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Labour PM, Ministers, personally gained from rort

John Key MP
National Party Finance Spokesman
3 September 2006

Labour PM, Ministers, personally gained from rort

Labour’s Prime Minister, Ministers and MPs all personally gained from the election spending rort that saw taxpayers ripped off, says National Finance spokesman John Key.

“Friday’s Herald poll showed 81% of New Zealanders think Labour should pay back the $446,000 it owes for the unlawful pledge card and brochure spending – let alone any other money it owes. Last night’s TV3 poll showed a similar number - 77% - want to see the money paid back.

“Some of the highest officials in the land have already found Labour broke the rules – the Auditor-General, the Solicitor-General and the Chief Electoral Officer. And the police found a prima facie case against Labour for breaching electoral law.

“Yet Helen Clark and her cohorts have sat in the Beehive unrepentant. Labour’s election win may never have happened had it not embarked on a deliberate course to unlawfully overspend.

“National has calculated a repayment schedule for Labour MPs and Ministers. The Labour backbenchers would each pay a $2000 flat fee in the spirit of collective responsibility.”

Ministers would pay a percentage of the salary they would have lost had they been voted out. The schedule is:

Prime Minister $22,813
Deputy Prime Minister $15,150
Ministers in Cabinet (17) $17,066
Ministers outside Cabinet (6) $11,319
Backbenchers (25) $2,000

“These repayments could be made over a year. If the final unlawful figure proves to be the rumoured $882,000, then the debt could be spread over two years,” says Mr Key. “Labour, in a calculated, conscious and methodical way, deliberately overspent.

“That resulted in Labour MPs and Ministers getting more personal financial gain than they would otherwise have got. For example Helen Clark gets a $347,000 salary as Prime Minister, whereas if she had lost the election her pay would have dropped to $216,000 as Leader of the Opposition.

“Labour MPs should accept personal responsibility for the money they owe – and pay it back.”

ENDS

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