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National will target taxpayer-funded political ads

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

19 July 2005

National will target taxpayer-funded political ads

National Party Leader Don Brash says the next National Government will run a ruler over taxpayer-funded advertising to establish a coherent set of rules covering departments, agencies, the Parliamentary Service Commission budget allocated to political parties, and ministerial spending.

"National will support a tightening of the rules on taxpayer-funded advertising as suggested by the Auditor General in a report which was strongly critical of Labour's spending.

"The acceptance by Madam Speaker of the taxpayer-funded bus shelter billboards claiming 'You're Better Off With Labour' is a very serious matter.

"The Labour Government has spent millions of taxpayer dollars promoting the 'You're Better Off With Labour' brand. Now the Labour Party is piggybacking off those taxpayer dollars by using exactly the same slogan.

"If that is acceptable within the rules, then clearly the rules need to be changed.

"In recent years, all political parties have pushed the boundaries on the use of taxpayer-funded advertising. The time has come for someone to take the lead in pushing the boundaries back.

"My personal view is that, if political parties want to tell the public to vote for them, they should be using their own money to do it."

Dr Brash points out that National's current billboard campaign is not funded by the taxpayer.

"Since I became Leader of the Opposition, I have been increasingly concerned about the wide interpretation of the spending rules and I'm determined to see consistency is applied."

ENDS

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