Labour are dancing on the head of a pin for the funding of their Auckland
campaign “Outreach” office.
Labour leader Andrew Little has defended the taxpayer-funded salary of a top Labour campaign strategist, saying he will not be campaigning.
Rather, chief of staff Matt McCarten will be paid out of Little’s taxpayer-funded leader’s budget to run a new Auckland office, from which he will manage Little’s “public outreach” programme.
Asked to describe the difference to campaigning, Little said his weekly outreach work programme involved “meeting with all sorts of people, right across New Zealand”.
Little’s Leader’s Budget is provided by Parliamentary Services to help fund his parliamentary duties as the Leader of the Opposition.
That does include consulting with the electorate, and communicating certain parts of the party’s policies with the public.
Dancing on the head of a pin. It’s a campaign office and I’ll lay money on it the by-election in Mt Roskill will be run out of it and that election year campaign meetings will be held in the office.
But it’s against the rules for any taxpayer funds to be used for campaigning or electioneering on behalf of the party, or soliciting membership or donations.
The leader’s office is sub-leased from the Labour Party and Little confirmed party campaign work will be happening in a “different section of the office”.
Oh the old “Chinese Walls” malarky lawyers use…sneaky, furtive and bullshit.
Little gave an assurance his party was working within New Zealand’s stringent campaign funding rules.
But he said he did not know if McCarten had wider employment arrangements with the Labour Party itself.
Why not, he’s the leader?
That was in response to a question over whether he could be partly paid by both the Leader’s Budget and the Labour Party, to allow for a crossover of work – an arrangement the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson works under.
Obfuscation…for a start Labour has no money to even part pay McCarten. So that’s a lie right there.
Asked if he could guarantee outreach work, and campaign work would not become one and the same thing during an election campaign, Little said he was “constantly in outreach”.
“In an election year, you do outreach and you do campaigning.”
Little said he was very clear on the rules.
“What I’m going to be concentrating most on actually are the issues New Zealanders are most concerned about right now.
“And I’m going to be making sure that next year’s campaign is going to be squarely focused on the failures of this Government to ensure people are getting the basics of good housing, good education good health and safe communities,” he said.
“I know the level of scrutiny that is applied to Parliamentary Services funding.
“We are always looking to make sure that we are well within the rules, not just the written word but the spirit of it as well – and that would continue to apply in every appointment I make, in every activity that I do.”
Here’s the problem. There is actually no scrutiny of Parliamentary Services funding because parliamentary Services is not subject to the Official Information Act. So his line about scrutiny is bullshit.
If National did this you’d be hearing Labour MPs shrieking from the rafters.
They will get caught out, mark my words.