Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Be careful whose spin you believe

15 August 2006

Be careful whose spin you believe

Today the New Zealand Herald has dismissed legitimate concerns of most parliamentary parties about the scope of the draft Auditor-General's report based on National party spin which claims that nothing that happened before 2003 was relevant, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said today

"This is not the case. The 2003 determination reiterated the longstanding principle that that parliamentary services funding is intended for Parliamentary purposes. This is not in dispute. What is complicated is exactly what is included as Parliamentary purposes.

"The recent decision of the High Court in Tauranga electoral petition highlights the difficulties in determining this. In that case the Court noted that promotion of a person as a sitting member of Parliament does not qualify as an election expense.

"This reflects the understanding that MPs from all parties have operated under for many years. Such expenditure relates to Parliamentary business as approved by the Parliamentary Service and as such is within the scope of the appropriation.

"If the view of Crown Law and the Auditor-General is that this is no longer the case then the legality of a large proportion of expenditure, totalling hundreds of millions of dollars, funded out of Vote Parliamentary Service since 1989 is now unclear. This includes spending by all parties represented in Parliament over the last 17 years.

"The Herald also seems to have swallowed the National Party line that the report relates only to spending in the three months prior to the 2005 election.

"However, the position the Auditor-General has adopted goes considerably further than this. The Crown Law Opinion on which he relies states "I agree with your view that no particular date is determinative of whether, in terms of the appropriations, material is to be considered as electioneering."

"Like National, the Herald would have you believe this issue is black and white. It is far more complicated which is why most parties in Parliament except National are working to clarify the situation.

"The Herald would be wise to consider the consistency of its position.

"The owners of the Herald recently found themselves liable to a very large tax bill even though they could reasonably argue that the transaction which triggered it would not at the time have done so according to the general understanding of the law.

"As a result the government has agreed to support legislation which effectively retrospectively validates that understanding and relieves the Herald's owners of the bill.

"The amount involved would, for example, pay for a very large number of elective operations.

"I challenge the Herald's owners to release the full details and try to explain the essential difference between their case and the current storm in a tea cup over Parliamentary Services funding, other than that the former is very much larger," Dr Cullen said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news