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Progressive party has no money to pay back

29 August 2006

Progressive party has no money to pay back

Jim Anderton called the reporting in today's New Zealand Herald editorial "shoddy and unexpected" over its claim that the Progressive Party is one of the parties facing the Auditor-General's investigation on the use of parliamentary money for electioneering purposes.

"The New Zealand Herald is the one paper I thought would get the facts right on this issue. It is the only newspaper throughout New Zealand that reported the fact that the Progressives were cleared by the Auditor-General's inquiry – the only party in Parliament to have done so," Jim Anderton said from Wellington today.

"In the 2005 pre-election period, there were funds in my parliamentary budget. I considered possible options for spending them but decided to err on the side of caution, reflecting my instinctive position that it would not qualify within the pre-election period rules framework.

"The Progressive Party went out and raised our election funds – something we have always managed to do and we produced good election material for the last election.

"The party has always been proud of its ability to do this and even a year out from the election when we put out Party billboards on policy – we could have used Parliamentary Service funds, as the National Party was doing - but didn't do so. Instead we used party funds raised from our Progressive 100K Club.

"The Progressives however, support more clarity in the rules. We got it right but, in my view, the rules were and are, confusing and capable of being easily misunderstood.

"The New Zealand Herald should front up with a correction – otherwise politicians are damned if they do and damned if they don't. I don't expect any praise for doing what was right – but neither do I expect to be beaten over the head with untrue and unfair accusations," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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