Sunday, September 24, 2006

Matters Of Opinion

- "Should Labour pay back the money it spent on pledge cards before the election?"

Unequivocally, yes. There exists no mandate to continue stonewalling, but even if there was, the electorate has spoken. If Labour continues to attempt to brazen this out, they risk playing to the right-wing caricature of blind power-hunger.

-"Should Don Brash step down as National Leader following allegations of impropriety?"

On principle, no. His private life is his own, and he is free to gad about as much as his wife lets him get away with as far as I care. I don't see that he has realistically compromised anything that he said during the election campaign in terms of fidelity, however his assault on Helen Clark's conception of marriage now seems dreadfully unfortunate. Even given the massive upswing in the latest (right-leaning) poll, it strikes me that the near future has more misery in store for Don...

-"Are National justified in using the term 'corrupt' in relation to the Labour government?"

No. Corruption. Misuse of governmental powers for illegitemate purposes, in a nutshell. I take a fairly nuanced view, given that Labour set out to do the same thing it had done in previous elections with the pledge card - and in previous elections this had been perfectly acceptable. Labour argues that they were unaware of the changes, which is negligent to say the least, but to prove a case for corruption - that Labour deliberately misused money it knew it wasn't entitled to, for the purposes of 'personal hain' (in this case perpetuating their incumbency) is almost impossible. Added to this Brash's ridiculous assertion that this government is the 'most corrupt NZ government in history,' and one begins to understand how parliamentary conduct slipped so low.

-"Should National sever ties with the Exclusive Brethren?"

Yes. The Brethren's veil of secrecy has been lifted and it is now patently clear that they will attempt to discredit the government in whatever way they deem necessary. On the one hand Brash loudly decries 'mudslinging' and personal attacks; on the other, he refuses to dissociate himself from a group that is engaging in the assemblage of a comprehensive 'dirt-file'.

-"Do Labour have the right to rescind labour law exemptions currently extended to the Exclusive Brethren?"

In my understanding, yes. It seems the exemptions are predicated around the fact that the EB do not participate in mainstream politics. It is now clear that not only is this not the case, but they have a nebulous and far-reaching plan to discredit the government. Dodgy as all hell.

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