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Clark fudges facts on advertising

Gerry Brownlee MP - National Party Deputy Leader

15 February 2006

Clark fudges facts on advertising

Helen Clark is frantically trying to obfuscate her decision to flout the rules on taxpayer-funded advertising, says National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee.

"Helen Clark is in denial. The pledge card has been a key plank of Labour's election campaigns. Of course the pledge card is about securing votes.

"The Prime Minister's refusal to accept responsibility for this gross misuse of the Leader's fund is nothing short of a disgrace.

"National has not been the subject of any similar complaint for the misuse of the Leader's fund.

"On the face of it, Helen Clark's been caught red-handed. Her protests now are merely a smokescreen to hide the Labour Leader's own lack of judgment.

"Labour used the Leader's fund to pay for the pledge cards even though the rules are clear. No argument.

"Labour knew the Auditor-General was preparing to crack down on taxpayer funded advertising, yet Helen Clark refused to address the issue before the election. Did she know the pledge card funding was dubious?

"Who was involved in making the decisions about pledge card spending?

"Why did the 2002 pledge card feature an authorisation suggesting it was election material and not paid for by the taxpayer? Was that a deliberate attempt to deceive?

"Why didn't Trevor Mallard and Heather Simpson alert the Prime Minister to the danger of the pledge card spending after meeting 'extensively' with the Auditor-General? Did they fail to pass on the message?

"And why will Helen Clark not do the right thing and repay the money, given that the Auditor-General and the Electoral Commission have now categorised the pledge cards as electioneering?

"Enough of the distraction tactics. Pay the money back," says Mr Brownlee.

ENDS


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