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Taxpayers and businesses pay for Nats' GST blunder

28 May 2006
Taxpayers and businesses pay for Nats' campaign blunder

Papers obtained from the Electoral Commission by the Greens have revealed that the National Party short-changed private and public broadcasters by $112,493 at the last election, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"National's failure to include GST in their election spending calculations has meant they received $112,493 in free advertising at the expense of public and private broadcasters," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"If you add to that the $1.2 million budget of the Exclusive Brethren's campaign with the goal of 'getting party votes for National', it means Don's lot got more than $1.3 million of unpaid advertising.

Green Party 2005 Campaign Manager Russel Norman says the breakdown of figures shows that TVNZ was not paid for $57,369 of advertising.

"This $57,369 is money that would have otherwise gone into TVNZ coffers and ultimately been paid to the taxpayer as a dividend," Dr Norman says.

"I find it extraordinary that a party that claims to be economically literate, and that is constantly carping on about waste of taxpayer funds, was unable to calculate GST and has, as a consequence, taken $57,000 out of taxpayers pockets", Dr Norman said.

Under the current rules neither the Electoral Commission nor any other body can legally cover the $112,493 shortfall.

The other broadcasters to suffer losses were The Radio Bureau ($24,895), TV3 ($20,013), Prime ($6887), and Sky TV ($3327).

"If any other organisation in New Zealand had taken $122,493 off five commercial entities steps would have been taken to recover the money, but the National Party has got away with it," Dr Norman says.

"I suggest they could either donate the $112,493 to a charity or pay the broadcasters next election out of their 2008 allocation."

ENDS

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