I think (non-empirical statement coming up: if I was a political columnist I’d write ‘some say’ or ‘most New Zealanders think’) that if you asked the public why Labour is unpopular then part of the answer would involve a perception of Labour as an unethical, sleazy party (built up by years of scandals like the repeated funding/election spending rorts, Chris Carter, Shane Jones, Phillip-Field, support for Winston Peters, etc). But I also think that if you suggested to Labour MPs or supporters that their party was sleazy or unethical they would be genuinely shocked, because they see themselves as ‘the good guys’ – and they’d attempt to litigate each of the examples I made above (‘it’s the mainstream media’s fault for reporting it! And what about Double Dipton Bill English?’) With the counter-intuitive result that they continue to behave unethically – damaging the integrity of the Labour Party brand and further alienating voters – while still considering themselves highly ethical, and refusing to even acknowledge any of the damage these scandals have caused them. (Because they didn’t really happen, because Labour is so ethical.)
I have already pointed out why the crippled campaign manager couldn’t front claiming ignorance of the law, he had already been pinged previously. However it was an interesting decision for Labour to front Charles Chauvel at their weekend media conference pleading ignorance to Labour’s latest breaches of electoral law.
We know this is a crock, after its repeated warnings and breaches in the 2008 campaign.
But Chauvel’s appearance was hugely amusing – because on the face of it – this survey from him is also a breach of the rules and needs to be recalled (just as Labour has done with its other illegal propaganda). It does not contain a promoter statement and it is quite clearly worded to encourage people to vote for a particular party.
Helen Clark once said there is nothing wrong with push polling. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Looks like another complaint to the Electoral Commission is in order.
Labour must learn and learn once and for all that there is one law for all and that means them too. If they are not prosecuted for each and every offence then we really have become Animal Farm.