113 breaches referred 0 prosecutions?

02/07/2014

The Electoral Commission has referred 113 breaches of the electoral Act to police in the last three years and none has resulted in a prosecution:

Figures supplied by the Electoral Commission reveal 113 cases have been referred to police for investigation since the beginning of 2011 – not one has resulted in a prosecution.

Daljit Singh, a Labour Party candidate in Auckland’s first Super City elections, was convicted of electoral fraud earlier this year but the actions on which the charge of electoral fraud were based  took place more than three years ago.

Back to the original story:

It’s a figure Justice Minister Judith Collins wasn’t aware of.

Ms Collins doesn’t know the basis on which the Electoral Commission referred the cases to police, and says it’s something she’d have to find out more about before she could express an opinion.

While surprised at the figure, Ms Collins remains critical of opposition party calls for the Electoral Commission to be given the power to prosecute breaches of electoral laws.

“That would be an interesting situation since as I recall it’s mostly their parties that are actually responsible for most of the breaches, but that would be very interesting. That would be turkeys voting for an early Christmas wouldn’t it.” . . .

It would be very interesting and that might not be the answer.

But all those referrals and not a single prosecution is a very strong indication that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

Alleged breaches need to be taken seriously and dealt with quickly – preferably before the election which might be affected by them.


Electoral law reform needed

07/06/2014

Don Brash on Facebook:

So the court has found John Banks guilty. Three observations. First, I have known John Banks for 30 years and have not found him to be anything other than an honest man. Second, it is a huge tragedy for a man who has overcome great personal difficulties; served with distinction as a Member of Parliament, as a Minister, and as the mayor of Auckland; and helped to raise three Russian orphans.

But third, when I contrast what John Banks was found by the court to have done with what Helen Clark’s Labour Party did in 2005 – without the slightest attempt by the Police to call her to account – the offence of which he has been found guilty is utterly trivial.

In 2005, the Labour Party spent Parliamentary funding to the extent of more than three-quarters of a million dollars on explicit electioneering, despite having been warned against doing so by both the Auditor General and the Chief Electoral Officer just weeks before the election. Yes, they eventually repaid that money, but only under strong protest. And of course by that the time the election was won.

And what they could not undo, and were never held to account for, was grossly overspending the legal limit on spending in that election. The Police, in a disgracefully biased decision, decided not to prosecute, despite the Labour Party’s own auditors finding that the Party had unambiguously breached the legal spending limit if spending on their infamous “pledge card” was election spending. And did anybody who saw that “pledge card” think it was NOT part of Labour’s election campaign?

Whatever John Banks did in trying to raise money to finance his mayoral campaign in 2010 did not affect the outcome of that election. By contrast, Labour’s illegal behaviour almost certainly did affect the result of the 2005 election.

This doesn’t excuse Banks.

It shows electoral law either isn’t up to scratch or it isn’t working.

It takes an inordinately long time for the Electoral Commission to refer anything to the police and the only time I can recall that they’ve gone onto lay a charge recently was Labour candidate Daljit Singh.

It took a private prosecution to get this case to court.

If we had the electoral law we need and it worked well, that wouldn’t have been needed.

 


Another bad week for Labour

20/02/2014

Labour’s had another bad week.

David Cunliffe lurched into loony territory with suspicions that the Government’s paying someone to keep tabs on other Party leaders, following revelations of Winston Peters visiting the Dotcom mansion.

Then he asked a photographer to delete a potentially embarrassing picture had to make an apology.

This was followed by the news that some TVNZ employees have been using their employer’s premises for  Labour Party activities.

And then Cunliffe did the peculiar my-house-isn’t-as-big-as-his about which Danyl at Dim Post writes:

. . . (I keep seeing people on my twitter feed demanding to know the difference between Shane Taurima and, say, Mike Hosking or Paul Henry. I think the main difference is that if Mike Hosking wanted to set up a fundraising operation inside TVNZ the National Party wouldn’t let him because it would look terrible and destroy his career).

But it was a clip from another TV3 story the same night that’s really haunting me. Here’s a screen-grab of Labour leader David Cunliffe standing in front of a super-luxury yacht company explaining that his $2.5 million dollar mansion is just a ‘do-up’, after criticising Key for living in a nice house.

It’s hard to compress so much failure into a single image. Up to now I’ve felt that the outcome of the election is too close to call. The sides are pretty even, small changes at the margins could have huge impacts on the results. But my gut feeling now is that Labour’s support will collapse and National will win a third term. It feels like a replay of the 2011 election in which Labour keep doing baffling, stupid things and then demand to know why the media is biased against them and how anyone could like John Key. People don’t want idiots running their country.

Among the comments in response to this are:

My thoughts exactly. Labour’s refusal/inability to accept returning to government is not a divine right is getting really irritating. . .

So it’s not a triad of evil born from the GCSB, Cameron Slater and John Key that is destroying the righteous partnership of Kim Dot Com and David Cunliffe. Bugger me. . .

. . . Well there was a theory that Cunliffe was a smart operator. Indeed I thought all the “gaffs” he made that helped undermine Shearer were all actually very clever political ploys. Now I just think he hasn’t a clue and they were all just bumbling gaffs that worked out for him. . .

. . .

I guess the trouble is, have a well-to-do Harvard educated former consultant now technocrat masquerading as a working-man populist was always going to be somewhat of a gift to the NP startegists. It’s pretty hard to set the agenda when you can be easily painted as part of the problem.

Unfortunately the only other leadership options to date have been careerist jobsworths, who think they’re owed a living by the proles.

I think Danyl is on the money though – this feels like the moment that the LP blew it.

People looking for the problem need look no further than this thread: It’s the media’s fault, it’s Crosby Textor, it’s some sort of conspiracy…No it really isn’t. Labour just needs to stop being idiots. Until people are prepared to take a critical look at their own party and stop blaming everyone else, nothing will change. . . .

Sanctuary, stop trying to blame the media for the cock ups of Cunliffe and the Labour Party. What’s happening is the Labour Party is simply demonstrating what we all know deep down. Labour has neither the talent and policies nor the fitness to govern at the moment. . .

I popped in to see the Young Nats at Otago University’s O-Week tent city on Monday and asked a visiting MP how things were.

She said the contrast between MPs in parliament was palpable.

National MPs were united and positive, when she looked over to the other side of the House the body language was clear – Labour is divided and disheartened.

Whaleoil has another example of this:

. . . A mate of mine who travels a lot has noticed a distinct difference between National MPS and Labour MPs. He sits in the Koru lounge in Wellington and Auckland and observes.

He has noticed that Labour MPs operate in cliques. When other caucus members walk in or past they rarely acknowledge each other, in fact disdain is the most prevalent demeanour. There is real and palpable hostility between some members of the caucus.

In contrast National MPs have a more collegial atmosphere, holding court and joking and enjoying each others company. There is a stark difference.

National look and act like a winning team.

Labour look and act like petulant school children with no apparent teamwork unless forced by media arrangements to grin and bear the company of their peers

I think all of this shows that Labour and in particular David Cunliffe are in a deep malaise…so deep they cannot survive it. . . .

If this isn’t bad enough, Chris Trotter writes of the canaries in the mine  as The Daily Blog’s poll shows the Green Party overtaking Labour:

. . . For the first time that I could recall the Greens were in the lead – and there was nothing narrow about it. Labour hadn’t simply been dislodged into second place, it was running third behind the National Party. Overnight the Greens had moved from a rough parity with Labour to a 2:1 advantage.

I shook my head in disbelief. It had to be a rogue result. But this morning, when I checked, there it was again, a practically identical result. Greens 32 percent; Labour 22 percent; National 21 percent; Mana 9 percent; Internet Party 5 percent; Act 4 percent; NZ First 4 percent; Conservatives 2 percent; Maori Party 1 percent; United Future 0 percent.

Okay! I know, I know! There’s nothing in the least bit scientific about this sort of on-line poll. The 382 participants in the survey were all self-selected and the Daily Blog’s audience is a very long way from being representative of the wider New Zealand population.

But, don’t you see, that’s the whole point! If you exclude the National Party types getting to “know thy enemy”, the people who regularly read The Daily Blog, are overwhelmingly more Left than Centre. If Labour has shed 10 percentage points from the readership of this blog, its most sympathetic of audiences, how long can it be until the big, media-commissioned polls – Colmar Brunton, Reid Research, DigiPoll – all register a similar sudden collapse of Labour support among the general population?

Isn’t it highly likely that the readers of The Daily Blog are playing the role of the canary in a coal mine? Wouldn’t you expect an audience of such ideological sensitivity to register much earlier than the rest of the population Labour’s infuriating and increasingly obvious inability to win the 2014 election? . . .
Call it the wisdom of crowds. Announce that we’ve reached a tipping point. Put it down to a change in thezeitgeist. However 2014 is later explained by the political scientists, I want the readers of The Daily Blog – the canaries in a coal mine – to remember that they were the ones who succumbed to the gaseous exhalations of Labour’s political decomposition long before anybody else.

That poll wasn’t scientific but the Fairfax Media-Ipsos one was and it had more bad news for Labour and its leader:

. . . Prime Minister John Key is by far our most liked and trusted politician, with 59.3 per cent of people liking him, and 58.7 per cent also trusting him.

Key is also well ahead of his opponents as preferred prime minister on 51.2 per cent.

Labour leader David Cunliffe appears to be more polarising, with those who like and trust him, and those who don’t, falling into roughly equal camps. His rating as preferred prime minister is just 18.2 per cent.

The bad news for Cunliffe is that only Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, Mana Party leader Hone Harawira and Internet Party leader Kim Dotcom are more disliked. Harawira and Dotcom are also the least trusted. . .

To top it off,  while the party isn’t responsible for the electoral fraud of one of its local body candidates,  the sentencing of Daljit Singh is another bad news story in a bad week for Labour.


Rogue candidates

13/12/2013

A Labour candidate in the first Auckland super city election has been found guilty of two of the 18 electoral fraud charges he faced.

Daljit Singh has been on trial in the High Court at Auckland on 20 charges of using forged documents to increase his chances of winning a seat on his local board. . . .

A former Green candidate was in the news this week for malicious tweets:

. . . Max Coyle, a former Green Party candidate, responded to Justice Minister Collins, saying: “Go kill yourself you despicable human”.

The tweet has since been deleted, but other similar remarks remain on his page. . .

All parties run the risk of rogue candidates.

They can’t control or be held responsible for everything a candidate does.

They have no responsibility for and even less control over former ones.

But they do have a responsibility to vet prospective candidates carefully, school them properly in the what they can and can’t do and, while they are standing on their ticket, monitor what they do.

The vetting and schooling are the most important steps because monitoring isn’t easy when most party workers and candidates are volunteers and a lot of what they do has to be taken on trust.

 

 


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