Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Labour spending up until the bitter end

While the New Zealand Parliament was formally dissolved last Friday afternoon, the Labour Party are intent on extracting every last cent out of the country before the General Election in November.

Yesterday, when high winds temporarily closed Wellington Airport, Labour leader Hillin Cluck called in the NZ Air Force, so she could attend a Grey Power meeting and visit other groups in Invercargill. The cost of a chartered flight from Ohakea to Invercargill would be around $15,000.

Critics including ACT's Deputy Leader Heather Roy have labelled the behaviour as "an abuse of her position as Prime Minister". Cluck claimed she was there as the PM rather than the Labour leader (stretching, considering Parliament has been dissolved).
Roy said the Labour leader was "there for electioneering purposes, pure and simple" and has called on Labour to pay back the air force for the cost of flights, and declare it "as an election expense under the Electoral Finance Act".

* NBR: Act lashes out at Clark's air force flight
* Stuff: PM Clark defends use of air force plane to fly to city

Meanwhile, soon to be ex-Labour MP for Dunedin South, David Benson-Pope has joined with other Labour MPs in distributing 50-page promotional booklets, labelled an "information kit for the Over 60s" around his electorate.

The orange coloured booklets feature the name and photo of the MP sending it out. Dunedin South has a high number of superannuitants, with DBP ordering 1,500 booklets.
Other Labour MPs like Phil Goff have printed up to 4,000 copies with their name and face, all paid for by Parliamentary Services (at a cost of 91c per booklet - a total of $3,640, plus postage).

It does seem to go against the whole argument for the draconian "Electoral Finance Act", and National Party deputy leader Bill English says Labour is using a loophole in the law, meaning the booklets don't have to be declared as election spending.

* ODT: Benson-Pope distributing booklet for the over-60s
* NZ Herald: Labour kit has National crying foul

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