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Labour ramps up tax funded ads in election year

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

29 April 2008

Labour ramps up tax funded ads in election year

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says Labour's plan to rort election laws by piggy backing off departmental advertising is already in full swing.

"Television viewers will have sensed that the amount of taxpayer-funded advertising is on the increase, and figures provided to National show that sense is a reality."

Mr English has produced figures from the advertising industry's rate card, which found that the Government booked at least $8 million worth of advertising in March 2008, compared with $6 million in 2007.

"Looking back at March advertising figures for the past six years, the biggest Government advertising spends came in 2005 and 2008 - election years.

"Labour has silenced its critics, who are all now busy consulting lawyers, while its departments bombard the public with a parade of information campaigns that often feature Labour policies.

"It's more than coincidence that these campaigns are suddenly ramped up in election year."

Mr English says the figures raise again the seriousness of Mike Williams' comments to the Labour Party congress.

"The reason the Labour president said using departmental handouts as part of Labour's re-election campaign was 'a damn good idea' was obviously because the party is already doing it.

"Householders will look at this sort of extravagance with disbelief as they struggle to pay for the groceries, cover their fuel bills, and meet their mortgage responsibilities."

Government advertising spend by rate card - March '03-'08

March 2003 $3,235,752 March 2004 $4,096,347 March 2005 $7,922,172 March 2006 $7,188,466 March 2007 $6,147,948 March 2008 $8,098,723 Source: Nielsen Media Research

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