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National announces GST solution

Judy Kirk
National Party President

22 November 2006

National announces GST solution

The National Party has announced it will withdraw the Member's Bill enabling its GST debts to media organisations to be paid and instead make donations of media advertising time to charities.

National Party President Judy Kirk announced today the party would give up its attempt to rectify the matter by legislation.

"We want to get some closure on the matter and have taken extensive legal advice on our options, including advice from Bill Wilson QC.

"We have secured clear advice that it would be unlawful to pay the five outstanding media creditors, and that it would be unlawful for them to accept payment. We do not wish to break the law, and nor do we wish to place our creditors in the position of breaking the law.

"With the prospect of legislation diminishing, it's time to accept that National cannot go down that path.

"We strongly reject the assertion by some commentators that it would be appropriate for us to make payments we know to be unlawful, and face conviction. As the party which intends to be the government in two years' time, and having criticised the Labour Party for intentionally breaching the campaign spending cap, we are anxious to avoid any breach of the law.

"However, the party is anxious not to profit from the honest mistake that was made. We have therefore decided to spend an amount similar to the outstanding $112,000 debt to buy TV and radio time for a range of charities.

"In order to avoid dragging any charities into this dispute, and to avoid any impression that we wish to benefit in promotional terms from this initiative, we will purchase the media advertising time directly from broadcasters and ask that they allocate it amongst the range of charities currently supported by each.

"National genuinely regrets the GST mistake. Given the massive expenditure of taxpayers' funds on Labour's campaign that was identified by the Auditor-General, we are satisfied that this error had no impact on the election result."

ENDS

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