Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Shadow Leader of the House
17 September 2008
Personal assurance sought on election ads
New Zealanders deserve a personal assurance from Helen Clark that Labour will fully account for union advertising in its electoral spending cap, says National Party Shadow Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.
He is referring to reports this morning that Labour is taking legal advice about how much trade union advertising it will have to include in its election expenses.
Mike Smith says hell work according to the law, but weve heard those assurances from him before. They came right before Labour did the opposite.
Mr Brownlee says days before the 2005 election, Mike Smith gave an assurance to the Electoral Commission that the taxpayer spending on Helen Clarks pledge card would be included in Labours cap.
But straight after the election, Labour changed its mind and introduced a post-dated law to make its unlawful spending legal. Helen Clark resisted paying any money back to the taxpayer for months.
Theres an element of déjà vu about what were hearing from Mr Smith today.
The Electoral Finance Act was a deliberate attempt to screw the scrum in Labours favour during election year.
It has successfully shut down Labours critics. The Electoral Commission confirmed as much when it said the anti-democratic law has had a chilling effect on the extent and type of participation in political and campaign activity.
Mr Brownlee says Labour was so desperate to pass the EFA that it ignored all the warnings and pressed ahead with changes having mustered together the narrowest of majorities in Parliament.
This was bad law, passed in vindictive haste. Our democracy is poorer for it.