An end to taxpayer funded pledge cards

April 16th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Over at NBR (subscriber section) I blog:

Documents released under the Official Information Act this week reveal that both the Cabinet and the Parliamentary Service Commission have approved a law change to amend the Parliamentary Service Act 2000, to prevent a repeat of electioneering materials such as Labour’s 2005 being funded by the taxpayer.

This will be welcome by many, especially when you realise the current law.

The current law still allows Parliament to fund blatant electioneering material so long as it does not explicitly solicit votes. A parliamentary party could spend half a million dollars on billboards and newspaper ads promoting their election promises in the week before the election, and send the taxpayer the bill – even though Parliament had been dissolved a month earlier.

I expect we will see a bill implementing the change in the next few weeks.

Full details of the proposed change are at .

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9 Responses to “An end to taxpayer funded pledge cards”

  1. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    What a pity a law hasn’t been introduced to stop all taxpayer funding of any form of electioneering.

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  2. Doug (410 comments) says:

    Labour will fight tooth and nail over this where will they get their money from, silly me the unions of course.

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  3. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    If National had the ethics of Labour, they’d back date the law and prosecute Helen Clark.

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  4. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    This will not please the Labour Party as they do not like being forced to raise money from their supporters. They use the weak excuse that Labour supporters tend to be poorer so it is harder and therefore “unfair”. Labour probably raises more money than National in about 1 election in 3. National the same and then the third election National probably raises more money but not by much. When it comes to public money the Labour Party repeatedly raides the parliamentary vote far more aggressively than National. And of course the Labour Party has access to trade union money whereas National does not. Business money goes to both though for 2/3 elections National probably gets more than Labour. It is true that National has its well healed supporters but so does Labour. So on the question of money both parties are about even.

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  5. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    We will no longer be paying for electioneering with tax dollars. RRM likes this.

    But, thanks to your blue-eyed National Government, we will instead be paying for electioneering by forfeiting very real freedoms:

    *Banning people with the wrong sort of car from certain roads, and calling them “boy racers” to appease the blue blood.
    *Removing the legal partial defence of provocation in a knee-jerk reaction to one high-profile trial.
    *Removing the legal defence of claim of right in a knee-jerk reaction to one high-profile trial
    *Public vilification of MSD’s critics, because it’s perfectly acceptable for Ministers to muck-rake rather than face issues.

    Remember, you voted ‘the socialists’ out in favour of this :-P

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  6. CJD (333 comments) says:

    There is an incredibly uneven playing field in this country. The print media as a whole appears incredibly left-leaning. I am not averse to tax money being used to inform the public. What is desirable is free access to TV and radio slots, of equal length for all parties prior to an election. There can be no real democracy under the current conditions. Those who control the media control the day. Also the media appears to have targetted certain parties and indivisuals and when they criticise long enough the perception becomes reality and the public stops voting. So in to adress the actual issue-tax money should not be used if it means only the ruling party has access to those funds.

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  7. CJD (333 comments) says:

    And PS RPM we would have voted the socialist out just for fun anyway!!

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  8. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Labour will undoubtedly retrospectively authorise public funding for whatever they spend tax payers money on prior to an election, it’s not like they haven’t done it before. So this little change of the rules is probably of no real world consequence anyway. Move on.

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  9. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    How about outlawing the airbrushing/photoshopping of politician’s photos on election banners? The pictures of Helen Clark plastered all over town during the past few election campaigns were so unlike her as to be another person. (I was wondering if they had managed to “close the gaps” in her teeth somehow.)

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