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Brash calls on parties to do the right thing

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

13 June 2006

Brash calls on parties to do the right thing

National Leader Don Brash today called on political parties to rethink their objection to introducing legislation that fixes an error that has left several broadcasters out of pocket.

"NZ First, the Maori Party and the Greens are all opposed to my attempt to introduce the Broadcasting (2005 Election Broadcasting Reimbursement) Amendment Bill.

"National wants to wipe the slate clean by paying amounts which should be paid. The bill would enable this to be done legally. It is a one-off fix to correct an error made when the party booked radio and television advertising for the 2005 election campaign.

"The error arose from a misunderstanding between the National Party headquarters and its advertising booking agency, which booked advertising totalling $900,000 excluding GST, instead of $900,000 including GST.

"The party was allocated only $900,000 including GST by the Electoral Commission for broadcast funding. Although the party president last year offered to pay the $112,500 GST due, the $900,000 limit meant we would be breaching the Broadcasting Act if we did so.

"NZ First Leader Winston Peters has issued a press release suggesting National should break the law by paying the money and face the consequences under the Broadcasting Act.

"This is quite extraordinary: a Minister of the Crown explicitly advocating breaking the law. As a matter of principle, National doesn't deliberately break any law," says Dr Brash.

"I intend seeking leave again tomorrow in Parliament to introduce the bill, giving the parties that are objecting time to reconsider their positions and make the right decision.

"I can see no logical reason why any party would oppose my bill. It imposes no cost on taxpayers.

"If this is not fixed, the public and private broadcasters involved will be left out of pocket."


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