Craig denies the allegations.
At a press conference on Monday, John Stringer alleged Craig had left more than $7000 of campaign spending off his electoral return.
The amount would have put Craig over the permitted spending cap, Stringer claims. …
According to Stringer, the group estimated Craig had under-reported his spending by about $7000.
Adding Craig’s unreported spending would put him $2000 over the election expenses spending cap of $25,700 including GST, for all parties, Stringer claimed.
There may or may not be substance to these claims. They should be investigated, but the key issues are three-fold:
- Were these expenses declared either on the electorate or party expense return?
- If they were declared on the party return, were they a Vote Conservative expense rather than a Vote Colin Craig in East Coast Bays expense?
- Were they apportioned to another electorate?
Candidates are allowed to apportion some of their local costs to the party vote campaign. If a billboard promotes both yourself and the party, then you tend to split the cost 50/50.
It gets slightly more complicated if the candidate is the party leader. Their photo is on the party vote billboards also. However I’m sure a party vote billboard of John Key is not treated as an expense for Helensville even if it located in Helensville.
Basically it will come down to what was actually said on the advertising material Stringer is highlighting, whether it was included in the party vote return or electorate returns, and if doing so was correct.