As noted by Bernard Darnton – the Libertarianz leader with a case against Helen Clark in the High Court for illegally using taxpayers money to win the 2005 election – Gman Inc has discovered an audio recording of the Prime Minister at a public meeting last year, in which she explains how the taxpayer-funded pledge card was the centerpiece of Labour’s campaign. I’ve found something even more damning.
The pledge card debate has really heated up as Brash accuses Clark of having “stole the election” – just as The Free Radical pointed out in a cover story a month ago. And the Labour Party has finally taken notice – responding by publicly ignoring the pending court case, and trying to distract attention by accusing the National Party of receiving “cash for policies.” Labour Party hack Jordan Carter accuses the media and National Party of conspiring to hide the truth about the pledge cards: “Lies about the pledge card need to stop.” Well, the real lie is that the pledge card for the last three elections has been about promoting policy rather than illegally soliciting votes. As it turns out, the pledge card has been the most important part of Labour’s campaigning since 1999.
Let’s take a look at Helen’s official biography/hagiography… Edwards, Brian. Helen: Portrait of a Prime Minister, Auckland: Exisle, 2001, pp. 282-283.
The “pledge card” was an idea which Helen had borrowed from Tony Blair. The idea was simple – a card, just like a credit card, with a photograph of the Party’s leader, and a series of election promises or “pledges” which the Party undertook to carry out, if it won the election. The card had worked for Blair in the 1997 General Election, but Helen initially needed to be reassured of its worth: [John Prescott said] “…the core pledges have to be in areas you know voters are concerned about”
Confirmed – the pledge card was from the beginning about winning the election.
The Pledge Card contained a photograph of Helen, with her signature and the words “MY COMMITMENT TO YOU. WE WILL DELIVER.” There were seven pledges on the back of the card under the words “MY COMMITMENTS ARE:”
I won’t repeat all the pledges, but it is interesting to note that at least three of the pledges have not been followed through on: waiting lists, youth crime and burglaries, and no rise in income tax for 95% of taxpayers. Finally:
Helen believes that the card was a considerable success, that voters, who had seen a succession of governments abandon not only their election promises but their core values, welcomed the idea of a political party that was prepared to put its money where its mouth was.
To put whose money where their mouth was, sorry? This offers final confirmation that Clark has always seen the cards as the primary element of the election campaign, and that the pledges were considered to be “election promises” rather than a promotion of policy. Jordan Carter is the liar here, and so are the members of Labour’s corrupt caucus. At least Brian Edwards is telling the truth!