Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalOP-ED: Enforce Electoral Laws – Let’s Do This!

OP-ED: Enforce Electoral Laws – Let’s Do This!



The following is an op-ed (498 words) written
by Taxpayers’ Union Analyst Neil
Miller.

Faced with a steadily growing
number of electoral finance investigations by the Serious
Fraud Office, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stared kindly
into the camera and
intoned
, “we should be looking at the way our regime
works. Clearly, it’s not currently, so let’s do something
about that.”

The Taxpayers’ Union could not agree
more that we should “do something about that.” However,
the “something” is not to change the rules again or
argue they are unclear (which they are not). The real
“something” is to actually enforce the law. These
prosecutions are proof that the regime is finally starting
to work.

It is a terrible look for the Prime Minister
to suggest that the electoral finance law needs to be
changed so soon after her party has
been charged
. National was charged – the law was fine.
New Zealand First was charged – the law was fine. Labour
is charged and their ally the Māori Party is under
investigation – the law is not working and needs to be
changed. That is Banana Republic behaviour.

Of course,
all parties are presumed innocent until found guilty of
course, and all have pleaded innocence in relation to the
charges.

Prime Minister, the problem is not the regime
or the system – it is how politicians try to constantly
push the boundaries of the system. They do it because it
often works, there are rarely any consequences of note, and,
if there are, they come long after the election affected by
the activity in question. By the time any judgment is made
most voters, if they were even aware of it, will have
forgotten about the issue.

National and Labour are
well established parties with teams constantly working on
the minutiae of election finances. There are no excuses. The
Māori Party is alleged to have missed deadlines for
declarations which seems to be a cut and dried issue. Either
they did, or they did not. There is no room for
interpretation.

There is no hope of taxpayers ever
seeing a cent paid back from New Zealand First – sorry,
the completely separate New Zealand First Foundation – now
that the organisation is essentially moribund. If Winston
Peters wants to come back, he will likely disband New
Zealand First (and its debts), then create the First New
Zealand Party with Rt Hon Winston Peters as the
leader.

Advance New Zealand’s Billy TK can plausibly
plead ignorance – there is plenty of evidence of that in
his public comments. His co-leader, Jami-Lee Ross, much less
so. In fact, what Labour is being charged with (hiding the
identity of donors and the size of the donations) is –
allegedly – known in Wellington as “the JLR
shuffle”.

We do need to do something and that is to
support the Serious Fraud Office finally enforcing the
existing laws. Parliament has not done it, the Police have
shown no interest in doing it, and the Electoral Commission
cannot enforce them.

All power to the Serious Fraud
Office.

© Scoop Media

 



Source link

- Advertisment -
Times of Georgia Times of Georgia Times of Georgia

Most Popular