The NZ Herald picks up yesterday’s story that Labour have decided not to pay the money back, regardless of what the Auditor-General says in his final report.
Transparency International warns that NZ’s reputation (we are currently second least corrupt in the world) will be damaged if Labour refuses to repay taxpayer funds unlawfully spent on campaigning and changes the law to make it legal. They’re not wild on anonymous donations either but our current rating is done on the basis of current law which allows them.
They say “Any retrospective changing of the law to legitimise something that was previously illegal we would criticise in the strongest possible terms.”
This backs up my stance – Labour are not corrupt for the original decision to fund the card from the taxpayer, but they certainly will be acting corruptly if they refuse to pay it back once the final Auditor-General report confirms their illegality.
The NZ Herald editorial is headlined On a path to true corruption and warns that Labour’s plans to ban or severely restrict third party advocacy during elections is a slippery slope which can form the way the way to truly corrupt a healthy, open democracy.
Finally former Labour MP and historian Michael Bassett answers the question, whether there are precedents for the large number of scandals Helen Clark experiences with her Cabinet and MPs. The answer is no, to little surprise.