Friday, March 17, 2006

Labour and over spending

Jordan accuses the right of being bitter and twisted over labor’s overspending.

Frankly this is like a murder accusing the victim's family of being bitter and twisted. Labor it would seem stole the election by overspending - and now gets away with it without any punishment.

Jordan brings up a couple of ridiculously self serving arguments

First there is the argument that it didn't make a difference in the election - if you believe that then as I proposed for national when they overspent - the ultimate test is to take it out of next election's budget. If you are not willing to do that you effectively accept that you may well have "stolen the election" this time round.

Second there is the argument that labor made an honest mistake

this is funny because it's so pathetic. Labor’s campaign return was over the limit because the party included, at the demand of authorities, spending it did not believe was attributable spending.

Jordan, there are children in primary schools who would know that the pledge card was a method for winning elections. Labor are not idiots and there is no way they could have missed this (unlike the GST issue national had where they might have been stupid enough). If the incumbent government is allowed to use the resources of the government to fight an election you have fundamentally undermined the fairness of elections and become exactly what you despise "that side of politics which believes it is born to rule New Zealand", yes it is you.

Third the argument that national is more guilty..

National failed to include spending on its behalf that was clearly attributable - all the hard work done by the Exclusive Brethren for the National Party campaign.

This is comical because the brethren HURT the national party. Jordan is watching the other side score an own goal and trying to get a penalty for it. It requires a ridiculous level of stupidity in national for us to conclude that they created the brethren situation and the logical conclusion is that they we vaguely aware (in the same way labor is vaguely aware if I was to tell them I would support them an then put a sign up on my lawn worth $400,000). But reasonable people can see how that might not be included - or if it was could be the source of ridiculousness as individuals tried to destroy other party’s budget by wasting money in their name.

The fact they spent more than the legal limit for broadcasting time during the campaign (due to a "mistake" - yeah, right) means they are already at least as susceptible to being charged as any Labor official would be.

Yes and no. Firstly no matter what the penalty it must be worse for labor because labor’s problem is about 4 times as big and because national has a method for arguing it could have been a misunderstanding (a very stupid mistake but still a mistake). But I am not arguing for national to get off - they overspent, and they are either obliged to fight the advertising company on this or to face the punishment - just that labor’s punishment should be significantly worse.

Fourth the argumnt that they will constructively solve the problem without any of those messy justice or concequences things.

Instead of having a constructive response - about how we might better structure electoral law to give clear guidelines, and avoid any problems next time - it's all whine, whine, moan from the right.

Parties are like companies - much more than with individuals - you need incentives to get them to do anything. If you reward them for cheating they will cheat. That is the solution to make it clear that it is possible to prosecute. Most people didn’t think the law was full of holes they figured there was a spending cap and if rugby league can handle it (and dock points from those that breach it) the NZ government should be able to.

And finally let’s try to muddy the water

The right wants an unconstrained spending regime and no rules at all, so they can try and buy elections.

1) as opposed to the current situation where labour buys elections?
2) Labour seems to be arguing the system is broken – I suggest most NZders think it was ok it is just that politicians are assholes and cheated. We are not asking for no rules we instead want rules to be enforced.


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