We’re Paying For Budget Brochure

They just don’t learn do they? In spite of Labour’s contention the pledge card (remember the one they spent our money on illegally then changed the law to make it legal in retrospect?) was just a belt-way issue when it wasn’t they’re snubbing their noses at public opinion again – spending our money on their budget brochure.

Labour is dipping into taxpayers’ money to produce leaflets on the May Budget – publicity that is almost certainly election advertising under its new Electoral Finance Act and will have to be counted in its election expenses.

That means large sums of public money will again have gone towards a Labour election campaign. The cost of the leaflet may also have to be declared as a donation by Parliament to the Labour Party under the troublesome new law, which is not how Labour intended it to work.

Oh dear – they’re having problems with their own bad law.

The leaflet does not breach Parliament’s own spending laws because they have been liberalised and it does not breach the Electoral Finance Act because it is authorised. But there may be a post-election sting in it for Labour.

The party will almost certainly have to declare the leaflet in its election expenses return to the Electoral Commission and deduct its cost from its $2.4 million cap.

Wellington electoral law specialist Graeme Edgeler said last night the leaflet met the definition of election advertisement under the Electoral Finance Act.

“It doesn’t say vote Labour, but that is the clear implication.”

It had party colours, the Labour logo, and the party’s tax-cut promises this year and in the future. He did not believe it could be considered under the exception given to an MP producing material in their capacity as MP.

“This is a Labour Party promotional leaflet.”  It was “almost certainly” an election advertisement and as such should be declared in the party’s expenses.

And as such will almost certainly rile voters who also happen to be taxpayers who don’t like their money spent on political partys’ self-promotion.

5 Responses to We’re Paying For Budget Brochure

  1. rayinnz says:

    And the picture on the leaflet is a stock one featuring “shock horror” Americans
    Blogger Skinny ratted this one out

    Can we trust these people to run a piss up in a brewery let alone a country?

    Answers on a plain envelope please

  2. truthseekernz says:

    I’d have no issues with a leaflet from the IRD letting people know of tax changes that affect them, but putting party logos all over government information wasn’t very bright. Of course it looks like election material.

    It would have been more subtle – and effective – to highlight the benefits of government policy in a flatly informative IRD pamphlet without blowing their own party political horn so obviously. People would know where it came from without having to be told.

  3. truthseekernz says:

    I should say the way Canadians get around this is to alter the colour of government materials. When the Liberals are in power, goverment documents tend to have a lot of red on them. When the Conservatives are running things, you see a lot of blue. When the NDP are on the Treasury benches (mainly in provincial parliaments), burnt orange is everywhere.

  4. inventory2 says:

    Graeme Edgeler knows more about the EFA and its application than the vast majority of us. If he believes that this brochure is “a Labour Party promotional leaflet”, and that it is “almost certainly” an election advertisement, that’s good enough for me!

    I note too that Labour is still using the “photoshopped Helen” image of elections past. They should expect lots of attention for their continued use of this image, for reasons which don’t need to be spelt out!

  5. inventory2 says:

    Keeping Stock reports on Bill English’s response to this – that Helen Calrk’s office has breached the EFA

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