Kate Chapman writes that an Electoral petition ‘could’ see Paula Bennett tossed out of parliament:
Labour is weighing up legal advice over a challenge in the Waitakere electorate, after it emerged National Cabinet minister Paula Bennett could be tossed out of Parliament if Labour won an electoral petition.
With the Waitakere result hanging on just nine votes, the Electoral Commission has confirmed there are no guarantees that any candidate who loses their seat as the result of an electoral petition would automatically be returned to Parliament off the party list.
But it acknowledges that the outcome is far from certain and the courts could take different views.
Yeah and John Key could have a heart attack…that is how much intellectual integrity such supposition is. Labour have never won and electoral petition, national has won more than a few and always increases their majority. The Labour candidate also usually cops a corrupt practice conviction, so Labour should go right ahead with their petition. There may well be a few surprises lurking for Labour if they take that route.
Labour insiders say a petition is unlikely as the numbers are unlikely to change. The cost is also prohibitive at as much as $50,000.
But Labour has not discounted it entirely and under one scenario raised in blogs yesterday, Ms Bennett would be out of Parliament entirely if Labour won a challenge, because the 2011 general election writ has already been returned.
A highly unlikely scenario that predicates labour actually winning an electoral petition, something that has never been done. As to the claim that it costs as much as $50,000 there is no supporting evidence of an amount that low. The Tauranga electoral petition cost over $200,000 and if a recall correctly the Wairarapa petition cost more than $150,000. I think the reporter is basing their $50,000 number on the costs that were awarded to Bob Clarkson at the end of the Tauranga petition. Costs awarded are never a good indication of the actual costs associated with a court case, much less so int he case of an electoral petition.
If Labour wants to burn a couple of hundy on an electoral petition they are unlikely to win then all power to them. They should be especially mindful of the likely need to pay for a couple of by-elections if the rumours regarding forced exits coming my way are correct.