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Jim Anderton Faces $100,000 Fine over Postcard

Jim Anderton Faces $100,000 Fine over Postcard Rort

Tuesday, August 28 2001
Rodney Hide
Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today legal advice confirmed Jim Anderton faces two $50,000 fines under the Electoral Act for his use of a taxpayer-funded postcard to drum up customers for the 'People's Bank'.

"Paying the postage back is the least of Jim Anderton's worries.

"Section 116 of the Electoral Act makes it an offence to use names and addresses obtained from the electronic electoral roll for a commercial purpose. Anyone convicted of such an offence is liable to a fine of up to $50,000.

"Section 117 of the Act makes it an offence to "process or manipulate" names electronically unless for the purposes specified in the Act. You certainly can't process or manipulate names or addresses for commercial purpose. Anyone convicted of such an offence is liable to a fine of up to $50,000.

"There is no doubt Mr Anderton's letter and postcard were for a commercial purpose. Mr Anderton wrote to New Zealanders inviting them to join his mailing list and have their say. No problem there. But he has included a postcard that can be returned to him with the box ticked that declares, "Please send me information on setting up an account at the People's Bank". His purpose here is a commercial one. He did not say, "Please send me information on the People's Bank".

"Mr Anderton has admitted publicly that in response he sends a commercial brochure prepared by New Zealand Post that advertises the "People's Bank".

"There is no doubt that the purpose is commercial.

"There is also no doubt that the electoral roll has been used in order to generate the names and addresses that the Hon Jim Anderton has written to, touting for business for New Zealand Post.

"He has said so himself. Beneath his signature on his letter dated 18 July 2001 that accompanied his postcard he writes "Names and addresses were supplied from the electoral roll".

"New Zealand Post Limited could not use the electoral roll to write to voters in this way. And neither can Mr Anderton.

"I have today written to the Registrar of Electors asking him to investigate Mr Anderton's use of the names and addresses obtained from the electoral roll for commercial purpose. I have reminded the Registrar that Mr Anderton is not above the law. I await the results of his inquiry with considerable interest," Rodney Hide said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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