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Finding the rotten apple

Written By: - Date published: 3:06 pm, October 8th, 2010 - 42 comments
Categories: auckland supercity - Tags: ,

The Auckland local government elections have been marked by unfortunate incidents. Alleged false voter registrations by a candidate linked to the Labour Party. Alleged illegal offers of money to voters involving five National Party members. And the dumping of voting papers bound for South Auckland. It’s a tribute to the strength of our democratic mechanisms that all of these were identified in good time, and that no harm to the outcome has resulted.

Labour candidate for the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Daljit Singh was one of two named in relation to the false registrations. This seems a pretty crude attempt at perverting an election and a stupid one that no sophisticated political player would ever think they could get away with.

Labour had no selection contest for Singh’s candidacy. 3 people applied to represent them for 4 positions on local board. So they just checked backgrounds and Singh looked good: he’s a pillar of the Sikh community, and although there were some doubts expressed about him nothing could be substantiated.  He’s not been lifelong Labour, he’s a relatively recent joiner – although I’m not sure exactly how long he’s been member. [Update: since May this year]

He’s a real estate agent, which no doubt gave him the opportunity (responsible for numerous homes), and a wheeler-dealer, used to doing what it takes to get the deal done.

Naturally, Labour is keen to cut themselves off from him to prevent wider damage. Indeed, Labour’s press release seems to be premised on Singh probably being guilty. Sources behind the scenes say the Counties-Manukau Police have found Labour worked well with them on the ground to get to the bottom of the issue and Labour has been completely cooperative.  Police have apparently described Labour’s help as exemplary and said there’s no suspicion of any Labour people involvement (beyond the candidate himself).

With hundreds and hundreds of candidates for local elections, and a selection process that is handled by the local branches, there’s always the risk of something like this going wrong. Labour has acted completely correctly in helping the Police in their investigations. In future, unfortunately, they’re going to have to be more rigorous in their selection processes.

lprent: added link that people were requesting about police comment on Labour.

42 comments on “Finding the rotten apple ”

  1. lprent 1

    It just pisses me off. Apart from anything else the Labour ‘brand’ should never be used for something as disorganized as local body campaigns.

    I’d guess that we have to follow due process and let it go through the courts. But if the charges are proved then I’d want this idiot out of Labour.

    In the meantime, whomever has been organizing the campaign down south also needs to be looked at very carefully. This type of election crap should have never happened because it means that the candidates and workers weren’t brought up to speed on what the electoral law and systems are. It means that the campaign there has been run even worse than the usual lousy standard for local body campaigns.

    • gingercrush 1.1

      Isn’t that unavoidable? I’d sooner do away with the whole Citizens & Ratepayers, City Vision, Independent Citizens, whatever other left/right groupings there are around New Zealand and just have proper offshoots of the Labour, Greens and National party. Where it stands currently you have numerous candidates with “quiet” support of the main parties and its just messy.

      I also think voters would respond better because they’d actually know what they’re voting for. Instead of going through a bunch of people who frankly unless you attend all the meetings etc you barely have a clue about.

      The problem is even bigger with the pathetic health board selections. I only knew two names for the Canterbury Health Board selections.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        The problem is (and always has been) that there are just too few people involved in politics and the terms are too short. Also the rules for local body politicians don’t allow party politics to be more than a flag of convenience for election time.

        Assuming that you aren’t in politics full-time (and I am not despite all evidence to the contrary – it is a minor part of my life) then being under continuous campaigning as a volunteer is just not feasible. Election campaigns for me typically start about now for the general election next year. This is when we start to plan the organisational needs that have to be in place. If I was involved in a campaign every 18 months then I’d have bugger all of a life left to do things like keep up on learning.

        You usually find that the organisational people working on local body elections are pretty distinct from those working on general election campaigns for that reason. As a volunteer organizer, you can’t afford to focus that much attention as a volunteer on a continuous level that is what would be required to work both on local body and general elections.

        The numbers of candidates required for local councils, the overlapping competitiveness between candidates in multi-candidate wards, and the cooperation with other groups tends to make the local body elections really frustrating to work with. They lack a clear focus.

        The complete lack of party based rules at a council level means that you can have a completely wasted effort. The number of waka-jumpers who get elected on one ticket and then support another ticket means that there are people I’m simply unwilling to do anything for.

      • millsy 1.1.2

        Probably one of the most intelligent comments on here from either side of the spectrum.

        If we did what other countries parties, ie Britain and the USA (yes, the Yanks do actually get a few things right) do, and have for example, National, Labour, Green, and even NZ First and ACT fielding candidates in local body elections, we would at least be able to know what they stand for and what policies they wish to vote for, and implement, and even have a policy statement covering all council candidates.

        And it would beat having to spoil ones ballot because the candidates all appear to be a bunch of slash and burn teabaggers.

    • toad 1.2

      Andrew Little has already said he’s goneburger as far as Labour is concerned if the charges are proven.

    • Swampy 1.3

      Questions of various sorts, including how TVNZ and TV3 were able to broadcast their footage that appears to breah the name suppression that was applied at the time

      e.g.
      http://tvnz.co.nz/local-elections-2010/court-appearances-over-alleged-voting-scam-3818752/video

  2. SHG 2

    Counties-Manukau Police have found Labour worked well with them on the ground to get to the bottom of the issue and Labour has been completely cooperative. Police have apparently described Labour’s help as exemplary and said there’s no suspicion of any Labour people involvement

    Eddie, can you give a link to this info?

    BTW the NZH is reporting his Labour membership as only since May this year.

    • lprent 2.1

      …. his Labour membership as only since May this year.

      That figures… I was wondering how anyone political could be so damn stupid.

    • grumpy 2.2

      Likewise SHG, have not heard any hint of this supposed police view anywhere else?

      • Bright Red 2.2.1

        don’t know about you. but I don’t come here just to read what I can elsewhere in the msm. I come because the writers have connections and hear things I don’t.

      • Pascal's bookie 2.2.2

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/4200734/Labour-cleared-of-scam-role

        Mr Little said Labour had been cooperating with police throughout, and they had given the party regular updates on the investigation.

        “They’re obviously satisfied that there is nothing that happened that was under the control of the party and the party is blameless in relation to it.”

        Labour had been told on Monday that the man had been charged with a representative charge of forgery, and further charges would follow in relation to electoral fraud.

        “Until we know the full suite of allegations and the detailed information behind it, then it’s pretty hard for us to move.”

        Labour did not do police checks on all its members and although it did some background checking on people who put themselves up as candidates for national politics, the party head office did not control processes at local body level.

        A police spokeswoman said the investigation was ongoing, and police were not ruling out further arrests, but “there’s nothing to indicate that the Labour party are complicit in this”

  3. Pat 3

    “In future, unfortunately, they’re going to have to be more rigorous in their selection processes.”

    Much safer to just let Goff select the candidates.

  4. Gina 4

    Start looking for NACT connections. He’s most likely a plant.

  5. ianmac 5

    Any chance of a conspiracy to involve a naive left candidate in a plot, leaving him with the blame, but little or no involvement? Know anyone who would use such dirty tactics?

    • Ask Phil Goff; it’s all a bit Neelam Choudhary-esque.

      Seriously guys and girls, does any of you have even the slightest skerrick of proof that it was a right-wing plot, or are you just trying to limit the fallout? The photo of Singh on the news tonight with PM Helen Clark suggests that he’s been hanging around Labour for quite some time.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Actually Inventory2, I have the impression they are being a little bit tongue in cheek.

    • Nick C 5.2

      Ianmac and Gina: Do you think you are looking at the question of facts objectivly in suggesting that this is likely to be a right wing plot? Or do you admit that your political beliefs are influencing you to believe or suggest that?

      Honest question.

  6. Big Bruv 6

    Good old Iprent, still trying to spin his way out of the latest example of Labour party corruption.

    As for the brand being damaged, hell, the Labour brand was damaged years ago, this is just another in the long line of corrupt Labour politicians.

    • lprent 6.1

      What spin? I seldom bother spinning anything. People get my opinions, unvarnished rough and usually needle like – often not liking what they hear. Being around the nets for 30 years gives quite a lot of experience about how and where to push the stiletto in and the way to twist it most effectively. I can remember you squirming on the other side and rapidly heading towards an apoplexy a few times when I’ve focused my opinions on you.

      Anyway, the name Worth and a few others comes to mind. It is the nature of political parties (and any other organisation) that you get a few bad ones periodically.

      • toad 6.1.1

        Yes, I seem to recall several rants from Big Bruv on this and other blogs in vehement support of Garrett.

      • Big Bruv 6.1.2

        Iprent

        Once again you are letting your over inflated ego get in the way of the truth.

        Nothing you have ever said has made me squirm, indeed, it is bloody near impossible to debate an issue with you as you ban anybody who does not agree with you or the official line of the Labour party.

        I realise you do take yourself far more seriously than anybody else does but there is no need to tell bare faced lies, that would be best left to the Labour party MP’s.

        Toad

        Damn right, I did defend Garrett because I believe in what he stands for, however in the end Garrett did the honourable thing in resigning even if his crime was committed 24 years ago.
        It is typical of you and your hypocritical stance on things political to attack Garrett for something he did in his past yet defend Comrade Locke for being a rabid supporter of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge all those years ago.

        • Pascal's bookie 6.1.2.1

          Bruv, he lied to a court about his record in order to get:

          i) discharged without conviction, and
          ii) name suppression,

          and went on to campaign against

          i)judicial discretion, and
          ii) name suppression

          None of that happened 24 years ago when he was just a slip of wee fully grown adult.

          • toad 6.1.2.1.1

            And now we await Garrett’s application to have his practicing certificate as a barrister and solicitor reinstated.

            A man who lied to the Court – not 24 years ago, but just 5. This will be interesting – a good test of the neo-con influence on the legal profession.

            As far as I am concerned, there is no way Garrett should be allowed to practise law for at least 10 years. Time to think is what he needs!

        • lprent 6.1.2.2

          But I never follow the ‘official line of the Labour party’ – there isn’t one. There are lots of opinions that you don’t agree with, but which seldom agree with each other. I guess you lack the ability to distinguish between viewpoints that you disagree with..

          But you’re a bit of an authoritarian nutter who needs guidance.. You remind me of official atheists, so determined to argue against a god that they have to argue that on their opponents mythologies. You’re a bit of a conformist, who requires an institution to rebel against. I guess it is easier than using your brains….

  7. richgraham 7

    “That figures… I was wondering how anyone political could be so damn stupid.”.
    It’s not stupid at all, it is common practise in his native culture. So why be upset when he does it in NZ, isn’t this multiculturalism in practise ?

  8. Anne 8

    Back in the late 1970s Labour made a policy decision not to stand tickets in local body elections. It was a sound decision for several reasons – not the least to avoid embarrassment when a candidate got out of line. So what happened? Did the decision get reversed, or don’t some campaign organisers bother to check these things out anymore?

  9. Gina 9

    Nick

    Based on what I’ve seen happen in the US which I see creeping in here I think it’s a possibility. Can you tell me why the other offender still has name suppression. Can you tell me who the postie was in south Auckland who turfed the ballots in the bin. Without any evidence the media have pronounced him a Lazy postie and we all know it may have been a politically motivated crime but no investigation. This man doesnt even have name supression but the papers will not identify him.
    Can you tell me why an ex National Party MP charged with marital rape got name supression

    The government is constantly spinning Kiwis and our media doesn’t ask questions.

    Can you tell me why our news media report nothing happening in the US. I’ll tell you. Its because their advertisers are big business and they are after big paying media jobs in the privately owned NZ PNR etc. Our media and our National party and Mr Key are agents for the wealthy elite and the World Bank. Just look at National’s major commitment to Public Private Partnerships and then google “Public Private Partnerships World Bank”. They have a full portal devoted to PPP’s. Yes a private corporation of the wealthy elite is dictating NZ Natiuonal Party policy and Kiwis don’t know that.
    I know Labour give limited support to this policy but not near the extent of the National Party. Can you tell me why none of our news media will report to New Zealanders that the World bank are writing National Party policy. The New Zealand news media know all this stuff is absolute fact and is easily verified by going to the world bank website but none of our corporate news outlets think Kiwis need to know who is writing government policy. Why why why. I am suspiscious of everything happening here and around the world and for very good reason.

    • Swampy 9.1

      Yawn. Can you tell me why our state owned TV channel broadcast a picture of the defendant whose name was suppressed at the time but is now not. Still on TVNZ’s website.

      http://tvnz.co.nz/local-elections-2010/court-appearances-over-alleged-voting-scam-3818752/video

      It seems rather similar to broadcasting Garrett’s conviction that was suppressed by a name suppression he later agreed to remove.

      • lprent 9.1.1

        Along with displaying just about every other candidate in the election. They didn’t state that Singh was the person. You’d have to have known from other sources first.

        But I’d agree that they are risking the wrath of a judge.. It was way too close to the line.

        • Swampy 9.1.1.1

          They didn’t state Singh was the person but they broadcast his picture exclusively in the background of an interview for some seconds which is a clear inference, clear enough for a lot of people to get the drift. Whilst they did broadcast a number of shots of billboard pictures this was the only one that had a reporter standing next to it being interviewed on live camera. There was absolutely no other reason to have had that picture appearing as a background to a live interview.

        • Swampy 9.1.1.2

          Farrar has now filed a written complaint with the police alleging breach of suppression

          http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/10/a_reluctant_complaint.html

          • lprent 9.1.1.2.1

            It is unlikely to go far. It is the courts and the suppressees prerogative to make complaints about the breach of suppression orders. The most that Farrar can do is to try to bring it to the courts attention. He is just doing it for publicity

  10. Drakula 10

    I think all this 20/20/ and ‘Citizens’ or whatever are just shaby facades of what the main national level parties want to push in the local sphere of politics.

    Quite frankly I think it’s devious; if 20/20 or citizens are independent local entities then great! If labour, National or Green want to put up a local candidate, great! as long as they are up front about it.

    For example a voter may want to see a Green initiative being acted on by a Green councillor; but if that council candidate don’t show his/her colours then; how is the voter to know which way to vote?

    There also needs to be a little book ‘Codes of Ethics’ distributed to all candidates including those who could be ethnically ignorant. It could save an awfull lot of embarrassment

  11. jaymam 11

    Those people with great big black beards just don’t look like New Zealanders like you and me! 🙂

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