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Labour wanted taxpayers to fund its campaign

Bill English MP
National Party Deputy Leader

06 August 2008

Labour wanted taxpayers to fund its campaign

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says official documents reveal that at the last minute, Labour ditched a plan that would have forced taxpayers to pay for its election campaign.

“Cabinet signed off on a system that would have allocated parties $2 for every vote they received up to 20% of the vote, and then $1 for every vote up to 30%.

“That would mean Labour was planning to allocate itself around $1.1 million of taxpayer money for the administration of the Labour Party.”

The revelation was contained in a long-delayed Official Information Act request on the Electoral Finance Act released just yesterday.

“On 14 May 2007, Cabinet miraculously decided to rescind its previous decision to introduce state funding, even though the budget bid for the money had been approved.

“That funding was for $3.1 million, rising to $3.6 million.

“Having abandoned their attempts to get taxpayers to formally fund political parties, Helen Clark and Labour have set about covertly spending taxpayer money on their campaign anyway.

“Just yesterday, National revealed that for the first time the Labour Party General Secretary has admitted that Labour is using taxpayer funding to pay for its election advertising.

“It’s clear that Labour is doing exactly what it did in 2005, when it was caught red-handed spending taxpayer money on its election campaign.

“It retrospectively changed the law to make that unlawful spending legal, even though the Labour Party said before the election it would include the money in its official election spending cap.

“Having failed in its bid to get taxpayers to officially fund their campaign, Labour is now doing it on the quiet.”

ENDS

Attached: Cabinet Papers released under the Official Information Act - 8 pages. (PDF)

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