Spin, spin, spin, spin

August 15th, 2006 at 6:00 am by David Farrar

Good God Clark is trying to spin the issue of the pledge cards so badly, she could set herself up as a wind turbine and power a few hundred homes. Where do we start, with her quotes in the NZ Herald

As much as $350 million spent by all parliamentary political parties over 16 years may be implicated in the Auditor-General’s report:

Okay the PM would have us think the Auditor-General is an insane maniac who has come up with some impossible new rule, which invalidates a third of a billion of expenditure. She is wanting people to fall for the TINA trap – There Is No Alternative but to change the law because gee whiz you can’t have $350 million paid back.

The Auditor-General has not said all expenditure during the three months he audited was illegal. In fact if you take away ’s spending, then I would say less than 5% of expenditure has been found to be illegal. And that is at the time where you might expect it to be worse.

She sought to distance parties from any blame in the funding row, saying that the dispute, in essence, was between the Auditor-General and the Parliamentary Service – the bureaucracy that administers Parliament.

Most parties, during the three months that AG audited, had 90 – 99% of their expenditure approved as okay. Just one party – Labour – has had a massive amount found not to be okay. Don Brash managed to not spend a cent illegally, while Helen Clark’s bill is reputed to be not just $450,000 but I hear as high as one million dollars!

“What I am taking exception to … is any inference that our party set out to break rules. Absolutely not. People set out to work within the rules.”

As you read this, remember that three weeks before the election they were informed by the Chief Electoral Officer he considered their pledge cards to be election advertising. Even worse they then promised the CEO that they would include them in their return of election expenses and reneged on that promise once they had been re-elected.

She also firmly backed the concept of transparent state funding of political parties as the best outcome from the debacle.

If Helen is not allowed to steal funds for her re-election campaign, then she will legislate to legalise such theft in future.

“It should be remembered that one of the reasons the National Party is so sanctimonious about the last three months of the election campaign is that it had vast amounts of money from the Exclusive Brethren and very large corporates.”

Translation: We couldn’t raise as much money legally as National, so we used the taxpayer instead.

Also remember that her party had a $500,000 donation from a foreign billionaire. And she dares to talk about vast amounts of money.

Oh I’ve just seen that the NZ Herald article itself also labels Clark’s meanderings as spin, and helpfully provides their own translations. I didn’t even realise that when I started reading the article. The claim that $350 million is at risk was so obviously an outrageous spin, that I started blogging at that point!

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