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Labour's double-dipping democracy stinks



7 October 2008

Labour's double-dipping democracy stinks

Family Party leader Richard Lewis says tax-funded campaign booklets being distributed by Labour MP's to voters makes a farce of New Zealand's election system.

Labour is exploiting a loophole by sending out taxpayer-funded material adorned with its MPs' smiling faces that doesn't have to be declared as election spending. Its information touches on policy successes of the Labour-led Government, such as the SuperGold Card. As the booklet is not deemed an advert by the Chief Electoral Office, the costs do not count against the $20,000 limit set down by the Electoral Finance Act for each candidate.

"Based on a November 8 Election, the Electoral Finance Act has forced Family Party candidates to work within a measly budget of $64 per day. Labour candidates on the other hand, are putting out flash 50-page brochures without a single cent costing against their electorate campaigns. What makes it even harder to swallow is that we, the tax payer, are being forced to pay for it," says Mr Lewis.  

The booklet has been made available to all Labour MPs but the Parliamentary Service would not disclose to the NZ Herald how many had been printed or at what cost.

"I'd like to think we're involved in a fair democratic system. But under these rules we're not. The EFA serves only the interests of the Labour Party, which is clearly desperate to hold on to power at any cost. Their double-dipping democracy stinks," he added.



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