Don Brash made the point yesterday that four agencies have now concluded (all indpendently) that the pledge cards were election spending. They are:
* the Auditor-General
* the Chief Electoral Officer
* the Electoral Commission
* the Solicitor-General
A refusal to pay the money back, is quite simply theft and corruption. No ifs and no buts. The party in Government can not be allowed to be above the law.
People should also remember that two of the agencies warned Labour prior to the election. The Chief Electoral Officer gave a specific explicit opinion on the pledge cards and the Auditor-General in June gave a general warning to all parties to make sure their spending over the next three months was not electioneering.
The issue of taxpayer funding for parties is a red herring. If Labour and others want to introduce such a regime, then at the next general election they should explicitly campaign for it. In fact I would welcome Labour campaigning at a general election on their desire to have the taxpayer prop up their party.