Overspending by Labour—viz. the use of taxpayers’ money to fund its last General Election campaign—has been revealed, and the party has to pay back some NZ$800,000 after the Auditor-General’s report found it to be guilty.
If this was the United States, we would hear comments about the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, having ‘bought the election’. This would be equalled by comments that she had saved us from Dr Don Brash talking out of his ass from another side of the House. If his ass looked like Halle Berry’s, I wouldn’t mind, but it doesn’t.
But Labour had denied overspending for months, and had to endure cries of ‘Corruption’ by the usually reserved and reasonably incomprehensible Leader of the Opposition. It goes quite against the PM’s reputation for being a straight-shooter—something she picked up during her netballing days—with her stonewalling journalists when confronted with the issue.
This is a pretty serious misreading of the New Zealand public by Clark, who has typically had her ﬁnger on the pulse. Her gaffes during the third term have included various defences of the Foreign Minister-outside-Cabinet (who has so far refused to pay back his party’s overspent amount to the public), the whole New Zealand-made débâcle (my viewpoint, published in Apparel, Scoop and on this blog, won the day) and now, having to face up to the report. Not a good year for someone who has been a very good reader of the way the country was thinking and who was, and perhaps still is, her party and her government’s best spokesman.
Proven wrong, Labour has had to back-pedal, doing harm to its brand and lending weight to Opposition accusations. The straight-shooting demeanour of the Prime Minister has taken a hit, though it is one from which she is likely to recover. We now have seen just how Scroogey it can be with funds it purposed from the public—and the Finance Minister’s denial of tax cuts despite a surplus was not well timed.
Therefore, her opponents are now better armed, and the public may have to think twice before swallowing another press conference, especially now that Labour, and the noticeably increasing waistlines and faces of the PM and her Cabinet—not to mention those of the Foreign Minister-outside-Cabinet—are beginning to show. Posted by Jack Yan, 02:32
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