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Labour digs itself deeper on pledge cards

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Deputy Leader

13 February 2006

Labour digs itself deeper on pledge cards

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee says Labour appears to be digging itself an even deeper hole on the issue of taxpayer-funded pledge card overspending.

In this morning's 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.

Mr Brownlee says Mr Williams has dropped Helen Clark in it.

"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?

"Two official bodies have now determined that the 2005 pledge card was an election expense. The Prime Minister should immediately offer to reimburse the taxpayer-funded Leader's budget.

"This is another classic case of taxpayer money which was set aside for one purpose being used by Labour for another."

Helen Clark has previously said that she is accountable for the pledge card.

"Had National known that Labour broke the rules at the 2002 election we would have lodged a complaint then as well.

"Overspending by accident is one thing, overspending while knowing you're pushing the boundaries is quite another," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS

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