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Whistle BlownOn Labour's Election Hoarding Rort

Hon Dr Nick Smith

National Party Environment and Local Government Spokesman

8 November 2004

Nats blow whistle on Labour's election hoarding rort

Labour's proposal to fast-track laws through Parliament this week to allow election hoardings to be put anywhere, providing the Labour Cabinet approves of their colour, design and layout, is an election rort and an abuse of power," says National's Environment and Local Government spokesman Nick Smith.

Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker has proposed amendments to the Electoral Matters Bill that would specifically exempt election hoardings from all Acts of Parliament and council by-laws. The proposal is in the form of a Supplementary Order Paper to be tabled tomorrow with the intention of passing through all stages this week without any public submissions or select committee input.

"The proposed law is breathtaking in its arrogance and is all about Labour writing the electoral laws to suit itself for next year's election," Dr Smith says.

"It is wrong that this proposed law change lets MPs and political parties ride roughshod over the resource management, transport, reserves and other signage laws that everyone else has to comply with. It is so selective it does not even include local election signs.

"It is outrageous that Labour wants to give itself the power to determine the colour, design and layout of hoardings. The Labour Cabinet could quite lawfully require that all election hoardings are red!

"The law change specifically includes signs on public and private property without even specifying that landowner consent is required. It could be interpreted as allowing the Labour Party to put Helen Clark hoardings on anybody's front lawn if it wished. It certainly would allow hoardings in national parks, council parks, on footpaths and road reserves without any local say.

"There is a case for reforming the laws governing temporary signs like election hoardings, but this proposal is an election rort of breathtaking proportions and must be abandoned," Dr Smith said.

Ends

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