Former "perkbuster" Rodney Hide is joining other political parties in fighting the Auditor-General's view that much taxpayer-funded party advertising for last year's election was unlawful...Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Story here. Readers of this blog will remember a few other examples of ACT's 'perkbusting' campaigning being paid for by the taxpayer.
Among the examples of ACT's pre-election advertising cited by the Auditor-General in his draft ruling were newspaper spreads two days before the ballot proclaiming "What Act Brings To Parliament", and listing things the party wanted.Taxpayer money is not allowed to be used "for the purpose of supporting the election of any person or the casting of a party vote for any political party."
There's a lesson here, isn't there, for anyone who care to learn it.
UPDATE 1: A lesson too this morning from the Solicitor-General's office, courtesy of Audrey Young in the Herald:
A legal letter from the Acting Solicitor-General contradicts political parties' claims that they had approval for taxpayer-funded election spending.UPDATE 2: The letter from the Acting Solicitor-General can be found here in PDF form, courtesy of Bernard Darnton.Since the row began, Labour, New Zealand First and Act have said the Parliamentary Service - which runs Parliament - approved the payments.New Zealand First and Act say they sought prior approval from the Parliamentary Service for their taxpayer-funded election spending.And Labour leader and Prime Minister Helen Clark says the issue is essentially a dispute between the Parliamentary Service and the Auditor General.But a letter from Acting Solicitor General Cheryl Gwyn says the Parliamentary Service's job is to administer payments.It has no decision-making power and is not able to vet spending before the money is paid.
The letter, dated July 27, was written to Auckland barrister Alan Dormer.He is acting for Libertarianz Party leader Bernard Darnton, who is seeking a judicial review of the spending on Labour's election pledge card, which cost $446,000.
LINK: Soft-shoe shuffle on ACT's spending - NZ Herald
Official contradicts MPs on electoral expenses - Audrey Young, NZ Herald
RELATED: Politics-ACT, Politics-NZ, Darnton V Clark