The Dom Post editorial today on cleaning up election spending is basically a fair one.
They criticise National for the GST mistake, which is a fair criticism. However I do wish they would resist the cheap shots about Don Brash having been on the committee that designed GST – I mean does anyone really think the party leader is the one who books the advertising and reconciles the invoices. At the end of the day the problem was not one of understanding, but of communication – National always knew the broadcasting was GST inclusive but may not have communicated this clearly enough, or in writing to the agency.
But anyway the Dom Post praises National for admitting the mistake, and for the bill to allow it to repay the broadcasters – asking all parties to pass it without delay.
They then turn their sights on Labour, noting Labour has shown a total lack of remorse over their breaches which were for four times as much. It’s pleasing to see they have got through the spin about a confused law, and state:
Labour’s was a coordinated national campaign that continued despite repeated warnings from the chief electoral officer that the material breached the law. Labour should not be allowed to get away with such a cynical flouting of the law.
Finally the DP propose that any over-spending be taken off the campaign budget for next time. I suspect National would be very happy with this, if Labour agreed but of course they won’t. But more importantly such suggestions should not be seen as a substitute for actual prosecutions of persons and parties who breach the Act. That is what was really needed, and where the Police so badly let us down.