A reminder to everyone interested that the Wellington march against the Electoral Finance Bill is today, leaving Civic Square at 12.30 pm.
If you need a succinct reason as to why you should march, here’s it is:
Under the Electoral Finance Bill, a placard in a protest march in January 2008 which says “Down with Labour’s Electoral Finance Bill” will be an election advertisement.
However Labour’s election pledgecard, the centrepiece of their election campaign, will not be an election advertisement if it funded by the taxpayer – even if released in the final week of the election.
Labour broke the law in 2005. The broke it in two ways.
The Electoral Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer both said that Labour’s pledge card was an illegal election advertisement. The Electoral Finance Bill will mean that it will now not have to be counted as part of their election advertising.
The Auditor-General and the Solicitor-General both said that it was illegal for the pledge card to be funded by the taxpayer. However Labour is broke so they are changing the law through their Appropriations Validating Act to allow them to send the bill to the taxpayer again.
I have a huge level of respect for these neutral institutions of state. I think it is important we have an Electoral Commission, a Chief Electoral Office, an Auditor-General who fairly interpret the laws. They are not conflicted with an interest in the outcome.
Since Labour’s illegal behaviour was publicised in 2006, they have had a relentless campaign against some of these officials. They have claimed the Chief Electoral Officer and the Auditor-General were biased, were incompetent, were wrong, were making things up, were inconsistent. It’s been disgraceful to have the Government of NZ attack its own senior officials in such a way.
They were finally made to pay back $800,000. But now in a fit of revenge they are changing the law to fit their bizarre interpretation. Can anything be more ridiculous than a law which will now exempt an election pledge card from being considered an election expense? And worse a companion law which allows them to send the taxpayer the bill for their election pledge card?
So if you do not think Labour’s election pledge card should be exempt from the Electoral Act, then have your say today.