Labour's Pledge card rort re-visited

Labout twice used a pledge card to advertise their promises, they twice used the taxpayer to fund it, though they really stepped out of line in 2005 and spent over $800,000 of taxpayers money. The VRWC mounted a campaign and even made a song to make them pay it back.

After they got caught though Labour retrospectively validated their spending in a particularly egregious piece of legislating. They passed the legislation so that Darnton v. Clark wouldn’t proceed. At the time I blogged at how appalling this would be and how the fox being in charge of the hen house was simply leading to the corrupting of politics and state funding of election campaigns by stealth. Their bill was effectively the creation of public funding of political parties by stealth:

The bill extends until 2009 the current laws which allow MPs to use parliamentary funds for “communications” – such as advertisements and pamphlets – as long as they do not explicitly tout for votes, donations or party memberships.

However, it goes further than current law – effectively authorising public funds to be used for publications such as Labour’s 2005 pledge card, which the Auditor-General deemed to break the rules for parliamentary funded advertisements at the last election.

At that time National opposed the bill but upon entering government had Simon Power do a deal with the devil to extend the rules in 2009. This was an appalling mistake on National’s part, one they are suffering the consequences of now.

You have to give Labour credit though. When they re-wrote the law books to validate what was once illegal they had the fore-thought to predict they would again be in opposition and so wrote the rules so they could back a truck up and fill it with our cash for them to spend on their advertising. Then they pushed for bi-partisan agreement and got their tame Nat, Simon Power, to help them.

This election has seen a broke Labour really stretch the rules. They are essentially running Pledge Card 3.0, the scale is vast. Yesterday I blogged about their latest mailout to the country which is funded by Parliamentary Services. Like their online ads it is authorised by Rick Barker and carries the Parliamentary seal in a small format which is against the rules. Not only that though, the brochure asks voter to go to their new website which is alternatively authorised by Chris Flat the party general secretary. Labour do this because parliamentary services isn’t paying for the website, the party is.

David Farrar has likewise noticed the sheer scale of what Labour are attempting. Quite simply they are broke and they think they can pick the taxpayers pockets to fund their election campaign.

So, Labour is spending vast amounts of tax payer money on brochures and on online ads that are designed to send people to a campaign website asking them to vote Labour. Of course the politicians wrote the rules so it is unlikely that this breaches the intent of the law but it certainly breaches the spirit. They are using public funds to campaign and they are doing it all before August 26 before the tap gets turned off.

Given that this is their second mail out to the country and they are plastering their online ads all over high traffic sites it is highly likely that the spending far exceeds the $800,000 that Labour stole from us in 2005. They are probably well over $1million spent.

I ask readers to send me examples of Labour advertising via email tot he tipline with details of dates and location. For each piece I receive I will lay a complaint with either the Speaker or the Electoral Commission or both if warranted. This egregious theft of public moneys for party political broadcasts must end.

 


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