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Electoral Commission decision bizarre

18 September 2008

Electoral Commission decision bizarre

The Electoral Commission's decision to refer my E-News publication to the police as breaching the Electoral Finance Act is bizarre, Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton said today.

After almost three months of deliberation, the commission this evening published a decision saying the publication was an election advertisement.

"I am extremely surprised by this as the alleged "publication" is just a collection of press releases sent to people who asked for it to be emailed to them – these are press releases published as part of my normal business as an MP and a Cabinet Minister. The only change in the press releases is that they are compiled in a bundle and issued at one time to people who have requested them.

"There is no doubt as to their purpose – to inform people who have asked for information – and no doubt as to their author – myself, as I am identified clearly in the email address, the masthead of the publication, and quoted throughout the publication. As they are press releases, made in the course of my role as an MP and as Cabinet Minister, they are statements either of fact or of my policy position.

"I think the commission is taking a view of the Electoral Finance Act that will not stand up to any reasonablel scrutiny and is an extraordinary waste of everyone's time."

Jim Anderton said he would vigorously defend his position.

ENDS

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