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Labour breaks its own election rules

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader Spokesman

06 March 2008

Labour breaks its own election rules

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says Labour has blatantly broken its own rules on providing home addresses on election advertising after describing National’s concerns about the issue as ‘paranoid’.

Mr English says National has obtained a Labour CD being distributed in Wellington this week. As campaign material, it features an authorisation, but it breaks Labour’s new laws because no home address is given.

“When National raised the issue about home addresses in early February, Labour said National was ‘paranoid’ and gave every indication it planned to comply with the law.

“Labour has not done as it promised.

“The Electoral Commission confirmed what the authorisation law is, and have actively enforced it when it comes to an anti-Labour website. The commission will clearly have to enforce this breach as well

“This is at least the third time Labour has found itself in the gun over election-year activities since January.

“Labour’s been caught out hosting the anti-National Party website ‘The Standard’, and Mike Williams initially refused to tell the whole truth about Labour’s interest free loans.

“Labour either doesn’t care about complying with the law, or doesn’t understand the anti-democratic rules they put in place.”

ENDS

Attached: Scan of Labour Election CD & NZ Herald Clipping – 3 pages.

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Click to enlarge

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New Zealand Herald — — A06 — 08 February 2008

Nats want privacy for helpers

Financial agents' home addresses shouldn't be published on political ads, says English

by Claire Trevett political reporter

The National Party wants a change in the requirement for personal home addresses to be printed on all campaign advertising so party workers do not become targets of opponents.

Deputy leader Bill English said that while MPs were public figures, most financial agents were not but could be the scapegoat for controversial policies simply because their home addresses were on every billboard and pamphlet.

Mr English said a new Electoral Finance Act (EFA) requirement for home addresses on all advertising was an issue for financial agents from all parties. Many agents would have families, and the requirement could put people off doing the job.

``It creates some significant problems.

It means people who are opposed to the views of that party or candidate can look at the address and throw bricks through their windows or knock the mailbox down.''

Third parties are also expected to list home addresses for financial agents, but Mr English said it was unnecessary for party and candidates because they were easily identified and tracked down.

National would raise the issue with other political parties to see if there was any agreement over how to deal with the issue.

The party would also raise it with the Electoral Commission.

Labour's president, Mike Williams, dismissed Mr English's concerns as ``a bit paranoid'' because home addresses were available on electoral rolls which anybody could look up. Company directors were also expected to put home addresses on a public register.

However, Mr English said, there was a clear difference between having to actively look someone up and ``getting that information just by picking up a pamphlet or looking at a billboard while walking through the street''.

Mr English's concern has drawn sympathy from Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who said there was sense in allowing a business address _ such as a party or candidate's office _ to be used as an alternative. He said it was an issue an independent review of electoral issues _ which is due to begin this year _ could consider.

The previous law allowed company addresses and post office boxes to be used in the authorising statements for election advertisements.

Mr Williams said the law was changed in response to the Exclusive Brethren campaign in the last election.

It was to prevent groups disguising their identity by giving post office numbers or vacant lots as addresses.

The issue of home addresses on election advertisements has already caused a problem this year after 21-year-old Andrew Moore decided to take down his anti-Labour website after the Electoral Commission demanded he put his address on it.

Mr Moore _ whose cellphone number was on the site _ said he was reluctant to put his family's home address on it for security reasons.

Electoral Commission chief executive Helena Catt said no concerns had been raised with them from parties about the requirement for a personal address. She said the commission would be unable to change the situation because it was written in the law.

A change to the requirement before the election is unlikely because it would require a law change.

The review of electoral law is not expected to make recommendations until at least April 2009.

Minister of Justice Annette King is expected to announce the independent panel to carry out the review early this year.

The New Zealand Herald


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