The Electoral Finance Bill isn’t just about third parties. It is primarily about Labour trying to get re-elected, and is merely part of a strategy.
Part One is to clamp down on the amounts everyone else can spend. We see these with not only the draconian third party restrictions, but also the extending of the regulated period for political parties to 11 months. This is simply because Labour has less money because it has lost so many supporters.
But Part Two is the killer. As the Herald reports, H2 has been trying to get all the parliamentary parties to agree that items such as Labour’s pledge card can be funded out of their parliamentary budget. Now under the current law, even if they did again fund their pledge card out of their parliamentary budget, it would still have to be accounted for as part of their spending limit.
But the Electoral Finance Bill exempts parliamentary spending from the spending caps. This means that not only will Labour be able to get the taxpayer to pay for their pledge card again, they won’t have it count as part of their limit.
The naked self interest is disgusting. They want to prevent parties and third parties from spending their own money on their election campaigns, yet want to be able to use their parliamentary budgets for anythign bar explicit vote solicitations.
Consider the hypocrisy. A third party is told that if they publish their views on any proposition associated with a party or candidate, then bang that is an election ad and must count towards their meagre total.
But a parliamentary party can actually publish a election pledge card, and not have that count towards their total.
John Armstrong writes on how Labour is still 100% committed to the passing of the Electoral Finance Bill. Their concessions will be minor and only in areas where their interests are unaffected.
What Labour is trying to do borders on corruption. And yes I use that word deliberately. The Chief Electoral Officer, the Electoral Commission and the Auditor-Generall all found that they broke the law last election. Labour have never shown a hint of contrition for this. They have merely attacked the neutral officials who held them to account. And they are now trying to legalise their previously illegal behaviour.
People may think the C word is too harsh. But think what your reaction would be if you read how some small pacific country had the incumbent Government clearly breached the country’s electoral laws, and then using their narrow majority gained at the disputed election, they rewrote the election laws to legalise their illegal actions, and to restrict the ability of parties and groups to criticise them.
You’d probably be thinking it’s a typical corrupt Pacific country. Now if you think that does not verge on the boundaries of corruption, then tell me how.