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National grandstanding about expenses

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Deputy Prime Minister

10 August 2006 Media Statement

National grandstanding about expenses

If National was genuine about the rules around party spending on communications, it would write a cheque for millions not a measly $10,000, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said today.

"National is grandstanding. The new interpretation of the rules by the Auditor-General and Solicitor-General means that virtually every cent spent by every party on communications over many years has been deemed inappropriate. That is what every party in Parliament, bar National, is objecting to," said Dr Cullen.

"But it also means that National, if it is genuine about wanting to abide by the rules as now being interpreted, should be paying back millions.

"Don Brash, no doubt at the behest of Gerry Brownlee, is being made to look a fool. The latest National publicity stunt, paid for by taxpayers, - the laughable wastewatch website - is outside the rules, as now being interpreted by the Auditor-General and Solicitor-General.

"National should begin by paying that money back, and then follow up by reimbursing every cent it's spent in the last 10 years.

"This is just more bizarre behaviour from National's leader. The Auditor-General hasn't even suggested paying money back. All we've had is a draft report. But if Dr Brash wants to pay back millions based on a draft report that asks for nothing, I'm sure the Exclusive Brethren won't mind its money being used in that way. Either that, or Dr Brash will need to cash-up his kiwifruit orchard.

"Of course, this could be just another stunt. The test will be in whether the cheque is for millions, or for a miserly $10,000," Dr Cullen concluded.


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