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Who benefited from advertising review delay?

Gerry Brownlee MP National Party Deputy Leader

15 February 2006

Who benefited from advertising review delay?

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee wants to know which party benefited the most out of the Labour-led delay on a review of taxpayer funded advertising rules.

"The fact that Helen Clark refused to deal with the Auditor-General before the general election leads us to one conclusion - she knew her taxpayer-funded pledge cards would get the chop."

Mr Brownlee is commenting on Labour's attempts to downplay the significance of the way in which Helen Clark dodged face-to-face attempts to clarify the rules in the middle of last year.

"Helen Clark sent along Trevor Mallard and Heather Simpson in her place. Then the matter was kicked for touch while Labour's taxpayer funded spending binge continued.

"This wasn't about consulting other parties, this was about dodging the bullet."

Mr Brownlee is echoing National Party Leader Don Brash's call for Helen Clark to repay the money.

"Labour has now admitted fleecing the taxpayer for the past three elections to pay for its pledge card. It beggars belief that they are now trying to pretend it was not about soliciting votes."

The National Party called for a crackdown on political party advertising in June and then again in July last year.

"Clearly there was goodwill on National's behalf to make sure everyone understood the rules, so why didn't Helen Clark accept the offer then and avoid the so-called confusion now?

"The reality is as it was then. The 2003 Parliamentary Service rules make it clear the pledge card doesn't comply. Regardless of any other agencies' interest in this matter - Helen Clark should pay back the money. She knew the pledge card spending wouldn't qualify.

"Overspending by mistake is one thing, overspending and knowing you're stretching the rules is quite another," says Mr Brownlee.


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