The SST reports that a leaked report by the Auditor-General has found that most advertising by parliamentary political parties in the 90 days before the election was of an electioneering nature, and should be re-paid.
In fact the AG stated some advertising leading up to the 2005 election was “incontrovertibly of an electioneering nature and I can’t discern a legitimate parliamentary purpose”.
Now most parties have some very small amounts of expenditure captured by this ruling (the National Leaders Office has none, but a couple of MPs have a few thousand) but the whopper is Labour with its $446,000 on pledge cards.
Margaret Wilson’s approval of that expenditure as legitimate was always dubious, and in fact there is a lawsuit before the courts (which Labour has not yet responded to) seeking a declaration that the expenditure was illegal.
Labour face problems on two fronts. The first is that no party can easily find $450,000 to pay up. The second is it will highlight how incompetent and cowardly the Police were in not prosecuting Labour for over-spending.