Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Scoop IV: Brownlee On Labour's Election Spending

Scoop IV: Brownlee Explains National's Anger Over Labour's Election Spending

National's Deputy Leader -Gerry Brownlee

*********

Last week, in a surprise twist to the ongoing saga of Election 2005, the Electoral Commission referred 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.)

National's Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee has been spearheading the opposition attacks regarding Labour's alleged overspending. In a press statement released yesterday Mr Brownlee considered Labour was digging itself into an even deeper hole regarding their electoral spending.

In the New Zealand Herald, Labour President Mike Williams confirmed the pledge card had been funded through the Leader's budget before. 'The Office of the Leader has done that now for three elections, maybe four,' he is quoted as saying.

"If the pledge card was funded through the Leader's budget at the last election, why did it feature an authorisation from Mike Smith, as required for election campaign material?

"And if, as Labour argues, it wasn't about soliciting votes in 2002, why was the Labour Party secretary signing off on a taxpayer-funded Leader's information campaign?"

Scoop caught up with Mr Brownlee yesterday afternoon to see if he had received any answers to these questions and was given the benefit of his righteous indignation at what he sees as either, an arrogant, or ill-funded Labour Party dead set on bending the electoral rules to suit itself.

Scoop: Did Labour do what they had done in the 2002 election? Was their use of the Leader's fund exactly the same?

Gerry Brownlee: Yes it was, it was the same format.

Scoop: Was it signed by Mike Smith in 2002 as well?

Gerry Brownlee: I believe in 2002 it was, yes.

Scoop: Why wasn't it pulled up in 2002 if it was a big deal, did no-one notice?

Gerry Brownlee: Well in 2002 [National] assumed because Mike Smith had signed it that it had been paid for by the Labour Party to fund their election campaign - which would have been perfectly legitimate. The new information that has come to light over the weekend is that [the pledge card] had been paid for from the Leader's Office. In which case the question has to be asked, 'if this was a government information campaign then why is the secretary of the Labour Party signing it off'?

Scoop: What do you think drove Labour to do such a thing?

Gerry Brownlee: I think just the confidence that they can do whatever they liked and also probably they were short of funds.

Scoop: A couple of years ago there were billboards paid for out of the [Opposition] Leader's fund weren't there?

Gerry Brownlee: Those billboards were simply stating party positions such as 'the beaches are for all' and hi-lighting an issue. The pledge card was used in 1999 as the main campaign tool. It was used again in 2002 and was passed off as being part of the election campaign.

If it was paid for by the Leaders office, the single issue here is if it was paid for from the leaders office what on earth was the labour party campaign secretary doing signing off on the thing. They were trying to pass off what was clearly an electoral expense as a leader's office expense.

Scoop: So National didn't use its Leaders Office budget during the election, it was all private donations, is that correct?

Gerry Brownlee: This recent election?

Scoop: Yes.

Gerry Brownlee: The Leader's Office would have been used leading up to the election perhaps some direct mail outs but that is part of the course of politics.

The salient point is that if your asking people to vote for your party by putting a party slogan on there then you contravene the rules. Their credit card has carried the slogan 'you're better off with Labour' since its inception. And I think that is where the breach is.

Now, Labour will try and say this is all murky and fuzzy it doesn't matter. I don't think that is the case. Political parties get funding in order to be able to take positions and present information. They don't get funded to electioneer. It's pretty clear. I think there is a pretty significant breach here.

We accepted in 1999 that the pledge card was a legitimate way to campaign. To find out now that in 2002 and 2005 it was funded out of the Leader's information campaign puts it into an entirely different light. I think Labour has some obligation to pay those funds back.

  • EDITOR'S NOTE: Scoop approached the Labour Party for comment, as yet no reply has been forthcoming.
  • ENDS

    © Scoop Media

     
     
     
     
     
    Top Scoops Headlines

     

    Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

    Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

    Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

    The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

    ALSO:

    Buildup:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

    It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

    ALSO:

    Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

    Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

    Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

    Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

    Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

    I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

    Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

    It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

    ALSO:


    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Top Scoops
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news