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Internal Affairs may be in breach of election law

Bill English MP National Party Deputy Leader

27 May 2008

Internal Affairs may be in breach of election law

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says the Department of Internal Affairs may be in breach of Labour's self-serving Electoral Finance Act if Crown Law advice to Treasury is reliable.

"Crown Law told Treasury to remove the words 'Labour-led Government' from Budget documents because the phrase could be in breach of election advertisement rules.

"If that is the advice, then Internal Affairs, which runs the Government's 'Beehive' website through Ministerial Services, is potentially guilty of hundreds, if not thousands, of breaches."

Government departments are specifically forbidden from publishing, or causing, or permitting to be published, electoral advertisements.

"We are now nearly halfway through the regulated election period, and no one is really sure what Labour's anti-democratic law means.

"On top of that, it appears that some of the material published by Ministerial Services may contradict the Electoral Finance Act. The law is a joke.

"Labour was determined to sow as much confusion as it could and clear the field for departmental advertising that would feature Labour Party policies. However, now it looks like that plan could have backfired, with Ministers' own material coming under scrutiny."


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