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Labour accelerated ad spending

Hon Bill English National Party MP

31 August 2006

Labour accelerated ad spending despite official's warning

Labour accelerated its election spending in the last two weeks of the election campaign despite being warned by the Chief Electoral Officer that its pledge card and brochure were unlawful, says National Party MP Bill English.

"Data from media research company Nielsen shows that Labour spent a staggering $1.8 million, excluding GST*, in the two weeks before the 17 September election.

"That was despite Chief Electoral Officer David Henry writing on September 2 to Labour Party General Secretary Mike Smith warning that the pledge card was considered election spending.

"The $446,000 cost of the pledge card and brochure was unlawfully booked up to the taxpayer, when it should have been paid for by the party.

"But Labour ignored the warning and shunned the rules in its desperate bid to retain power. Not only did the party fail to put the brakes on its spending, but it actually put the foot down on the accelerator.

"The Nielsen data shows that of the $1.8 million spent by Labour after it was warned, some $620,000 was on press advertising in that last two weeks and a staggering $416,559 was spent in the last week on newspaper advertising."

Labour strategist Pete Hodgson has confirmed that the recent ruling of the Auditor General leaves Labour owing a 'load' more than $750,000.

"Labour ripped the taxpayers of New Zealand off. Pay it back."

ENDS

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