, for there are already laws in place against false advertisement. Why then?

What is more, “the Government has rejected proposals that would have allowed third parties to advertise on television or radio during campaigns.” Just so that you realise that this is as bad as it sounds: Private businesses and private individuals are forbidden by the government from doing business involving the expression of political values during election time.

It’s like dumping Heroin and taking up Cocaine. Arguably not as bad, but why would you?

Glenn Peoples


New Zealand atheists vs free market economics


Ethics is like a painting


  1. Surely the presented rationale for this sort of nonsense is that it will ‘level the playing field’ in politics by stopping the wealthy from having too much influence.

    But no matter what rationalizations are employed, you don’t make people freer by controlling their expression of opinions. Crazy stuff.

    Here in the US, our own Supreme Court recently had the wisdom to recognize that certain campaign finance restrictions were unconstitutional.

  2. If we want to level the playing field, we could also restrict how well made ads are allowed to be. We can’t have the skilled ad makers having an advantage over the others.

    We could also make rules about how many criticisms you’re allowed to make a of a political party. Othwerwise the more observant campaigners will have the edge over others.

    The possibilities never end really.

  3. Ali G

    “That alone is fundamentally wrong in a free society”

    What free society are you talking about,are you a advocate for anarchy.Totally free society would end up being impractical and unrealistic.

    “Why make people who want to advertise political values tell everyone else who and where they are? Not to keep them honest, for there are already laws in place against false advertisement.”

    Part of keeping things honest is telling everyone who you are.Laws of false advertising dont adress letting people know who`s the drive behind the movement.

    In my opinion its a good thing NZ have a right to know this information.NZ has a right to know if modern age Hitlers are at work trying to swing matters,and also a right to know also when religious zealots are working to manipulate matters.

  4. Glenn

    Ali G, I don’t recall ever having advocated anarchy.

    Laws against false advertising, by the way, do in fact address the issue of who is behind it. If a person is found guilty of false advertising, that is not a secret. That is public information.

    So again, this is not about keeping anyone honest. It’s about keeping people vulnerable.

  5. CPE Gaebler

    Ali G, are you advocating that certain individuals should be prevented from influencing an election? What criteria should we use to determine that someone’s a “modern-age Hitler” or, more nebulously, a “religious zealot?”

  6. Ali G

    Glenn thats great that our advertising laws protect us from false advertising.

    Im not only interested in being protected from false advertising though,im also keen to know what groups are behind the advertising as well, specially with elections.If religious groups are behind election drives i want to know about it,if atheist groups are behind election drives its ok by me that interested parties are also aware of this too.

    CPE no i dont advocate anyone should be prevented from influencing an election,but i still think its important we are able to know who they are.

    Its not for me to suggest what criteria should be used CPE,but id just rather nobodies able to quietly sleaze their way through like Exclusive Brethren tried to.

    Admittedly personally every single church i see closed through loss of followers etc, i tend to be clapping and cheering, in my opinion its a really great thing to see.

  7. Ali G, but if someone advertises falsely during an election, you will know who they are, because if found guilty, that is public information. So those laws don’t just protect the public from false advertising, they also identify the false advertisers.

    You want to be able to identify people who hold certain political views. That’s really too bad, isn’t it? I’m sure you’re a wonderful person – actually I have no idea – but what you would like to know about people doesn’t matter, surely. What about when the not-so-lovely people get to find out who you are? What does it have to do with you – again, unless it’s false advertising?

    What would you think of all Jews having to go on a public register so we could find out who they all were? is that OK? Not OK? If not, why not?

  8. Ali G

    Glenn i did not argue any such thing like that Jews should always need to register for everything.

    If their group is involved in election drives in my opinion its a whole lot different,if its a group of Jews campaigning,sure i vote we as voters should be advised.If its destiny church,you betcha id prefer to know and so would the majority of New Zealanders too.

    I realize many faithful would prefer to still be able to fly behind the radar as much as possible specially when it suits their secret plans,but faith followers dont run our country yet.

    And hopefully they never will.Because the fact many of them argue for to be able to keep election campaigns secret,in my opinion is even pretty good evidence they really cannot really be trusted.

  9. “Glenn i did not argue any such thing like that Jews should always need to register for everything.”

    I know you didn’t say that. Good grief….

    Well you must be pleased. You have your big brother system. I’m more of a freedom kinda guy.

  10. Ali G

    “I’m more of a freedom kinda guy”

    So you are a advocate for peoples freedom to abortion and gay marriage.And your church is involved in approaching government to stop oppressive cults like the exclusive brethren from excommunicating family members, which takes away the freedom of many families to be together?.

    Or do you prefer to only fight for the freedom of these groups to keep their campaigns secret?

  11. Ali, why does freedom mean the vulnerability to be killed, and the duty of the state to sponsor our relationships?

    If I loved freedom, why would I want to force private organisations to run themselves the way I want?

    I said freedom.

  12. Ali G

    Ah its freedom according to christian terms you fight for.You like to keep freedom to faith,but are apposed to freedom to be protected from abusive faith.Seems kinda hypocritical.

    And you wonder why secular NewZealand wants to know what groups are campaigning.

    Total freedom is impossible.You need to get over it Glenn,humanity needs regulation.Look around you Glenn there are laws, and naturally laws remove somebodies freedom.But we need some regulation dont we,our human survival depends on it.

    I think you are just feeling sorry for yourself that cashed up faithful folks cant get the upper hand anymore and secretly sway things to suit their faith agenda.

  13. “Ah its freedom according to christian terms you fight for.”

    Well you certainly enjoy the freedom to lie!

    The fact is, I want to extend the same freedoms to everybody. To imply now that I’m against laws at all is just a bit silly. I’ve been very clear about what I advocate. If you don’t want to represent it truthfully, that is you problem.

  14. Ali G

    Call me a liar all you like Glenn.Christians have had the freedom to lie for thousands of years,even their bible is very likely full of it.

    Christians have a long history of being hypocrites too,should i be so surprised you also follow the christian example?

    You want to extend freedoms to everyone,as long as it dont remove religious freedoms to abuse people and remove families freedoms to be family together.Like Exclusive Brethren do.

    You say you wish to extend the same freedoms to everybody,yet dont include freedom of family not to be split by abusive churches like the exclusive brethren.

    Some freedom extended to everybody,and yet you call me the liar?

    Need i remind you Glenn,thats sure sign of a faithful hypocrite.

    Still its ok,its good faithful hypocrites are able to expose themselves to NewZealanders.Its a great thing to help build a nation that is likely become more and more secular.

  15. CPE Gaebler

    Where are you getting the idea that Glenn supports the Exclusive Brethren? Also, I have no clue who they are, being a non-NZ’er.

    Where does saying “people shouldn’t have to have their political donations a matter of public record” imply that “The Exclusive Brethren should be able to do whatever they want?”

    I haven’t seen non sequitors like this since… well, since the Loftus D’Souza debate, I guess.

  16. Ali, you’re not thinking straight.

    If families members choose to belong to religious groups that tell them to stay away from other family members, that is their free choice. I think it’s an unwise choice, but that it no justification for trying to force people to live as we want them to.

    So yes, I am the one favouring freedom. You are not.

  17. Ali G

    CPE no i didnt say anything about Glenn supporting the Exclusive Brethren.

    And this has nothing to do with implying they should be able to do what ever they want.

    This is about knowing what groups are involved in election campaigns.This is about keeping matters above board and secrecy out of government elections.Its about honesty!

    Something we might have once thought faithful folks might be keen on promoting,however these days the public is becoming more and more aware of how deceitful faithful folks often are and maybe most likely have always been.They are often being found to be blatantly deceitful,so its quite possible Jesus followers were no different.

    And i think its really great when christian like Glenn are so keen to be so helpful and display their keenness for secrecy and deceit, in public.Its always a great boost towards New Zealand having less faith and becoming more and more secular !

    CPE said >I haven’t seen non sequitors like this since… well, since the Loftus D’Souza debate, I guess<

    Well you`d know CPE,so far all you have put forward has been worthless non sequiturs.

  18. “Its about honesty!”

    Ah, no. I remind you again: All advertisements in election campaigns are subject to our advertising rules, and if any ad is ruled to be dishonest and a person is found guilty of false advertising, that is public knowledge.

    So you do not need extra rules to keep it honest.

    This is about the incumbents and the public having access to personal details of their political opponents.

    And you now say that I am supporting deceit? But again, I remind you… bah, just read my first paragraph again.

    You haven’t a leg to stand on. You just like big brother and I don’t. I’m more interested in freedom for all.

  19. Ali G

    Glenn said >Ali, you’re not thinking straight.If families members choose to belong to religious groups that tell them to stay away from other family members, that is their free choice.<

    Glenn did you really go to university?.I suspect many New Zealand primary children know more about the Exclusive Brethren than you seem to be able to comprehend.

    How many Exclusive Brethren do you think actually CHOOSE to belong to this cult Glenn.Have you actually done any home work on this subject,or are you still making silly assertions.

    Let me educate you a little Glenn,folks dont really get to choose to belong to this group.They are born there.

    Glenn please learn to find the facts, before you bother waffling on about things you obviously know nothing about.

    So no you are not favouring freedom at all,you are actually favouring opression and bondage in a faith that seeks to rule its followers by fear of separation from family for any who dont tow the line.

    Now be a good lad and go do your home work.Should you be keen on learning a little before you continue to blurt rubbish,you might like to study this site

  20. Ali G

    Listen Glenn i dont give a damm if you went to some uni.

    I disagree.Honesty is about keeping secrecy out of election campaigns.

    Bleat all you like.Im voting for more honesty in election campaigns.

  21. Ali G

    Life has taught me.Often the biggest idiot is a very educated idiot.

    They are so smart,they dont realize when they are acting stupid

  22. You might think that you’re voting for more honesty, but what you’re supporting makes no difference to honesty (your three quick posts in a row notwithstanding. Sheesh, I’m glad you don’t know where I live!)

    Say, maybe we should have to wear badges that tell everyone who we voted for too. At least it’s honest! Yellow stars perhaps?

    Having degrees has nothing to do with this, because it’s not rocket science:

    People should be free to belong to any group they like.

    People should be free to support any party they like.

    People should be free to spend their money how they like.

    And you know what, Ali? It’s just not your business. It’s called freedom. I have no interest in totalitarianism.

  23. Ali G

    Glenn be a good lad and please find us facts to back up your claim you made that folks CHOOSE to belong to the exclusive brethren.Ok

    When you have done that,we will look again at this fine statement you made,and see whether its fact.

    Glenn > I have no interest in totalitarianism People sshould be free to belong to any group they like.People should be free to support any party they likePeople should be free to spend their money how they like<

    Oh i see so if folks wish to buy drugs or weapons,its their money they should be free to spend it how they like?.

    Come on Glenn,wake up from faith fairy land.

    People are not stopped from spending some money on election campaigns,just because there is laws making them expose who they might be.This is about election campaigns Glenn,its not like its only about folks buying a new car or their weekly grocerys.

    Now how about going back to school on this subject huh?

  24. Ali, don’t be silly. I’m talking about people being free to spend money on legal transactions obviously, not crimes. Things like buying milk and bread, buying a house, or expressing a political belief. They’re all legal.

    Secondly, like it or not we have freedom of religion in NZ. All churches are voluntary organisations.

    I must say, I don’t like where you stand on some of these things. Please reply to this comment with your name and address, here at this blog for all to see. I want this freedom you speak of. None of this secrecy.

    Now do you see the issue? If not, ah well. You can lead a horse to water…

  25. Ali G

    Glenn im waiting for you to prove family members have freedom to choose whether they follow exclusive brethren,without facing repercussion and punishment from a totalitarian cult.

    Whats the matter Glenn can you not provide this evidence?.

    You still have not shown evidence that people actually CHOOSE to belong to the exclusive brethren.Whats the problem?,is it because you were wrong!,and members of this abusive totalitarian cult are actually only unluckily born into such a abusive regime.A regime thats even caused many to suicide,and split parents from children through religious oppression and excommunication.

    Glenn >Please reply to this comment with your name and address, here at this blog for all to see. I want this freedom you speak of. None of this secrecy<

    Glenn please ,surely going to uni managed to teach you something about the very big difference between being involved in government election campaigns,and being involved in our everyday living.If not,it only suggests what a sad state of affairs our universities are in, if pupils like yourself publicly display such poor skills of understanding there actually is a very big difference.

    This stupidity you argue for is childish and idiotic.Tell me Glenn, do you also suggest maybe people should have freedom to possess gun licences and car licences anonymously?

    Come now Glenn stop being so silly.

    Why not just admit you and your christian friends wanted to be able to push an government election agenda in total secrecy.Why not admit faithful folks like yourself preferred to be able to fly beneath the radar,and fear being completely open upfront and honest.

    Its great shame on advocates of faith! for those being involved in advocating for such dishonest secrecy,specially in regards to such important matters as government elections.

    But then the world is becoming more and more aware these days, of the deceitful nature hidden behind matters of faith.

  26. Ali G

    Glenn had said >If families members choose to belong to religious groups that tell them to stay away from other family members, that is their free choice. I think it’s an unwise choice, but that it no justification for trying to force people to live as we want them to.

    So yes, I am the one favouring freedom. You are not.<

    Glenn you managed to blurt this suggestion.Can you manage to provide factual evidence to back up this suggestion?.

    Or do you admit being a uneducated fool !, with regards to matters concerned with this totalitarian cult .

    I invite you once again in front of the readers! of your blog, to provide factual evidence to back up your claim.

    Or at least have the guts to show some belated christian decency,and admit to being misinformed and very wrong.

    Do members often join this totalitarian cult Glenn,or do most members get trapped within through place of birth?

  27. Anonymous

    Ali G. As far as I know Glenn is not Exclusive Brethren and has never said a word in support of them.

    This post was not about Exclusive Brethren. YOU brought them into it and have been hitting us over the head with it ever since.

    This was a post about people having the freedom to support whoever they like politically without having to reveal their personal details the the world.

    Thus Glenn owes you nothing.

  28. Ali G, sorry, I looked really hard, but I didn’t see your name and address in your last post. Could you give it again, please?

    As far as the Exclusive brethren go, you are the one claiming that there’s something actually preventing people from choosing to not belong to the exclusive Brethren. As such, you should support your accusation against them.

    Surely you are aware that there exist some *former* members of the Exclusive brethren. That fact alone proves that people are able to leave. That the church *tells* them to stay is hardly the point.

    It seems now this is the only point you have left – a strange argument about the excklusive brethren, and you don’t even want to talk about the central issue anymore. Sorry Ali, but the facts are what they are. The way that people excercise their religious freedom is their business. Likewise, to force people to wear a badge because of their political views is wrong.

    Now please, let’s have that name and address. You see nothing wrong with the request, surely! After all, it’s merely about honesty. The longer you choose not to publicly give your name and address here, the more it starts to look like you agree with the point I am making. 🙂

    If you post again without giving your real name and address, I won’t even care what else you say. the response will simpley be: “Name and address please.” Alternatively, you could admit that this is none of my business, and concede the point. Your choice.


  29. Ali G

    Ah anon nice try at slipping Glenn out of a position he cannot defend.
    But unless i wrote the OP,the exclusive brethren was involved in this discussion and it was Glenn that first brought them into it.

    Anon said >Thus Glenn owes you nothing.<

    How lowly is it when christians need to revert to gutless ways to try to weasel their way out of a tight situation.

    Still like id already said,these days christians are well known for being gutless and dishonest.Its why even the catholic church has a hard time even humbling itself to admit their priests pedophilia.

    Anon you reply was so weak and gutless.But im happy you lowered yourself to these weak tactics while defending faith,every little bit helps in exposing the sad state of faith

  30. Ali G: Name and address please.

  31. Ali G

    Glenn said >If you post again without giving your real name and address, I won’t even care what else you say.<

    Suits me fine Glenn please yourself,i feel like ive said enough anyway.All you offer me is nothing to prove your point.Folks can read up on the EB through that peebs net site i provided or elsewhere.And find out you were being very silly,members do not convert and CHOOSE to belong to them at all.It is a totalitarian cult that people are born into, which punishes families with separation.Folks with half a brain will realize you dont always do your homework.

    🙂 Not a lot to do with FREEDOM Glenn,and in my opinion it shows how ignorant you are on the subject and its totally laughable and complete stupidity! that you even thought to bring the EB into a post, about matters of freedom 🙂

    Your blog is fun for a quick look now and then,but gets kinda boring and seems awful lonely seeming to have only a few die hard faithful folks grasping at short straws.

    Bye for now and best wishes Glenn, better luck at getting more educated about matters of freedom

  32. Ah, you cared too much about your own privacy to give your details then?

    Thank you for conceding the point. 🙂

  33. Wait, Ali G – you honestly want people to believe that the exclusive brethren is not a voluntry organisation?

    Name one person who is legally required to join.

    Get it? The issue Glenn raises is about freedom under law, and in New Zealand we are legally free to join or leave any church. They cannot physically force you to join, they cannot engage ine xtortion against you and they cannot threaten to harm you or your family. That’s the law, idiot.

    Just as we are legally free to belong to any religion (without having to register with any public body or give our personal details to everyone in the world, like, say, jews in the 1940s inc ertain parts of Europe), Glenn’s point is that we should be free to express our political beliefs without such impositions.

    Are you so thick, Ali, that you don’t realise this? You just got your ass kicked.

  34. Dave, thanks, but I think you’re being a bit hopeful in getting him to see the point – he has rather intentionally dodged it up to this point.

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