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Will Labour declare tax-funded ads for election?

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

11 June 2008

Will Labour declare tax-funded ads as election expense?

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says it appears Helen Clark is back to her old tricks in relation to electioneering on the taxpayer purse.

“In the interests of transparency and openness, Helen Clark must say whether the reports are correct, and Labour’s latest new tax-funded election ads will be included in the party’s election spending cap.”

Mr English is referring to a post-Budget advertising campaign for the Labour Party which has been paid for from the same fund that the pledge card was.

“The illegal pledge card spending was made legal with retrospective legislation. It was only a matter of time before Labour used the loophole it created to resume campaigning on the public purse.

“Having clamped down on critics with the self-serving Electoral Finance Act, Labour’s strategy now enters its next phase - spending taxpayer money attempting to get re-elected.”

Mr English says a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister has said Labour will include the election advertising in its electoral cap.

“But that’s exactly what Labour said last time. It was a lie.”

Mr English is referring to the broken promise Labour made to the Electoral Commission before the last election, to include the pledge card spending in its cap, only to change its mind after taking office.

“And we’ve heard that promise once before this year already, in relation to the ‘We’re Making a Difference’ pamphlet, which was in breach of the law.”

Papers released by National show that even though Labour publicly appear to accept the Electoral Commission ruling, its officials are still opposing it behind the scenes.

“That part of the law doesn’t suit Labour, they will promise to include the spending in their cap, but their track record in this area doesn’t bode well.”


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