Like many, I was sceptical of Peter Dunne’s last minute vote change against the Electoral Finance Act. After voting with the Government on every single vote and amendment, it seemed he voted against for pragmatic reasons (knew it would pass without him) and still seemed to support the law – just said that NZers were so worked up about it he was respecting their wishes.
I know Peter’s office were not happy he still featured on one of our billboards (albeit it with his name crossed out and the Greens written in), after he voted against at third reading.
But today Peter Dunne said in a speech:
Last year, UnitedFuture learned a powerful lesson – via the medium of the Electoral Finance Bill – about listening to the community.
Let me say this as I clearly as I can: we were wrong to support that legislation for as long as we did, and while I am pleased we eventually came to our senses and opposed the Bill, it remains one of my greatest regrets in politics that we misread the situation for so long.
But we have learned our lesson as a consequence – we will listen to the voice of New Zealanders far more closely in future, and then we will act accordingly.
We will undoubtedly disagree from time to time – I am not suggesting we should become a blank piece of paper to be written all over as the mood suits – but as best we can, we will redouble our commitment to put the public interest ahead of that of party or government.
I can’t say how much this statement pleases me. People may still doubt the sincerity of it, but I am taking it at face value and believe it is a genuine expression of Peter’s views on the issue.