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Law change needed after Nats' Coromandel postcard

Law change needed after Nats' Coromandel postcard

The Green Party has been billed by mistake for postal costs of 25,000 anti-Green pamphlets or postcards published by the National Party and delivered to all Coromandel homes.

"No doubt the Kiwimail invoice should have been paid by the National Party, rather than sent to us for payment," party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today. "But there's an even bigger issue: This major pre-election mail-out to all Coromandel homes was not counted as part of the National candidate's return of election expenses."

Ms Fitzsimons told the justice and electoral select committee today that the bill was likely to be for a notorious postcard which made personal attacks on herself, plus on Green candidates (now MPs) Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos, just one week before election day.

In a written submission to the committee she sought a law change so that "dirty tricks" costs were included in a candidate's official election expenses.

"At present it seems that every piece of advertising that promotes the policies of the candidate must be counted, while any amount of expenditure denigrating the opponent is exempt if it does not mention the candidate who has published it."

The postcard headed "The Greens - Worrying Facts and Faces You Need to Know" contained deliberate misrepresentation of Green Party policies on justice, defence, trade, cannabis and employment. Although the postcard was authorised by a National Party official, no National Party logo was included, nor was the name "National Party", nor the name of Murray McLean, the National candidate.

The bottom of the postcard said: "Authorised by M Law, 71 Seddon Road, Hamilton." This turned out to be a divisional office-holder of the National Party.

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP 025 586068 Rod Donald MP, 04 4706660, 025 507183 Paul Bensemann, Press Secretary 04 4706679, 021 214 2665

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