John Armstrong: English strategy a win-win

John Armstrong: English strategy a win-winWake up to what Labour is doing with its shabby, self-serving Electoral Finance Bill. Or let it be on your conscience that you stood back and watched your right to free speech being flushed down the drain. While not being quite… [NZ Politics]

John Armstrong discusses Bill English's strategy for dealing with the Electoral Finance Bill and also Labour's millstone around its neck to force this through the parliament.

[quote]English points out that it would be no skin off National's nose to let the bill go through largely unaltered. After all, National has a very good chance of winning next year's election.

The bill bestows huge advantage on the incumbent governing party. National would stand to gain in 2011 – and without copping the criticism Labour will get for initiating the blatant feathering of its own nest in 2008.

English says standing back is not an option. The legislation is so draconian, so pernicious, so unsatisfactory and so unworkable, National is morally obliged to fight it, even though the bill's failure to ban anonymous donations is very much to National's advantage.

However, by even hinting National stands to gain from the bill's passage, English is placing those on the left in a quandary. They either fight Labour's legislation, or they accept the bill's limit on election-related advertising will still be law when National is in power – the very time they might need to pull out the stops.[/quote]

Labour's allies like the unions, NZ First and the Greens face a serious backlash from their supporters all of whom are either significant election lobbyists in their own right or single issue lobbyists that will now be silenced by this most draconian of bills.