I’ve just been told by a journalist that the Electoral Commission has decided to allow the EPMU and four other unions which have chosen to be affiliate members of the Labour Party to register as a third party. This means the five of them can collectively spend $600,000 attacking National on behalf of Labour.
I think the Electoral Commission has got it massively wrong – again. Their decision that “person” in the EFA excluded organisations got over-turned by the High Court quite comprehensively.
On this issue, I am astonished that they could have reached a conclusion that the EPMU is not involved in the administration of the Labour Party, when there was documented evidence they take an active role in selections, conferences and the like. They in fact have a constitutional entitlement which probably makes them the most powerful member after the President.
The Electoral Commission was required to turn down any third party application unless they were posiively satisifed they were not involved in a party’s administration. This meant that if it was a borderline call, it should still have been turned down. And I don’t think it was even close to borderline.
My arguments on the EPMU’s involement with Labour are here. The Electoral Commission decision is here. At this stage they have given no reasoning for their decision.
I won’t decide on any next steps until I have read the rationale for their decision.
There have been many decisions the Electoral Commission has taken which I have supported. There have also been several where I disagreed with their decision, but believe it was a reasonable decision nonetheless.
This decision, and their earlier one which the High Court over-turned on the EPMU, fall into a category where I don’t think any reasonable person could reach the conclusion they have.Tags: Electoral Commission, Electoral Finance Act, EPMU