Whale scale fail for democracy

The biggest news following the local body elections was abysmal turnout with record low numbers of voters bothering to have their say.

Then the news spotlight turned to the Len Brown affairs. Today these stories got more complicated and dirtier, with claims of coercion of Bevan Chuang from Luigi Wewege who was closely associated with rival candidate Palino’s campaign, and a new revelation that Brown helped Chuang get a job at the council’s art gallery.

(Affairs as plural is deliberate, this involves both an indiscrete personal affair and murky political affairs).

This dirty political business is getting dirtier, and we may not have seen the worst of it yet. People are being and will be hurt by this.

It looks like Chuang’s life is being tossed around on a storm of political players. She has to take some responsibility, but it appears as if she has been used by Brown, by journalist Stephen Cook and Whale Oil, and by Wewege. She is significant collateral damage.

Brown’s wife and family are also major collateral damage.

On a wider scale democracy is going to be hurt by this too. There’s a lot more interest in the unravelling scandals than there was in the election campaigns, that’s the nature of media and public attention.

This is unlikely to translate into increased interest in voting – more likely it will be a whale scale fail for democracy.

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