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Clark refused to fix ad rules pre-election

Don Brash MP National Party Leader

22 August 2006

Clark refused to fix ad rules pre-election

National Party Leader Don Brash says not only did Helen Clark know Labour was about to break taxpayer-funded spending rules, but she refused to meet with officials to clear the mess up before the election.

"There is a paper trail a mile long on this. Well before the election, the Auditor-General attempted to meet Helen Clark for a discussion on how to fix the formula for taxpayer-funded advertising. She declined.

"Why would Helen Clark meet with the Auditor-General if he was going to rain on her parade and stop the mis-use of the Leader's fund?"

Instead, Ms Clark sent along Trevor Mallard and Heather Simpson as her proxies.

"There's no way on Earth that Helen Clark didn't get a detailed debriefing from those two. They're as thick as thieves."

The National Party called for compliance with the rules around political party advertising in June last year and then again in July.

"Clearly there was goodwill on National's part to make sure everyone understood the rules, so why didn't Helen Clark accept the offer then?

"The reality is as it was then. The 2003 Parliamentary Service rules make it clear the pledge card doesn't comply.

"Helen Clark should pay back the money. She knew the pledge card spending wouldn't qualify.

"Overspending by mistake is one thing. Overspending and knowing you're breaking the rules is quite another," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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