No real surprise that 81% of respondents in a Herald Digipoll support political parties paying back any taxpayer money illegally spent on their behalf. Of concern to Labour will be the fact 76% of Labour supporters also support paying it back.
National did well yesterday to pull out media monitoring research that shows Labour actually increased its election spending after being told by the Chief Electoral Officer they should include the cost of their pledge card. They had the ability and time to stay within the (electoral) law, and made a very deliberate decision to over-spend.
I was discussing last night whether Labour would have the numbers to retrospectively legislate, even if they decided to try.
Presumably they could get both poodles (Jim and Winston) to vote in favour so that is 58 votes.
National and Maori would be against at 52 votes. Now even though Rodney Hide has spoken against the AG;s report, I can not believe he and Heather would vote for retrospective legislation such as this. It would quite simply be the death of ACT. Likewise with all the emphasis the Greens put on principles, I can’t imagine they could hold their heads up high and vote for it. So that is 60 votes against and 58 in favour.
So who might decide? United Future with three votes.
Having said that I think Labour would be suicidal to even try. And they may find not many MPs can easily vote on any legislation because the money owed to Parliamentary Service is not legally owed by political parties but by the MPs themselves. Therefore any MP who has not paid money back will have to make a declaration to Parliament under Standing Order 166 that they stand to directly financially benefit from the legislation. Now how will it look to have half the Labour Caucus declaring they will personally gain from a law and then vote for it.