Today’s Dominion Post editorial on the illegal pledge card spending makes the others (which were very stern also) look like wimps. It starts by asking:
What part of shameless and arrogant does Labour not understand?
Miss Clark says that no political party sets out to break any rule established by the Parliamentary Service. Pardon? She cannot possibly have forgotten that 2-1/2 weeks before polling day, Chief Electoral Officer David Henry told the party it had breached the Electoral Act when Miss Clark’s office sent out so-called pledge cards to every household. General secretary Mike Smith initially offered to remedy matters; 18 days later, he withdrew the offer.
This comes just days after she pretended that colleague and Mangere MP Phillip Field had done nothing wrong in his immigration work on behalf of constituents, a stance she has moved from marginally since it became obvious the public was unimpressed. No wonder voters regard politicians as venal and untrustworthy.
For Miss Clark to accuse critics of Labour’s pre-election spending of defamation indicates this latest allegation of government sleaze has her rattled.
The worst part of this latest example of the Government’s absolute determination to cling to office at any cost is the Clark-Cullen suggestion that taxpayers should fund parties’ electioneering. Miss Clark seems no longer to recognise the reality: that election campaigns provide a marketplace of ideas and would-be politicians, from which voters pick to form a government. If parties cannot attract mass membership and fees because their policies are unpopular, they don’t deserve to have their influence artificially bolstered by dipping a hand into taxpayers’ wallets.