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Labour Outspends National By More Than $500,000

Election 05: Labour Outspends National By More Than $500,000

By Kevin List

In a surprise twist to the ongoing saga of Election 2005 Labour look to have spent well in excess of National in election advertising. According to the Election Commission not only did Labour spend more than National on election advertising they spent more than they were legally allowed.

The Electoral Commission is referring the New Zealand Labour Party to the police as it believes the party has overspent its election expense limit and committed an offence under the Electoral Act. (See sections 214B and 224.)

The party's return of campaigning expenses for the 2005 general election discloses expenditure of $2,798,603 (including GST), which is $418,603 more than its $2,380,000 limit.

Labour's President Mike Williams told the Dominion Post that in the party's view the electoral law was outdated and unclear. Labour was found by the Electoral Commission to have exceeded the allowable limit of $2,380,000 because the Electoral Commission included $446,815 for pamphlets produced by Parliamentary Services and a pledge card. Labour considers that these expenses should not have been included as election advertising expenses.

According to figures at the Electoral Commission National spent $2,128,028 (incl GST) on election advertising for the 2005 election campaign.

This means that National's slick campaign which included hundreds of billboards throughout New Zealand, many in prime locations, and a super-slick television advertising campaign was actually cheaper by in excess of $500,000 than Labour's.

Not included in National's campaign spending was of course the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the religious sect the Exclusive Brethren - aimed at 'changing the Government' - presumably to one led by the major opposition party, ie National.

According to National's election advertising return the party spent only around $180,000 on producing television and radio advertisements. Labour however spent closer to $400,000 on producing their television and radio advertisements.

Utilising the digital skills of young Wellington animators National's 'Taxathon' television advertisement appears to have been produced for around $50,000. Rather than look for a small group of budget priced animators pushing their PC's to the limit Labour went for a more conventional television campaign showcasing real people that would have incurred higher production costs.

National's canny 2005 broadcasting campaign on the smell of an oily rag was in stark contrast to previous elections. Figures for the 1999 Election show producing television and radio adds cost National well in excess of $900,000, while even the more stripped back 2002 Election campaign set National back close to $500,000, when it came to broadcasting related costs.

Where Labour's Campaign Funds Went

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To see where National's Campaign Funds Went:

  • National Pushes Limits Of Campaign Spending In 2005
  • ENDS

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