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Greens Challenge Parties To Disown Dirty Tricks

Greens challenge other parties to disown dirty tricks campaign

The Green Party is calling on all other parties to state categorically that they have nothing to do with a dirty tricks campaign which has just been launched on the Greens.

An attack leaflet headlined "The Green Delusion", containing significant untruths and distortions about Green policies, is being delivered in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and probably around the country, at a probable cost of at least $100,000. The Greens obtained a copy of the leaflet yesterday, and are asking the leaders of other parties to distance themselves from the dirty tricks campaign.

"This scurrilous attack on the Greens is 50% outright lies and 50% gross exaggerations," Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said. "I'm asking all other party leaders, especially Don Brash, to come clean and say categorically that their parties had nothing to do with these leaflets. Given National's history of smearing the Greens, a reticence on Dr Brash's behalf would probably have to be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

"The leaflet has been produced by someone with a lot of money and not much policy of their own. Why else would they spend all this money just to talk about the Green Party?"

Ms Fitzsimons said the leaflets were reminiscent of past attacks on the Greens by the National Party.

"In my 1999 campaign for the Coromandel seat, the National Party distributed leaflets which spread lies about both me and other members of the Green Party. In that year, National tried desperately to win re-election by smearing the Greens at every opportunity. I had hoped that the National Party had cleaned up its act since then, and wouldn't stoop to this level again in 2005. I remain hopeful that National isn't behind these attacks and am therefore asking Don Brash to state on the record whether his party was involved."

Ms Fitzsimons said the Greens had been half-expecting such an attack, but were surprised by its ferocity.

"Earlier this week, Australian Green Senator Bob Brown came to New Zealand to warn of the toxicity of dirty politics. Little did we know that while Bob was warning the media about dirty tricks campaigns, our political opponents were getting one ready.

"In the last Australian federal election, the Australian Greens were subjected to a campaign of lies contained in Liberal Party pamphlets, which made their way into the Herald-Sun newspaper. Mr Brown complained to the Australian Press Council about the Herald-Sun article, a complaint which was upheld, and the Herald-Sun had to publish a subsequent article outlining the lies it had told about the Greens.

"While the New Zealand Greens will be investigating whether these pamphlets breach the Electoral Act, such legal action is of little use in the middle of an election campaign. Once a decision is made on the pamphlets, the damage will have been done. That's why we're taking immediate steps to uncover who is behind these pamphlets, by urging all party leaders to distance themselves from this campaign of lies."

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