Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A failure of political competence

Back in July, Labour were referred to the police for distributing election advertisements without the required promoter statement. And now they've done it again - twice:

On 15 August 2011, the Electoral Commission referred the following matters to Police:
  • Charles Chauvel MP, Ohariu Census,
  • ACT Party newspaper advertisements in Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald
  • Labour Party ‘Prices are Rising Faster than Wages’ flyer.
It is the Electoral Commission’s view that the publication of each of these items constitutes a breach of sections 204F and 204H of the Electoral Act 1993 because the items are election advertisements that do not contain a valid promoter statement and were not authorised in writing by the party secretary.
This isn't rocket science. The requirement for a promoter statement has been a core part of our electoral law since 1977, and something every party should be complying with out of habit. Failing to do so is a basic failure of political competence. After all, if you can't publish a fucking ad properly, how do you expect us to believe you can run the country?

Sadly, I don't think Labour will acknowledge that failure and commit to fixing it. Based on their past performance, we'll be treated to more arrogant whining instead.

Labour and ACT deserve to be taken to the cleaners over this. There's no excuse for violating this law, and the integrity of our democracy depends on its enforcement. But the police's past performance on electoral crime doesn't give much reason for confidence either.