Trans Tasman’s annual roll call says this about David Cunliffe:
Due to changes in Labour’s rules managed to pull off the unthinkable and become leader despite many in the caucus not wanting him. He is clever, articulate and a good communicator. Has the potential to be the next PM, but he will only get the one shot. Caucus has no choice but to get behind him. The great fear is he could still be an accident waiting to happen.
An accident has already happened.
Labour leader David Cunliffe might have fallen foul of the law with a message posted on his Twitter profile on the day of the Christchurch East by-election.
The Electoral Commission is looking into the tweet by Cunliffe on Saturday urging Christchurch East residents to get out and vote for the successful Labour candidate Poto Williams.
“If you are resident in Christchurch East don’t forget to vote today – for Labour and Poto Williams!” he wrote.
Under Electoral Commission rules, no campaigning of any kind is allowed on election day.
The message has since been deleted. Cunliffe yesterday took responsibility for the tweet, saying it was sent in error but was reluctant to explain how. It was “deleted within seconds”.
He said he was not aware of the rules at the time it was sent. He would co-operate with the Electoral Commission if it investigated. . .
It defies belief that a seasoned MP could not be aware of the rules, which aren’t just rules, they are electoral law.
In the National Party the law about what you can and can’t do on election day are drummed into everyone from the newest volunteer to the longest-serving MP. I have no doubt Labour takes the law equally seriously.
He might have forgotten, he might not have thought but ignorance is no defence.
Keeping Stock noticed the tweet and responded:
Whether or not that prompted the deletion of the tweet, it disappeared very quickly.
The Electoral Commission is unlikely to do anything about this given the fleeting appearance of the tweet.
But it does show a lamentable lack of attention to detail on Cunliffe’s part.
That is not not an asset in an aspiring Prime Minister and confirms Trans Tasman’s view of him as an accident waiting to happen.