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Brash should apologise to Rod and the Greens

Brash should apologise to Rod and the Greens

Green Media Release 25th November 2006

The Green caucus is asking Don Brash to apologise for lying to Rod Donald and the Greens about his knowledge of the Exclusive Brethren's
pamphlet attacking the Greens.

"It is ironic that I was asked on Radio NZ to apologise to Don Brash for suggesting National might be behind the pamphlets, once we had
revealed that the Exclusive Brethren were responsible. Nicky Hager's book vindicates my strong suspicion that Brash was not telling the
truth," said Jeanette Fitzsimons, Greens' Co-Leader.

"The chapter of Nicky Hager's book that has been faxed to me by the media shows clearly that Bryan Sinclair, Brash's assistant, was told in
June that the Brethren had "dusted up the Greens in Tasmania, done a good job there" and were planning to target the Greens in NZ. It also
shows a number of National MPs were shown the leaflets before their publication. It is unthinkable that Don Brash did not know who was
behind the leaflet Rod waved under his nose in Rotorua.

The Greens believe the Brethren's campaign cost them at least one seat, as poll ratings dipped after the leaflets were distributed.

"While well informed and aware voters were not taken in, many others with only a casual interest in politics saw the headlines in their
letterbox and did not question their truthfulness or where they had come from," said Jeanette Fitzsimons.

The closeness of the relationship between National and the Brethren is confirmed by further information in the chapter, in particular

- the contact between Brash and the Brethren goes back to December 2004;
- National was informed about the April advertisements and leaflets taking a pro-war and pro-nuclear stance the week before they were run;
- discussions between Brash, senior MPs and party strategists were frequent for 6 months before the election;
- National almost certainly contributed to the "change the government" message in the Brethren pamphlets;
- National and the Brethren strategised to avoid National having to include the election advertising in their spending cap.

"Numerous issues are raised by just the small part of the book I have seen so far," said Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"What point is there in having a spending cap at all if parties can strategise with other groups to advertise on their behalf and escape
the cap?
"Should we leave it to the police to decide whether to prosecute when the electoral law is blatantly broken?
"Should it be legal to tell outright lies about other parties' policies, as the Brethren did about the Greens?

"The law must be clarified before the next election if we are to protect our democracy from secret vote buying by those with the deepest
pockets".

Ends

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