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One law for all political parties

13 June 2006

One law for all political parties

The Green Party did not support the National Party's Member's Bill seeking to resolve the issue of its unpaid GST from last year's election campaign.

"This Bill would effectively allow the National Party to get off scot-free for spending more than they were allocated during the election campaign. The Green Party doesn't think this is ok," Musterer (Whip) Metiria Turei says.

"The Greens were looking for National to take full responsibility for their mistake in calculating GST - one option being to lose that amount from the broadcasting allocation at the next election.

"National has not provided any principled justification for this bill, which lets them avoid a legal consequence from having broken the law.

"We would certainly welcome the debate on the issue but there is no reason to subvert the normal processes of Parliament by supporting the introduction of this bill into the House by way of a motion. The private members bill ballot system exists for precisely this sort of reason. Let them use it.

"Don Brash has maintained that unless the law is changed, he is completely unable to pay broadcasters the money they are owed for the National Party advertising. We believe this is a misrepresentation of the legal situation.

"The National Party is obligated by their contracts to pay the broadcasters in full for their services. This is a separate legal obligation from their spending allocation under the Broadcasting Act . They have a moral and legal obligation to pay their bills and bear the consequences of it. Normal market principles apply equally to National as to all others. Once they pay the broadcasters, however, they will have breached their allocation, and will then be in breach of the Broadcasting Act.

"Rather than support legislation to let them escape this legal breach, the Green Party believes it is entirely appropriate that the National Party be subject to the Broadcasting Act since they have indeed breached it," Ms Turei says.


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