The Labour Party will take action if any of its members were found to have been involved in a possible Auckland Super City voting scam involving the Papatoetoe ward, party president Andrew Little says.
Given that the offices of a Labour Party candidate have been searched by the police, and a laptop belonging to a Labour Party candidate has been seized, we wonder if this is a tacit admission from Little that members of the Labour Party have been involved in electoral fraud. We also wonder if Little has gone into damage-limitation mode.
Let's be frank here. This is electoral fraud, the like of which has not been seen in New Zealand before. This is a brazen attempt to influence the democratic process by vote-stacking. Although this has taken place in one particular ward in South Auckland, it has major implications for the integrity of our electoral system.
That's why we find Little's statement last night so interesting. It's almost as though he is admitting that Labour Party members, and candidates contesting local body seats under Labour Party colours have perpetrated this fraud. That in itself is extraordinary; that members and representatives of New Zealand's second-largest political party may be guilty of vote-rigging has huge implications for Labour's reputation.
We are sceptical however of Little's promises to deal with any miscreants internally. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if any members of the Labour Party are proven to be corrupt, they must be dealt with publicly. Even today, no-one from Labour has publicly condemned the corrupt Phillip Field. Until his arrest, trial, conviction and sentence he was guilty of nothing more than working hard, and trying to be helpful. Labour has "acknowledged" his conviction (whatever that means), but never criticised Field. And let's not forget; the only crime Phillip Field committed that was worthy of expulsion from Labour was to raise the possibility of standing for another party. Can Labour be trusted to act against any cheats found to be in their midst?
We will await the outcome of the police investigation with interest. We will say this however; if anyone arrested and charged over this electoral fraud is an immigrant, they should be deported once they have served any sentence imposed by the Courts. New Zealand does not need nor want corruption of this nature.