I am disgusted. The Police have said they will issue a warning [oh how scary] to Labour if they infringe again, but despite *another* prima facie finding of the law being broken, there will be no prosecutions at all. Fucking Incredible.
I actually agreed with Police decisions not to prosecute for paintergate, for Hodgson’s technical assault and for Benson Pope’s assaults. While I was critical of the Ministers making excuses for what they did, I have said that the offending wasn’t so serious as to need prosecution. I have been relatively balanced on the Police using their discretion.
However this case is very different. The over-spending was massive and letting them off just makes a mockery of having spending limits. A $400,000 over-spend is huge.
The Police rationale is also bizarre. You see they have found a prima facie case in relation to the pledge card not being authorised but have said they do not have enough evidence on the charge of over-spending.
Now if you conclude that the pledge card needed to be authorised, then you have concluded it is an election activity because otherwise it would not need authorisation. And if you have done that then that must count towards their spending limit. I can’t see how it can be one but not the other.
I also believe for the record that National should have been charged over the GST mistake with the broadcasting allocation. National admits there was a mistake and too much broadcasting was booked, so the law was broken. I would have expected a Judge to be lenient based on a genuine mistake but believe charges being laid would have been appropriate.
My respect for the NZ Police have just shrunk to near zero. Both the Chief Electoral Officer and the Electoral Commission independently concluded that the pledge card was election spending and Labour over-spent. For the Police to conclude otherwise against the two specialist agencies is astonishing.
This is the Police Force which decides to prosecute an Opposition MP for driving a tractor up some steps, yet time and time again bends over backwards to never take action against infringements by members of the Government.
The fact that Crown Law were meant to consider this matter for another week and a decision has been rushed out today suggests to me they had overlooked the deadline and have rushed this decision through. I look forward to seeing OIAs on the reports and correspondence, though I suspect they will suppress some of it.
Well this has really fired me up and my motto is don’t get mad, get even. If one needed motivation for 2008 you now have it.