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Memo to Clark on pledge card: Pay it back!

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Deputy Leader

11 September 2006

Memo to Clark on pledge card: Pay it back!

National Party Deputy Leader Gerry Brownlee says Helen Clark must now be in a position to say whether Labour intends to pay back the money it is alleged to have spent unlawfully at the last election.

“Media reports suggest that the Auditor-General’s final report into election spending ‘is not going to say anything hugely different’ from the draft document.

“That leaves Helen Clark with a simple question. Will she, or won’t she, repay the taxpayer money?”

Mr Brownlee says public opinion on the issue is clear cut, as were the rules and the very explicit warnings from officials in the lead up to the last election.

“It’s obvious to everyone but Helen Clark that a retrospective change to legalise illegal election spending would be an absolute abuse of power.”

Mr Brownlee notes that during interviews this morning Helen Clark claimed that the pledge card had been paid for by the taxpayer in 1999 and 2002, and no one complained.

“This has never been a debate about the 1999 or 2002 elections.

“But for the record, no one even contemplated Helen Clark would be so brazen as to have used parliamentary funding to pay for this kind of blatant electioneering.

“In 2002 the card had a party authorisation on it so everyone just assumed it was paid for by the party. It’s not illegal to do that, and back then there was no rule about identifying crests on parliamentary-funded material. That was part of the 2003 clarifications.

“That’s why, when a crest appeared on the pledge card in 2005, National was alerted and subsequently lodged complaints.”

Mr Brownlee says Helen Clark should take the advice of the Auditor-General who told a weekend newspaper that payments made by both the National Party and Maori Party were the ‘end of the matter’.

“It’s time for Helen Clark to order an end to all the ridiculous distractions, diversions and threats. Pay it back!”


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