No Right Turn writes on what should happen with David Cunliffe screwing up on election day. Sensible advice and commentary on what looks like a typical example of some of the innumerable silly mistakes and accidents that happen during election campaigns. The reaction of some on the right has been pretty damn hilarious when they compare what looks like deliberate concealment of electoral finance with a silly tweeting mistake.
David Cunliffe’s election-day tweet has been referred to police. Good. Its a clear (though minor) breach of the law, and the Electoral Commission has to uphold the rules. Unfortunately, judging by their past performance, the police won’t – they have no interest in electoral crimes, and even less in prosecuting politicians who could one day decide their budget and powers. So naturally, Graham McCready is stepping up and offering to bring a private prosecution.
I have two comments on this. Firstly, that its a sad state of affairs that this is necessary. We ought to be able to have faith that our police will protect the integrity of our electoral system, but we can’t. And that suggests that the police are in serious need of reform, and that we should shift prosecution power for electoral offences to a body which can be trusted, such as the Electoral Commission. Secondly, if McCready brings a case, Cunliffe should plead guilty. He’s already admitted posting the statement, and its intent to influence voters is clear. The offence carries a fine of up to $20,000, but its hard to see the maximum being enforced for a minor breach which was immediately corrected, reported and admitted. And it is not severe enough to require resignation from Parliament. Political honesty and the integrity of our electoral system would be served by Cunliffe admitting it, paying the fine, and moving on.