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AG’s report throws doubt on fairness of election

Don Brash MP
National Party Leader
15 October 2006

AG’s report throws doubt on fairness of election

Helen Clark’s belated decision to pay back the taxpayers’ money the Labour Party illegally spent on advertising won’t remedy Labour’s deliberate breach of the spending cap, says National Party Leader Don Brash.

“The fairness of the 2005 election result is clearly in serious doubt given the Auditor-General’s confirmation that Labour misappropriated some $800,000 of taxpayers’ money to get itself re-elected.

“How much of that came from Helen Clark’s Leader’s office fund and how much was from individual Labour MPs remains a mystery, and Helen Clark should tell the public.

“But the Auditor-General’s findings should also refocus attention on Labour‘s blatant and deliberate breach of the Electoral Act.

“Nothing can change the fact that Labour deliberately overspent its election spending cap of $2.38 million by at least $418,000.

The breach of the cap could amount to even more than $418,000 given that the Auditor-General found some $800,000 of Labour Party advertising – not just the pledge card - was illegally paid for from taxpayers’ funds.

“My 2 October letter to police outlining my concerns about their investigation into the breach of the spending cap has received an acknowledgement but no substantive reply. I await a reply with intense interest.

“Nielsen advertising spending data shows 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 2 September to Labour Party General Secretary Mike Smith warning that the pledge card and brochure were unambiguously electioneering, no matter how funded.

“Labour ignored all the warnings, deliberately shunned the rules and put the foot on the spending accelerator. That is simply unacceptable to all New Zealanders. Labour stole the election by flagrantly breaking not one law but two.

“Michael Cullen should also immediately release the Treasury report on validating legislation he referred to on Saturday’s Agenda show. The public has had enough of Labour’s games, and refusing to release this important advice will just be seen as more of the same.”


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