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Louis Pierard says it best

  • December 19th, 2007

It is hard to imagine a more eloquent editorial than the following from Hawkes Bay Today:

Cabinet Minister Trevor Mallard had a day from hell yesterday. He was convicted of fighting in a public place and then forced to make a humiliating apology to a public servant he had accused under Parliamentary privilege of incompetence.

Also yesterday, Mr Mallard, along with his 62 colleagues, voted to turn the Electoral Finance Bill into law.

It is ironic, but not surprising, that Mr Mallard should be judged more harshly for a bit of old-fashioned thuggery than for his enthusiasm for the bill, whose success made the day far blacker.

Many readers, listeners and viewers must have found the interminable debate throughout the bill’s stages tiresome, its detail arcane and its effects remote.

The Electoral Finance bill has been a bit like the risk of an early death for the committed smoker: It happens only to other people.But it is no less a self-deception because no one can be immune to the new law’s effects. Even if we are happy to pay for Labour’s Christmas present to itself, which means taxpayers will keep it and its supporters in power; even if we are prepared to believe a weird religious group is more of a threat to democracy than hypocrites who legislate for personal gain, some must gag, surely (and literally) on the law’s intention to make it much harder to oppose the Government by regulating political debate. It’s a victory for shroud-waving, paranoia, envy and deceit. It gives power to the parties and to hell with the people. It says that if you can’t win by fair means, then make the foul lawful.

It has all been a telling illustration of how immune politicians can become to adverse public opinion that they can treat those to whom they should be answerable with such arrogance.

Having none themselves, they fail to recognise principles in others and scorn any who raise a voice in dissent as being driven by greed and self interest. By their definition it is not possible to defend democracy or to be capable of moral rectitude without agreeing implicitly with their own political ambitions.

Lest we forget? The Government and its fellow travellers are banking on it.

They deserve nothing more than to be proven wrong next year by voters keen to repay their contempt in spades.”

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