National and Corruption (oh and a new leader)
John Key is now the leader of National, fancy new front, same old shop. Funny word corruption isn’t it? National have used it against Labour all year with the election over spending fiasco, and the media have chanted along, despite the fact that every political party except one overspent.
So that was corruption was it?
What do National supports and their right wing mates in the media call the knowing who the doners in anonymous trusts are or false statements made to statutory officials or lying about when they were aware of secret funding campaigns by religious fanatics while having a plan of denial if that information was ever to see the light of day or the fact that a small bunch of rich right wing ideologues with links to America were creating secret agendas for Don Brash or the out right lies and deceit used to hide this secret right wing agenda?
I suppose none of that is corruption, the response you get from our friends on the right is ‘Big deal, Politicians lie, get over it’ – I’m sorry, the dirty machinations of inner National Party workings is unearthed and the best you have is ‘Big deal, Politicians lie’. I think that line of defense is as intellectually shallow as Don Brash and as disingenuous as John Key’s ‘I didn’t inhale that e-mail’ excuse.
But it does seem, even if it’s not being done so publicly, that National MPs themselves are deeply ashamed of their leaders behaviour. Shane Ardern came out yesterday saying that lessons from the arrogance of the hard right were ones that National would have to come to terms with, which is the least he could say really.
National have to convince us that they know they did wrong and that this is not the way we expect our politicians to behave and the media have a responsibility to start asking those hard questions.
"The secret of success is sincerity and conviction. Once you can fake that you have got it made."
National party strategist Peter Keenan.
The Hollow Men
Time Brash came clean, say Greens
The Green Party has laid complaints with the Electoral Commission and police as National's opponents line up to point out alleged breaches of the Electoral Act revealed in the book The Hollow Men.
Greens co-leader Russel Norman said Nicky Hager's book presented "considerable evidence" that National's leadership was aware of the identity of major donors, but had not declared their names in their annual returns to the Electoral Commission.
Under electoral law parties must make an annual return.
Most of National's funding is channelled through five trusts - operated by law firms - meaning only the identity of the trust rather than individual donors are revealed.
But Hager's book reveals correspondence indicating the identity of many of the large donors was well known by former leader Don Brash, his advisers, and party president Judy Kirk.
Dr Norman said if that was the case then National was guilty of an "illegal or corrupt practice" under the Electoral Act.
"For a party which has made such hay over the alleged corrupt practices of others it is time for National to acknowledge its own transgressions."
He said it was unlikely police could prosecute National over any breach given legal provisions that a prosecution must begin within six months of the annual return being received.
It is seven months since National filed its 2005 return.
However, he said the police and the Electoral Commission needed to get to the bottom of the matter.
Labour Party president Mike Williams said the book revealed what appeared to be numerous breaches of the Electoral Act.
"I found about nine in the first half of the book," he said.
Labour would release its analysis once it had received a "proper legal opinion".
Mr Williams said the most serious issues appeared to be false statements that were made to statutory officials.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said Labour would ask Auditor-General Kevin Brady to look into claims people hired specifically for National's election campaign were paid from parliamentary funds.
Prime Minister Helen Clark said Hager's book showed "breathtaking cynicism" within the National Party and Labour was considering legal action.
However, Dr Brash and National's former deputy Gerry Brownlee have attacked Hager's credibility, saying his portrayal of events was piecemeal and inaccurate.
New National leader John Key also said he could not reconcile Mr Hager's portrayal of events with documents held by his electorate office.
He had received one email from the Brethren in August on health policy, which he did not open because a church member had already told him of its contents.
His office had no record of a May 24 email or letter, as claimed by Hager.
Dr Brash said he never saw the May 24 email, which he assumed was sent to an indirect email address and was forwarded by a staff member to National's campaign manager Steven Joyce.
But Hager said: "I have the email where Don Brash forwarded it to Steven Joyce.
"There is no question about Don Brash having it. And he discussed it with his staff. There is no wriggle room."