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Clark 'guilty as charged' on election spending

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader

12 October 2006

Clark 'guilty as charged' on election spending

National Party Leader Don Brash says the belated announcement by Helen Clark that Labour will repay taxpayer money wrongfully spent on its election campaign is an admission of guilt on an unprecedented scale.

"This is an unprecedented overspend. The debts of other parties pale by comparison. Labour has been caught red handed with its fingers in the till.

"National is deeply saddened that it has taken more than a year for Helen Clark to reluctantly do the right thing. Labour has led a dirty campaign punctuated by threats and bullying."

Dr Brash says public confidence in Parliament has been dented by the attacks on officials who have tried to hold Labour to account.

"In the process Helen Clark has tarnished the reputation of those who were charged with protecting the integrity of our democracy.

"I congratulate the Auditor-General for not succumbing to Helen Clark's threats and thank the chief electoral officer, the electoral commission and the solicitor general for quite properly pursuing this serious matter."

Dr Brash sees the promise to repay as a victory for taxpayers.

"What needs to happen now is that Helen Clark needs to take responsibility and she must apologise to the officials, and the media organisations that her Government has attacked and threatened."

Dr Brash says the Auditor General's finding also brings new focus to the police decision not to charge Labour in relation to the overspending.

"I await with interest the police response to my letter requesting an explanation over that decision. It is clear that if the material is electioneering in the eyes of the Auditor-General, it falls under the Electoral Act and should have been included in Labour's election return," says Dr Brash.

ENDS

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