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Taxes wasted on Labour's pledge card

Simon Power MP National Party Chief Whip

05 September 2005

Taxes wasted on Labour's pledge card

National Party Chief Whip Simon Power is demanding Helen Clark explain why the taxpayer is funding her party's key election gimmick, the pledge card.

"This is an abuse of taxpayer money. Labour is campaigning on the public purse and using the taxes of hard-working Kiwis to fund a key plank in Helen Clark's re-election campaign."

The Parliamentary crest is on the latest pledge cards, and that usually indicates taxpayer funding. Printing firms contacted by the National Party put the cost of production at $280,000.

"This deception and waste is typical of Labour's cavalier approach to spending our taxes. But borderline political advertising is nothing new for Labour," says Mr Power.

He is referring to Labour's bus shelter advertising, the direct mail campaigns and a desk calendar distributed by Helen Clark's own office.

"Previous pledge cards have not been bank-rolled by the taxpayer. In 1999, Labour's advertising material accompanying the pledge card proudly trumpeted the fact it had been paid for by Labour Party supporters. The Parliamentary crest did not feature.

"Helen Clark must do the honest thing and repay the taxes the Labour Party is using for re-election purposes. They've bent the rules once too often.

"Advertising to promote legitimate Government policy is one thing, but Helen Clark has gone to great lengths during this campaign to explain how party policy is not Government policy," says Mr Power.

National Party Leader Don Brash has already signalled that National will run a ruler over all taxpayer-funded advertising.

"We need a coherent set of rules covering departments, agencies, the Parliamentary Service Commission budget allocated to political parties, and ministerial spending," said Dr Brash.


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