By popular demand …

I’ve had over two dozen people e-mail, text or call me asking me to link to Fran O’Sullivan’s column, so by popular demand, here is Fran on the battle of Helengrad.

The first four paragraphs are below:

We won. You lost. Eat that!” No, we’re not talking about Finance Minister Michael Cullen’s crowing over Labour’s dirty election victory.

We’re talking about the roar from the courageous journalists, bloggers, National Party MPs, gutsy public servants, and lawyers who dug deep into the electoral-spending scandal.

They faced down vituperative abuse from the Prime Minister, her colleagues, and minor party leaders until sufficient public pressure was created to force the political parties to dip into their pockets and pay back the $1.17 million they purloined to fund advertising campaigns for last year’s election.

More than a bit of champagne has been quaffed in Wellington this week, as those who have put their reputations and careers on the line to do battle with Helengrad toasted a victory that was sorely needed if New Zealand’s reputation as a corruption-free country was to be maintained.

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