The Herald reported last weekend:
Labour’s deputy leader Grant Robertson said Parliament should consider changing the process of dealing with electoral law breaches to speed it up – including giving the Electoral Commission powers to fine or penalise for some breaches. …
Mr Robertson said the Electoral Commission was the expert body on electoral law, yet it had to send any breaches to Police to decide whether to act on them.
“The bigger issue is the number of complaints they’ve sent to the Police that nothing has happened with. So maybe there is another way. For instance, could you set a threshold under which the Electoral Commission was able to impose some sort of penalty rather than have to have Police prosecute it.”
I think Grant was less keen on the Electoral authorities having prosecuting authority when he worked in the PM’s Office in 2005 and they over-spent by $400,000. In a disgraceful decision the Police totally misinterpreted the law and failed to prosecute.
But I agree with him that the Commission should be able to impose fines for minor offences. I also think the Police should be removed entirely from any Electoral Act enforcement. They have shown in 2005, 2008 and 2011 they have neither the expertise or the interest in enforcing it.
Whale points out Truth had this story some weeks ago, as they actually filed the OIA it is all based on.
[DPF: Actually the Herald article is from a year ago, so not based on the Truth article. I mis-read the date. It shows how appalling things are though that a year on, still almost nothing has happened!]