Andrew Geddis tweets:
(Thread – and attention @ElectoralCommNZ). This @NZStuff story is interesting. It recounts how NZ First has changed the tax rules for the racing industry following their election time support, including advertising by Patrick Hogan (see below).https://t.co/Hcb9kDgQeE pic.twitter.com/uF5sBYfNyf
— Andrew Geddis (@acgeddis) May 19, 2018
Andrew has done a series of tweets on this. Together they read:
It recounts how NZ First has changed the tax rules for the racing industry following their election time support, including advertising by Patrick Hogan
That’s OK so far as it goes. Politics is a partly transactional business, be it Northland bridges or free tertiary study. However, the Electoral Act requires that before publishing an ad expressly calling for a vote for a political party, you must get its written permission.
If you get that permission, any spending on that ad becomes a part of the Party’s overall election expenses, and must be declared by the Party post-election. But in the case of Hogan’s ad, NZ First has made no such post-election declaration.
So, 3 possibilities … (1) The description of the ad is wrong – unfortunately, I can’t find an image of it on line to verify that it does in fact “encourage racing participants to party vote NZ First” (and so requires party authorisation).
(2) Patrick Hogan published the advertisement as described without getting the necessary authorisation in writing, thereby committing an illegal practice at the last election. This is an offence with a potential $10,000 fine.
(3) If Hogan was given the requisite authorisation by NZ First, then the party has filed a false declaration because it has failed to include the expense in its post-election declaration. That may be a corrupt or illegal practice, depending on how the failure occurred.
It goes without saying that the Electoral Commission must investigate this. NZ First has a history of filing incorrect election returns.
The advertisements backing NZ First are a de facto donation to the party, so it shows that the Budget was about rewarding their donors/supporters.
Jacinda Ardern said NZ First Ministers can’t be Minister of Fisheries due to their donations from the fishing industry. Yet she makes Winston Minister of Racing despite figures in the racing industry running advertisments campaigning for NZ First.
How can Ardern justify one situation, and not the other?