Monday, October 09, 2006

Political decadence… 2.

I wrote under this title back here, mainly to do with the Taito Phillip Field raruraru. Election funding was mentioned in passing,

I concluded -
This will be the last term of this Labour government. There is now quiet debate on their ability to see out the full term. There are deep political stirrings with the minor coalition partners already seeking to create brand difference to limit the fallout damage should the worst happen to Labour.

This will be the last Labour government until the Nats start getting too big for their boots, too arrogant to listen, too close to the margins that we the voters will accept; then perhaps we will welcome back the new blood.

I followed that up by stealing the summary that Herald put out – and an excellent review it is too.

Now we are rapidly reaching the meeting of rock and hard place. It was due for tomorrow, but the news this morning was reporting that Madam Speaker had deferred that prospect until Thursday.

Sunday’s papers were generally pushing the line that –

• Brady will “water down” his report.
• Madame Speaker will announce her intention to “ensure better controls in future”.

The logical inference being that there will eventually be payment of some of the “overdraws”, validating legislation all round, and some frantic sweeping in the corner of the room where the carpet doesn’t quite fit behind Auntie's desk. That latter process would hide behind the skirts of legislative changes – skirts made from flour sacks by first-year homecraft class girls – intended to introduce “government funding of party election expenditure”.

I don’t think that is quite right.

I think it would be a travesty if that happens.

It would be a further and total betrayal of the office of C and AG.

It would be a total betrayal of the legislative process.

It would do nothing more than confirm that, for the past six years and more the party that has been the centre of this government ( a generally fairly successful government) has in fact acted in a manner that can be described (at least and at best) as dishonest.

No, I think it time to call it in. This has gone way past the point of minor political point scoring.

Auntie Helen should have quietly acceded to Brady's initial opinion. She should have accepted with grace that she and her party hierarchy have stuffed up big time. This is now a monumental cock-up that has already broken the back of the Labour Government's credibility.

Helen, we are not all that stupid.

It is more likely that Brady will in fact be giving Auntie Helen both barrels, salt pellet laden, close range. At the very least he will require all parties to repay the “overdrawn” amounts to Parliamentary Services.

Auntie Helen has publicly impugned Brady, and his office, with her statements that "he is wrong". Brady, for the sake of his office if not his career, can not allow that to happen. By his actions thus far and his intention to report to Parliament as Controller show that he has his teeth into a very good proportion of someone's derriere.

Madame Speaker will make her predicted announcement.

The fallout will be (should be, MUST be) that this is going to precipitate a Constitutional crisis of some severity. If Auntie Helen does not toe Brady’s line, does not agree to repay the somewhere around $500,000 “overspend”, does not recant on most of what she has recently said on the matter outside of Parliament, then IMO she will be breakfast toast – not even there to be gone by lunchtime.

For a start, there is the possibility that Auntie Helen will find her party haemorraghing support.

That will be led by a catastrophic fall in her personal credibility (already starting to sink slowly in the west).

She will be an increasing liability to the Government for as long as she tries to maintain the charade of “the rules were changed”, and “approved by Parliamentary Services”.

How far will that go? Will it be sufficiently serious for the minor parties to withdraw confidence and supply? That is becoming a distinct possibility. Certainly those parties can not be seen to abdicate their own positions by agreeing to support “validating legislation”. It would paint them with the same tarbrush that Auntie Helen is trying to persuade us all is in fact whitewash.

And as soon as confidence and supply goes, so too does Auntie Helen.


No, Friday 13th…

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