The Labour Party says it has been cleared by police of any involvement in an alleged electoral enrolment scam.
Two people have been arrested after a police investigation into enrolment irregularities in the Auckland super-city election. They appeared in court yesterday.
Name suppression was granted to one of them till after the election, meaning voters will remain in the dark as the final votes are cast. The other has name suppression till Friday.
The men aged 36 and 39, both of Papatoetoe, are charged with forgery and further charges are likely.
Pretty much anyone who wants to know who the alleged election fraudsters are can find out, such is the reach of the internet. But we find it interesting that for a second time, Andrew Little has felt the need to front-foot on Labour's behalf. He put out a media release around 10 days ago saying that the Labour Party would take strong action against any member accused of electoral irregularities. Now he has effectively conceded that one of the arrested men is a Labour Party candidate in the ongoing local body elections - read on:
Labour Party president Andrew Little confirmed police had told the party "at least one" of the accused had connections with Labour but said it appeared to be a case of one rogue candidate.
"Once we're satisfied that they have acted in an irregular, unlawful or improper way, then we'll move to deal with their membership pretty swiftly.
"If we have reliable information that shows they've acted improperly, we can act before a conviction is concluded. We don't have to have a `beyond reasonable doubt'."
Mr Little said Labour had been co-operating with police throughout, and they had given the party regular updates on the investigation.
"They're obviously satisfied that there is nothing that happened that was under the control of the party and the party is blameless in relation to it."
Little may be able to claim that Labour as an entity is blameless. Nonetheless, he must be hugely embarrassed that Labour's brand and image have been tarnished, if only by association. We wonder if this experience will prompt a rethink by the Labour Party on whether or not it is a good thing to run tickets of candidates in local body elections.
And we can't leave this post without a passing comment on a rich irony which we've just spotted in the wake of the court appearance yesterday. When the accused men stood in the dock, looking down on them was a District Court judge; Judge Heather Simpson. Is that spooky, or is that spooky??!!