Cunliffe breaches election day law

December 3rd, 2013 at 1:58 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Labour leader might have fallen foul of the law with a message posted on his Twitter profile on the day of the Christchurch East by-election.

The is looking into the tweet by Cunliffe on Saturday urging Christchurch East residents to get out and vote for the successful Labour candidate Poto Williams.

“If you are resident in Christchurch East don’t forget to vote today – for Labour and Poto Williams!” he wrote.

Under Electoral Commission rules, no campaigning of any kind is allowed on election day. …

He said he was not aware of the rules at the time it was sent. He would co-operate with the Electoral Commission if it investigated.

David Cunliffe has been a candidate in five general elections, and even the lowliest candidate knows you can not campaign on election day. The Leader of the Opposition can not plead ignorance of the law.

If the leader of NZ’s second largest political party can campaign without consequences on election day, then how could the Electoral Commission expect anyone else to take the law seriously?

The tweet may not have had a huge impact, but I can’t see anyway the Electoral Commission can not refer it to the Police without setting an awful precedent.

UPDATE: The Electoral Commission wrote to all parties contesting the by-election the day before, telling them what the rules are for e-day and they even specifically referred to not using Twitter to campaign.

Tags: , ,

48 Responses to “Cunliffe breaches election day law”

  1. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    In a press release earlier, the self described “Future Prime Minister” said “screw you all. i’ll do what i want. national are bad and john key is rich”

    __________________________________________________________

    The Government needs to make a stand at some point. If they dont want to be seen as sore losers or whatever this time, how about they say – next time ANYONE breaches the law, we will prosecute. hard.

    I dont care which party it is. Im sick of these guys pissing in our faces

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. RAS (63 comments) says:

    They won’t do anything. It’s “not in the public interest”.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    The Electoral Commission made its position clear prior to the last general election. Tweeters can expect fines up to $20,000.

    Having said that, political parties’ websites – including campaign material – are not included which makes a mockery of the law.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10728222

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 42 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Morgy (172 comments) says:

    NOT GOOD ENOUGH! If Key had done that, the next two weeks would be front page news with the usual mob crying foul. Cunliffe apologises and expects it to go away.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. kowtow (8,463 comments) says:

    Smoke screen to detract attention from the trial of his multicultural party members.

    New headline……Cunners’ takes one for Team Labour.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. OneTrack (3,092 comments) says:

    ” I can’t see anyway the Electoral Commission can not refer it to the Police without setting an awful precedent.”

    Come on, its ok when the (hard) left does it.

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    nada, nada, nothing to see here, move on. Forgotten by lunch time

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    A Labour MP breaching electoral law – that’s a first surely ????

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    “there have never been any prosecutions based on an election-day breach by the media or members of the public.”

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Election-day-rules-a-policing-challenge/tabid/419/articleID/234073/Default.aspx

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Ignorance is an excuse, and there is always “nothing to see here, move on”. I – sadly – expect nothing better.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    He said he was not aware of the rules at the time it was sent.

    That was a dumb thing to say. He should have just said the truth which is he sent the tweet without thinking, an easy mistake to make with something as ephemeral as tweets. He should probably also apologise.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    There are only two options for Cunliffe. Either he is stupid or he is a liar. Maybe a small number of members of the public might not realise such a tweet was breach of the law but not anyone involved in a election campaign would know it was.

    Does anyone believe Cunliffe is telling the truth?

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    It’s a dumb law that should be scrapped. Turnout is falling, anything we can do to get more people voting is a good thing.

    Doesn’t excuse him violating it of course.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Nigel Kearney (1,013 comments) says:

    Laws that restrict freedom of expression without a very good reason should be ignored, the more flagrantly and often the better. Just choose not to move to the back of the bus and eventually they’ll have to let you sit wherever you like.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Of course, I can almost guarantee that we’ll discover that the message wasn’t sent by him, but by a lowly staff member (willing to catch a bullet for his boss) who had access to the account. A minor distinction but enough to clear DC legally.

    Gosh I’m cynical.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    ‘Laws that restrict freedom of expression without a very good reason should be ignored, the more flagrantly and often the better. Just choose not to move to the back of the bus and eventually they’ll have to let you sit wherever you like.’

    You have to go through the hoses, police dogs and Bull Conors first. Also be told you’re irrelevant and your pain doesn’t exist. Normally by the middle class who never have pain.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. alwyn (424 comments) says:

    Dime. I most certainly do not want to see the Government trying to prosecute anyone. That is a job for the Police, not the Politicians.

    Chuck Bird. “there are only two options … stupid or a liar”.
    I think there is a third. Stupid AND a liar.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Having said that, if the National loser had performed better, I doubt we’d be hearing about this complaint. :)

    Yeah, now National are going to make the affair that they arranged for Potato Williams to have two years ago public.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Manolo (13,765 comments) says:

    Silent T will be slapped with a wet bus ticket and nothing will happen. Guaranteed.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    I don’t even think he’ll get the bus ticket cause nothing happened

    We are such sensitive petals.

    Meanwhile J Key is selling us off to anyone who can afford to bid in a bargain basement sale that was planned way back in 1989 when the treason laws were taken away. Probably way before.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 24 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. srylands (410 comments) says:

    “Yeah, now National are going to make the affair that they arranged for Potato Williams to have two years ago public.”

    I doubt that is possible.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    “Meanwhile J Key is selling us off to anyone who can afford to bid in a bargain basement sale that was planned way back in 1989 when the treason laws were taken away. Probably way before.”

    Good grief. Your hysterical comments are just pathetic! The NZ taxpayer is hundreds of millions (maybe even over a billion) of dollars worse off because Labour and the communist Greens did their best to sabotage the sale. I understand their opposition but you would think if it was going to go aheqad they would at least think of the taxpayer. Is that treason as well? NZ Power is a disgraceful policy and we as taxpayers are already paying for it before it is even implemented. If they do get to implement, it will be one of the worst policies this country has seen.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    If John Banks has been prosecuted for a possible electoral law violation, then so should Cunliffe.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    Where is your blog post DPF condemning the National Party campaign worker who ripped down a Labour campaign sign during the Christchurch East by-election campaign?

    Should he also be prosecuted?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. kaykaybee (152 comments) says:

    @yeswedid 3.28pm. How do you compare an out of control volunteer campaign worker’s actions to that of a well paid and hugely experienced politician breaching electoral law?

    Whip over to thedoublestandard.org – they’ll salivate over your comparison and pat your back until you’re beaming with enough self righteousness to give Mr Cunliffe a run for his money

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. double d (225 comments) says:

    kkb – haha. good answer.
    seems to be a constant meme coming thru of
    1. a silly law, so it doesn’t matter if it is broken and
    2. national did it too …
    wah wah wah.
    is Cunlifee the leader of the major opposition party or not (gimmebackmyflag may not agree) and should be know better?
    And will the MSM hold him to account?

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “the National Party campaign worker”

    good point! a campaign worker is on par with the leader of the opposition! actually, thats norman.. umm the much loved leader of the labour party!?

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. radvad (765 comments) says:

    Yes he should be. And so should Jolyon White last election.

    I can accept Cunliffe making a silly mistake. However claiming he was not aware of the law is extremely concerning. An outright lie.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    Yes kaykaybee putting a comment on twitter is a much bigger crime than vandalism.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    yeswedid – prosecute the staffer. and the greens who made a hobby out of destroying signs in the last election.

    why cant you lefty fuckers ever admit that your side did something bad?

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    ‘Yes kaykaybee putting a comment on twitter is a much bigger crime than vandalism’

    Isn’t Twitter a conspiracy theory

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    @dime – the National party staffer won’t be prosecuted because Labour isn’t that small minded.

    Yes Clunliffe shouldn’t have campaigned on twitter on the election day it was a silly mistake.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    yeswedid, where are your comments on Obamacare failures, or on Obama ordering lots of killings, or on the greens vandalising election hoardings?
    Surely if you think DPF should be commenting on the national campaign worker you will be equitable and comment on these other matters. Ideally do it on your own blog, I’m sure you have one even though nobody really cares what you have to say.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. rg (214 comments) says:

    Imagine if John Banks had done it!

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Where’s Graham McCready when you need him

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. MH (753 comments) says:

    Apparently the GCSB intercepted it sent it off to Aussie who sent it off in a package to Obama and back to Key before Chorus had time to send it off to Huawei for final approval.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. tas (625 comments) says:

    It’s a silly law, but Cunliffe should follow it. And electoral law needs to be enforced!

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    So now the left have got their way with John Banks going to court can some one please explain to me how they can just laugh off Cunliffe’s tweet as just a stupid mistake ?? What is the difference –they both supposedly broke a law , Cunliffe admits he did send the tweet himself.
    National have to push this –as others have said above , the laws are there for a reason. Enforce them !!!

    If it turns out like the Greenies inside the 500 meters limit by the rig and they don’t get arrested ( if I’m wrong on this let me know) then all it does is support those who say there are laws for some but not others. They say it all depends on who your “mates’ are and now they will proven to be correct.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    I’ve just had look at WhaleOil’s coverage of the issue. It looks like Norman is breaking the law as well with the Referendum
    ( putting copies of filled in voting forms on Facebook). Look at the comment by Steve Wrathall who wrote to the Commission about it and got a reply agreeing with him and also adding they sent out a copy of their view to ALL parties secretaries in Nov 27. Norman was still tweeting the Facebook page on Dec 1. Cheating b….ds.
    I’ll like one of the lawyers on here to comment on whether this violation by Norman would invalidate the results in any way.

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/12/time-change-electoral-law/#more-118587

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. alwyn (424 comments) says:

    Are there any lawyers out there who can answer the following question?
    Is there any offence with which Cunnliffe could be charged for which the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment?
    Note I am asking about “could be charged” and “maximum penalty”. Obviously he isn’t, and shouldn’t, be getting 2 years in the pokey but is it even theoretically possible that he could lose his seat?
    I am sure that a lot of the Labour Caucus hope so.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. NK (1,243 comments) says:

    If the EC decides not to do anything someone should take a private prosecution. If it’s good enough for McCready v Banks, then it’s good enough for Cunliffe.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Keeping Stock (10,339 comments) says:

    Know any good lawyers NK? :D

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. itstricky (1,830 comments) says:

    Mean while, other things that happened in the Electoral Act today that aren’t mentioned on KB:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11166361

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    Don’t panic, don’t panic!

    McCready IS on the job.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11167338

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    I wish I had half his guts.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10483895

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    I wish I had half his guts.

    Yet not one political party has invited him into their ranks.

    I’d vote for the one who did.

    Mc Cready definitely proved conspiracies exist and made liars of those who say they don’t

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    Mr McCready took similar legal action against Act leader Mr Banks, who is now facing a High Court trial on allegations he knowingly filed a false electoral return involving donations to his failed campaign for Auckland mayor.

    The Wellingtonian said he would “file a private prosecution without delay or further notice” if police did not charge Mr Cunliffe.

    Who says the cops aren’t corrupt?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote