NZ First Adverts Funding Snub Defended By National
Advertising Funding Snub To NZ First Defended By National
By Kevin List
Despite having only 27 MP’s and being consistently behind Labour in the polls for the last six months, the National Party’s election campaign manager, Steven Joyce was still a little miffed at getting less funding than Labour in the allocations of political advertising funding announced today.
“We’re not happy, our view is that we should have had equal footing with Labour and the Electoral Commission has seen fit to give Labour 20% more, so that is a concern”, he told Scoop.
But while unhappy at Labour receiving $200,000 more funding this election than the National Party. Mr Joyce was pleased that, in his view, the Electoral Commission had acknowledged that the election was going to be about the competing policies of National and Labour.
The huge difference between the sums allocated to National and Labour and the funding allocated to parties such as the Greens and NZ First has sparked considerable displeasure from the so-called minor parties.
NZ First in particular has expressed outrage at the scale of Electoral Commission funding of both National and Labour. In a press statement released today New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters asserted that:
“The Electoral Commission has been hijacked by the traditional two-party system. They are hopelessly biased and simply unable to deal with facts such as New Zealand First’s ascendancy in Parliament and in the polls.”
Mr Peters also points that National gets four times the funding of NZ First but only has twice the number of seats.
For his part Mr Joyce agreed that of the minor parties NZ First arguably had the most to be concerned about in regard to their allocation.
However Mr Joyce was adamant the commission was not a remnant of the first past the post system.
“If you look at what the commission has done historically its [funding] is very similar what they have done in the past, in many ways, except the allocation of funding to Labour”, he said.
When Scoop asked why National didn’t complain about Labour getting less money than National in the 1996 election, Mr Joyce first said he “wasn’t around in 1996” before hypothesizing that Labour’s funding may have been affected by its poor performance in the polls during that year.
In 1996, while each of the major parties had a very similar number of MPs, the Electoral Commission gave the Labour Party $431,000 compared to $534,000 for the National Party. New Zealand First received $249,000.
Only the National Party and Labour Party are represented on the Electoral Commission. At the time of the appointments to the commisison New Zealand First objected strenuously in the house.