Before the last parliamentary election, a number of parties engaged in election spending that was later deemed by the auditor general to be unlawful – see my last entry on politics. By far the worst offender was the Labour Party, the party that won a very close election.
Now Labour and it’s allied parties have had a brilliant idea, an idea that has caused Parliament to go into “urgency” tonight so that a new piece of law can rushed through. A law that retroactively changes the rules on election spending, so that their actions were not against the law at all! Check it out here. Or here. Or better yet, here. The following parties are supporting the move: Labour (duh), United Future, New Zealand First and the Progressives.
This is surely as low as it gets in politics. They broke the law. They were told in no uncertain terms that they had broken the law. Here’s what retroactive legislation does: It propagates the falsehood that because of a law made now, they didn’t break the law back then. There is no worse form of corruption that a government may engage in anywhere. What’s worse is that Labour actually has the support from other parties to do this.
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I almost can’t believe there’s not more to it, Glenn. It seems to me there’s just no way that this can withstand a legal challenge – you’re *always* held responsible for what the law was *when you did it*. To retroactively change the law is *literally*, I mean *literally*, unlawful, as far as I am aware.
(For example, this is sorta similar: I’m in the military, and because of that, there are certain things I’m not allowed to do that a civilian is allowed to do. If I break one of these rules, and nobody finds out, and I leave the military, and am thus no longer bound by that rule, I can still still be charged for breaking a rule that I *was* bound by at the time, even if I’m not bound by it anymore.)
Is there a voter backlash at all? I mean, this is as obvious as it gets, it seems to me.
Believe it, there isn’t more to it.
The example you gave isn’t the same as retroactive law. A retroactive law says that an act that ws illegal when it was carried out is now deemed legal WHEN IT WAS CARRIED OUT, which is precisely why it’s so corrupt. It’s not literally unlawful, it’s just despicable. Chec out those links. I know it’s hard to believe, but this is literally what has taken place. And by the way, I wrote the blog entry before the law was made. Well, that night, the Government had the majority of Parliament on their side (which is just sick), and the law was passed.
It’s too early to tell if there’s a backlash. New Zealanders are apathetic. They tolerate so much that is corrupt and unjust that it’s downright terrifying. Most of them don’t bat an eyelid when a Government minister attempts to overturn the decision of a court. Most of them don’t even know, much less care, that students don’t have freedom of association (in spite of it being part of our Bill of Rights), since they have to belong to a student union. The only thing they are likely to protest over is if the pet issue that they believe in doesn’t get anough Government funding. generalisations, yes, but generally true.
There is one glimmer of hope, namely that there is a petition to the Governor general (who has to sign the new law to bring it into effect), asking him not to sign off on this one. It’s here, but you have to be a New Zealand voter to sign it.
Well… and I thought *we* had problems… I’ll read up on it a bit more. I’m still *shocked* that retroactively changing a law is even legal.
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