How to buy an election with Taxpayer funds

Labour are desperate to win in Mt Albert and the TV One poll hs thrown them. They are now faced with an uphill battle to motivate the troops this week after a poll that suggested that they didn’t have to do any more to win. That leaves the prospect of a lower turnout than expected because some supporters may well not bother because they think that David Shearer will win hands down. If that coincides with appalling weather and Green voters switching back to Greens because they think Shearer is safe then it could be all on for the weekend.

Meanwhile Labour’s spending continues unabated. Not only have they promised over $3 billion of taxpayers money for a tunnel that they can’t afford nor deliver, they have also spent up large on the campaign directly.

I have taken the liberty of estimating conservatively how much has been spent by Labour of their own money but more importantly how much of taxpayers money they have spent to ensure victory in Mt Albert.

Item Cost Paid By
Collateral (7 items)  $21,000 Labour Party
Staff $35,000 Labour Party
MP travel  $50,000 Parliamentary Services
Staff  $10,000 Manukau City
Polling  $55,000  Labour Party
Focus Groups $20,000 Labour Party
Vehicle use  $6,000 EPMU
Offices  $5,000 Labour Party
Hoardings  $8,000  Labour Party
Total $210,000  

As you can see this is quite some amount and far in excess of the $50,000 allowed under the law. The interesting amounts are the costs paid for by the Manukau City Council (more on this later), EPMU and Parliamentary Services.

Labour has literally thrown their caucus at this campaign.  Even Russell Brown has inadvertantly shopped out of town Labour MP’s canvassing the electorate.

They knocked on doors too. The weekend before last, I came out my front door to find Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Maryan Street visiting every house in my street. That’s old-fashioned campaigning of the kind that is possible in an electorate race, where you actually stand a chance of making direct contact with a significant proportion of voters

It is very difficult to see quite what was so important for an MP from Wellington Central and a List MP from Nelson had yo do in Mt Albert that they also had time to go door knocking. 

Not only that we know for sure that Darren Hughes from Otaki, Trevor Mallard from Wainuiomata and Taupo, Annette King from Wellington, Parekura Horomia from Gisborneand other out of town Labour MP’s have traipsed the streets in support of David Shearer the candidate from Amman, Jordan.

Even most of the Young Labour tossers who were campaigning on Sunday outside the National Party function were from Wellington.

Labour quite simply is spending huge amounts to ensure they win. David Shearer had better come in more than 5000 in front of Melissa Lee or else it may well be seen as a moral loss let alone a financial loss. I wonder if they will fight as hard for Horomia’s seat when he chucks it in shortly.

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