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National pays back money - Labour should too

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader


10 August 2006


National pays back money - Labour should too


The National Party has used its own money to pay back $10,588.17 identified by the Auditor-General as being used outside the parliamentary rules for which it was given, says National Party Leader Don Brash.

"A cheque for that amount has been delivered today to the Parliamentary Service general manager on behalf of the seven MPs concerned.

"I now challenge Helen Clark to do the same and authorise the repayment from Labour Party funds of the $446,000 it unlawfully spent last election on the pledge card and brochure.

"In his investigation, the Auditor-General found the National Party Leader's Office did not spend any money outside the appropriation. However, a small number of our MPs did, and the party has now paid that back.

"The parliamentary rules are perfectly clear. It is Helen Clark who is now arguing black is white and claiming the rules are unclear.

"The funds are appropriated on the explicit understanding that they are not to be used for electioneering purposes.

"If Labour's pledge card and brochure - both released just weeks from the election - are not electioneering then I don't know what is.

"Does anyone in the public seriously believe that the slick machine that is the New Zealand Labour Party didn't know what it was doing was wrong?

"It is time for Helen Clark to pay up."

ENDS

Attached: Scan of cheque and letter to Parliamentary Service

National Party
cheque for spending outside rules
Click to enlarge

10 August 2006

Mr Joel George
General Manager
Parliamentary Service
Parliament Buildings
Wellington


Dear Mr George

Thank you for your letter dated 31 July 2006 regarding the review by the Controller and Auditor General of pre-election advertising.

I was pleased but not surprised that, in his provisional findings, the Controller and Auditor General found all expenditure by the National Leader’s Office complied with the rules limiting expenditure of Parliamentary Service funds to parliamentary and not electioneering purposes.

I do note, however, that the Controller and Auditor General has found a small number of National MPs to be in breach of the rules to the aggregate amount of $10,588-17.

While these may be minor breaches of the rules, they are nevertheless breaches. National’s view on this matter is straightforward. The rules relating to parliamentary advertising are clear, and where a breach of those rules occurs, by any member or party, the money should be repaid to Parliamentary Services.

Accordingly, I have directed that the National Party re-pay the $10,588-17 to Parliamentary Services, and a cheque is attached.

Yours sincerely

Don Brash
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the National Party

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