Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Election Survey: Peter Tashkoff (Act)

We've had requests from several readers to give the survey response made by Peter Tashkoff, Act's candidate for Te Tai Tokerau and number 7 on the Act party list, its own post.

Tashkoff originally posted it as a comment on a discussion thread about Labour's student allowance pledge, and it elicited several comments in that context. I've cut and pasted below from about half-way through his comment, but you can read the whole thing in context here, and the responses readers made too. You'll see that Tashkoff doesn't follow the orthodox format, but then my perception is that Act has long been a party of *ahem* original thinkers.

I came here to see whether the questions you folk sent me as a candidate were worth replying to. I don't think they are. You all go ahead and vote for those vote-buying parties that have squandered our present and mortgaged our future. I don't think I'll be wasting any more time with you.

For the small number of you that like John F. Kennedy prefer to 'Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country', take a look at ACT's policies for the election.

None of them include bribes for anyone whether they be students, women, beneficiaries, conservationists, justice workers or any of the myriad of other groups that have their hands out each election.

What you will find are policies for growth, so that people like yourselves won't have to leave the country to make a decent living, because we will have returned to the position we were 40 years ago, when our incomes here were above Australia.

You will also find policies for empowerment of people and the abolition of big government.

In spite of the rent-seeking by groups such as students, there is still a chance this country can be saved, and if you believe that, we'd love your party vote.

Peter Tashkoff
ACT Party candidate for Te Tai Tokerau

Like several other candidates to date, Tashkoff has a blog of his own, Comme il Faut. And he blogged his response to our survey there too, along with this foreword as to why he responded in the manner he did:

I was asked by the folk at the hand mirror to answer a bunch of questions about where I stand. It is par for the course for a candidate to receive a spammed email asking you your position on a bunch of loaded questions. Sometimes I answer them and sometimes I don't. This time I visited their blog to see where they were coming from, or more accurately, to confirm my guess. I was not disappointed. The very first post was a victory paean about having held out for the massive bribde this election of a living allowance for students. It prompted me to post this reply (I'm afraid I was unable to disguise my contempt):

It makes me a little sad that a candidate sees being sent surveys about his views as "spam," particularly when he's number seven on his party's list. I think the public have a right to ask you about your opinions on a range of issues if you are standing to be their representative in our democracy. I hope other candidates do not see our survey, or anyone else's, as unwelcome email litter, but instead view them as a chance to engage with voters.

What do you think, dear readers?


Anna said...

Mr Tashkoff's comment has a whole lot of rant and not much policy in it. It's not very conducive to informed voting.

Azlemed said...

I agree with Anna on this one

Hugh said...

While Peter's dismissal of the survey as 'spam' is difficult to sustain, I must admit his actions are entirely politically rational. Despite ACT members' complaints that their party is not taken seriously as a 'liberal party', many of its candidates seem extremely disinterested in anything coming from the left of the political spectrum.

What's interesting is the diversity of attitudes. Contrast Tashkoff's reply with Du Plessis'. The latter, for all that I disagreed with a lot of it, was courteous and, more to the point, didn't seem to take issue with the concept of being asked.

Would it be drawing too long a bow to imply that this diversity of views is caused by a similar diversity of opinions within the ACT party, caused by recruiting its parliamentary candidates from a fairly shallow party organisation that seems to lapse into dormancy between elections? Does this have anything to do with the total disappearance of all ACT MPs who didn't return to Parliament in 2005 from the list?

Idiot/Savant said...

It's not very conducive to informed voting.

Really? I found it highly informative, and it confirmed my desire not to vote for a party which selects such buffoons.

sophie said...

i/s heartily seconded.

Although the first piece of propaganda they sent me had already informed that decision.

peteremcc said...

Sorry but under Labours Anti-Spam Legislation, passed earlier this term, your email IS SPAM.

It is un-solicited, electronic mail, sent to a large number of people.

While I welcomed your email and responded to the survey, it was still un-solicited, meaning it is legally SPAM.

This is of course why ACT was the only party to vote against the Anti-Spam legislation.

It is quite possible to be pleased to receive an email that you didn't ask to be sent, even if it was sent to lots of people.

Hugh said...

Peter, you don't feel that the act of standing for election counts as "soliciting" requests for information on political positions?

If you feel otherwise, I suggest reporting this to the Department of Internal Affairs post haste. ACT - Tough on Crime, Tough on Criminals, am I right?

Anna said...

Whether or not the survey fills the legal definition of spam, Mr Tashkoff's comment was clearly supposed to be derisive. If you put yourself forward as a candidate, it's pretty bad form to treat info requests with contempt. Would Mr Tashkoff have had a bigger tantie if ACT had not been invited to participate, I wonder?

Julie said...

Sadly for Mr Tashkoff, this page is now the second highest ranked page you get when you search for his name on Google. I don't know how to google-bomb or do anything like that, so I'm not sure how that happened. His Act profile is first ranked.