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PM’s office may be in breach of election law

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

12 June 2008

PM’s office may be in breach of election law

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says Helen Clark’s office may be in breach of the Electoral Finance Act after all over the production and distribution of a tax-funded election advertisement.

“Comments made by Labour to the media confirm the controversial election advertisement was entirely the work of the Labour Leader’s office. That means the Labour Leader’s office has become a separate promoter of election advertisements, and should be registered as a third party.”

Mr English says anyone who intends to spend more than $12,000 in election year to promote a particular party has to register as a third party.

“Helen Clark’s Leader’s office is not exempt. Her office should be held to account for its failure to register as a third party. This is a serious breach of the Electoral Finance Act.”

Mr English says Labour has confirmed it thinks the pamphlet is an election advertisement, because it has included a party authorisation. The Party has since confirmed the pamphlet was entirely the work of the Labour Leader’s office.

“That raises real questions about whether her office should be registered alongside union groups and others who plan to spend more than $12,000 in election year promoting a particular party.”

Mr English says Helen Clark’s attempts to distance herself from the pamphlet are not credible.

“Her photograph and her signature is on it. Whatever happened to the 1999 promise in relation to the pledge card, ‘my signature is on it. I am accountable for it’?”

Mr English says he plans to write to the Electoral Commission seeking an opinion on the question of whether Helen Clark’s office should legally be registered as a third party.

“Those who breach the third party rules are subject to a maximum penalty of $10,000. It’s not an inconsequential matter.”


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