Labour breaking the rules again

Labour are past masters at breaking rules surrounding electioneering from the tax-payers purse. They were admonished by the Auditor-General about their Working for Families bus stop adverts, they nicked $840,000 from parliamentary services that they had to pay back for Helen’s pledge card rort and this election they are at it again. (Click for larger image)

Labour flier - taxpayer funds - 2 of 2

Parliamentary Services says the following about funding for publicity:

Publicity can be funded from Vote: Parliamentary Service if it meets the rules set out in the ‘Speaker’s Directions’ (or ‘Directions and Specifications for Services and Funding Entitlements for the House of Representatives, its Members, and Former Members’). The rules require that publicity funded from Vote: Parliamentary Service:

  • has a parliamentary purpose;
  • identifies that it has been paid for by the Parliamentary Service;
  • contains contact details for the member or party responsible for the publicity;
  • does not contain inappropriate/misleading representation or descriptions of electorates; and
  • does not contain electioneering that explicitly seeks support for the re-election of a member or party, explicitly encourages party membership or explicitly solicits financial support.

These fliers definitely breach points 4 and 5.

It is blatant electioneering on the taxpayer purse – and deliberately blurs the lines between taxpayer and party funded campaigning (ie: the Let’s Not segment of the pamphlet).

Furthermore – they use ‘Campbell Live’ as a source for their food price increases – hardly a reputable source!

It claims a 20% increase from Sep 2010 to April 2011 (so actually 7 months not the 8 months they claim).

According to a more reputable source – Statistics NZ’s Food Price Index – food prices rose 3.1% between Sep 2010 and April 2011.

So they are being deliberately misleading not only on the time frame claimed but also on the actual figures. This is a clear breach of Parliamentary Services funding rules. I think it may be time for another complaint to the Speaker and to the Auditor-General.

They’re deliberately blurring the line between party funded and taxpayer funded.  Labour tries to bend the rules again.

Also I am pretty sure there are rules in the size of the crest which must be the same size as the party logo or larger.

Finally I am pretty sure that these fliers also breach Electoral Commission rules regarding authorisation statements. They are completely absent from the fliers.

If Labour cannot or as it seems in this case will not follow election rules then how can we trust them to run the country?

UPDATE: I have just received this advice from the Electoral Commission. It has apparently been sent to all political parties and therefore it shows Labour’s total disregard for all the rules.


  • All parliamentary-funded publicity you distribute which includes a political message is an election advertisement. It must include a promoter statement.
    • MP publicity must include an MP promoter statement.
    • Leader’s Office publicity must include a promoter statement.
  • Failing to include a promoter statement on an election advertisement is an offence, and subject to a fine of up to $40,000.
  • A political message is anything that “is reasonably regarded as directly or indirectly encouraging or persuading voters to vote or not to vote for a candidate or party”. A political message can be as innocuous as words like “Working for our community” because that implies a judgement about how good the MP is at their work, and can be seen as indirectly encouraging voters to vote for that MP.

Labour are clearly and demonstrably in breach of regulations.


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  • lcmortensen

    The price of food varies between areas and supermarkets.

    I did a survey of four Dunedin supermarkets in August last year to see which was the cheapest (it was Pak’n Save, but the $1.50 in savings weren’t worth the cost of travelling to South Dunedin). Last month, I took the Countdown prices from August and compared them to today – the increase was only 6.9%! (I only included dry goods – no meat or produce, or alcohol)

    Strangely, the biggest increase was sugar (26.5%), sultanas (24.3%), then butter (17.5%). Cereal, biscuits, and canned peaches also went up by over 10%. Milk and cheese were 1.4% and 1.1% respectively. Rice, pasta, hand towels (by $0.01) and toilet paper actually DECREASED in price!

  • grizz

    While there is the moral principle of following the law of the land, what annoys me most about these flyers were they were total bullshit. It is like someone went to Pak’n’Save one month and bought Pams and Budget brands, then some months later popped over to New World and filled their cart with premium brands. Campbell live is nothing more than sensational reporting. If you look at Statistics NZ, what is overlooked is the massive CPI rises when Labour were last at the helm. The high cost of living is not a phenomenon that happened overnight. It has been coming on for years.

  • emmess

    If you choose at bunch of products on special then a few months later buy those same products again, its bleedin obvious that they will be at least 20% more expensive.

  • beanyboy

    I seem to recall a few years ago that John Campbell spoke at a Labour Party conference? I may have it wrong but I am sure he did. and Mr Campbell is seriously pissed that he can’t get the PM on his show….would he skew the results?