Matt McCarten : Labour in an extraordinarily bad position for election year

Matt McCarten : Labour in an extraordinarily bad position for election yearLabour had a terrible finish to last year. Any hope for respite in 2008 was smashed within minutes of the New Year. Just after midnight, some wannabe drove up on a scooter to Helen Clark's electoral office and threw a brick at the… [NZ Politics]

Matt McCarten, perhaps one of the sharpest political minds in NZ politics explores why Labour is up the proverbial creek without a paddle over their insistance to ram through the Electoral Finance Act.?

[quote] It's clear the controversy over this legislation isn't going away as the Government hoped. Labour's party strategists would sense this is a warning of more headaches to come.

For example, in the past few days a website was set up opposing the re-election of the Labour Party. The website creator refuses to register himself as required by the new act.

The ensuing media attention has resulted in this website's domain name being extensively published and will make the website more successful than the creator could have hoped.[/quote]

Yep, Andy is pretty bloody happy. Further he has even more mayhem planned for the government and its poodle parties to swallow down.

For Labour, you know you are in deep, deep trouble when your erstwhile (note Matt the correct usage of the word) allies are against you and are clear about why.

[quote]Stupidly Labour and its allies voted in Parliament to include rules allowing imprisonment for this breach. You'd think the last thing the Government would want is the courts imposing this. Shadbolt would relish the opportunity to become a political prisoner in election year.

I agree with former Labour leader Mike Moore, when he says the new laws are badly constructed and target the wrong problems. It is clear the print media is going to run a year-long campaign opposing this legislation and will highlight breaches. I can't think of another time the national media was so united in a political campaign. It's extraordinary that Labour has put itself in this position.

A political colleague of mine told me on the eve of the bill's passing that if Labour had any hope of retaining the Treasury benches, it must pull it.

I responded that the political price was too high to back down and they would believe their only option was to bluff it out and hope that the electorate would forget about it. But Labour has underestimated the fact that the opposition isn't just its traditional political opponents but, more importantly, the media is.[/quote]

Matt goes on to suggest that if the civil disobedience grows and the police refuse to prosecute then Labour will have to face the ignominy of repealing the Act. Worse for them if that wasn't bad enough is that they have guaranteed that this will be an issue right through until the election and everything else they say will be drowned out by civil disobedience and polticial activision by every news media outlet bar none.?