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The door is open for election law rorts

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

4 April 2008

The door is open for election law rorts

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says the Electoral Commission’s decision to allow a Labour Party affiliate to register as a third party makes a mockery of election spending limits.

"The Electoral Finance Act quite sensibly says that if you are involved in the affairs of a political party, you cannot set yourself up as a third party and spend money on a parallel advertising campaign.

“In a bizarre interpretation of this law, the Electoral Commission has said that this provision applies only to individual people acting alone, not to groups.

"That means the door is wide open for groups like Young Labour, Rainbow Labour and every Labour Party branch to register as an ‘independent’ third party, with each spending up to $120,000 on election advertising. And none of this spending would count against Labour's election spending cap.

"Already this week, Labour has been found to be using taxpayers' money to pay for election advertisements.

“Michael Cullen confirmed that Labour won't be including this spending in its election return, or counting it against its spending cap.

"We have no problem with organisations, including unions, exercising free speech in election year, but a group closely affiliated to a political party should not be able to register as a third party."


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