INDEPENDENT NEWS

Labour exploits loophole in election law

Published: Wed 22 Oct 2008 08:49 AM
Labour exploits loophole in election law
National Party Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee says New Zealanders will not be surprised to learn that Helen Clark is still trying to exploit electoral laws.
“Labour has been spending a fortune on ‘parliamentary’ advertising, which has actually cleared the hazy hurdles in the Electoral Finance Act – and is, in fact, completely legal.
“But these are not just postcards or letters that Labour is spending your taxes on. They are 50 page booklets that feature the smiley face of whoever your local Labour electorate MP is.
“This is allowed under the Electoral Finance Act, even so close to the election, because Labour deliberately widened the definition of what it could do with taxpayer funding when it was railroading the election laws into place by a slim majority.
“Of course, this parade of taxpayer-funded material puts any challenger who is not in Parliament at a distinct disadvantage because they are allowed to spend only $20,000 for the entire year.
“This is a blatant attempt by Helen Clark to get around her own laws and leave the taxpayer to pick up the bill. Their actions give lie to their stated intentions.”
Mr Brownlee says National accepts that the ‘Over 60s’ booklet does not solicit votes, but it does list a number of things, including the impact of this year’s tax cuts on the pension.
“It’s the sheer volume of material this close to an election that will have the public scratching their heads.”
Mr Brownlee says Labour will be delighted that the Electoral Finance Act has caused so much confusion and silenced those who can’t afford to get legal advice.
“Our democracy is poorer for it. Labour has screwed the scrum in its favour with self-serving laws that have allowed it to silence challengers while its own tax-funded spending binge continues.”
ends

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