Mr Goff today said Labour would like to contribute to a review of the Act and National should seek consensus support for changes.
He acknowledged Labour had made mistakes.
“I don’t think the way that the Electoral Finance Act was passed or necessarily its specific detail was as good as it could have been,” he said on Radio New Zealand.
“I think we do need to look at that again. I think we need to look at that in a way that involves all parties.
“Any matter that’s constitutional or electoral we should be seeking consensus for. We didn’t have that consensus.”
This is basically final vindication for those of us who campaigned against the Electoral Finance Act. It would have been nicer to have them admit this before being booted out of office, but better late than never.
National offered to work with Labour in 2006 on a bipartisan basis to electoral laws, and Labour spurned it. In fact they came up with the most partisan self serving law change we have seen. However National needs to put aside any anger from that and let Labour into the tent on future changes. That is not to say ultimately decisions may be made by majority vote, but there has to be a good faith no surprises transparent process around writing the replacement to the EFA (which should be repealed immediately).
Constitutional acts such as the Electoral Act are too important to be a bauble of office or spoil of war. That is why National has to act in such a way to restore confidence in electoral law making, and not take revenge by locking Labour out of the process.
However, I believe you get one lifeline only. If some future Labour Government ever tries to ram through electoral law changes without a mandate or consultation, then they could never be trusted again. You would have permament warfare over the Electoral Act.
But for now congratulations to Phil Goff for admitting Labour were wrong for acting the way they did. It is a good start to his leadership.