When I saw that the Electoral Commission had referred Jim Anderton to the Police, I remarked to a couple of people that I was sure he would have a fit and attack the Electoral Commission. I was right. The Herald reports:
Progressive leader Jim Anderton has launched an extraordinary attack on the Electoral Commission for referring him to police for a possible breach of the Electoral Act. …
But Mr Anderton, who was referred to police over election advertising before the 2008 election, said he had done nothing wrong.
Jim thinks he has never done anything wrong in his life. His valedictory was full of how he was right and everyone else had been wrong. If you ask him hig biggest mistake, he will be stumped for an answer.
“I’m authorised to send my constituents any message I damn well like. This is my electorate.
First of all don’t you like how he refers to them as possessions.
Secondly he was not writing to them in his capacity as an MP for parliamentary purposes. He was writing to them to tell them to vote for Megan Woods. Even the thickest of MPs should have learnt by now that telling people who to vote for is not a parliamentary purpose.
Thirdly, MPs are not above the law. He is not a King or a God. He is merely an MP. That doesn’t mean he can do anything he damn well likes.
His arrogance is the same as that which destroyed the Alliance. He demanded the party members surrender total control of the organisation to him, and effectively make him dictator. They refused, so he left.
“And if the Commission wants to start stopping electorate MPs from communicating with their electorate, they’d better get prepared for a breach of privilege complaint, because that’s what it amounts to.
Oh I so hope he tries that – it would be most amusing. In reality all he is trying to do is bully neutral public servants and have them exempt him from the law.
They are interfering with the regular work of an MP.”
It is not the regular work of an MP to write to voters and tell them who to vote for. That is the role of parties and candidates.
“They have a few things like rape and pillage going on around the country, and this is simply ridiculous to tie up senior members of the police force with this kind of garbage.”
In Jim’s world, electoral law breaches are not an offence. I suspect Labour agrees with him.
Mr Anderton said the letter was sent outside the regulated period under the Electoral Act, but the commission referred it to police on the basis that the letter was not properly authorised.
The regulated period has nothing to do with this. In fact, the law for around 20 years has been the same in terms of requiring authorisation.
Yesterday, I was willing to attribute Anderton’s crime to (unforgivable) ignorance. Today, its clear that its one of arrogance. And he needs to be held to account for it.