REVEALED: SPEAKER'S WARNING TO LABOUR ON TAXPAYER FUNDED CAMPAIGNING
25 FEBRUARY 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Taxpayers’ Union is blowing the whistle on apparent misuse of taxpayer funded Parliamentary resources by the Labour Party. It is releasing an a letter from the Speaker, Rt. Hon. David Carter, to the Taxpayers' Union, after it raised questions about the Labour Party's use of Parliamentary funding.
The concerns raised with the Speaker came after an email was sent by Paul Chalmers, the Project Manager at Labour House, to Labour’s Auckland supporters detailing how Andrew Little had opened an Auckland office that will be "the centre of the Labour and progressive movement in Auckland and the place to co-ordinate the local government and General Election campaigns."
“It appears that Andrew Little and his MPs are pooling together taxpayer resources to open a campaign office in central Auckland for the Party and Phil Goff’s campaign for the Auckland mayoralty," says Taxpayers' Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams.
The Speaker has confirmed that the Parliamentary Service will be monitoring Mr Little's spending and has written to him setting out the rules for taxpayer funded out-of-Parliament offices.
Mr Williams says, “We’ve expressed concern before that Mr Goff intends to be paid as an MP in Wellington, while he is campaigning for a new job in Auckland. This letter from the Speaker suggests that he too is concerned with MP’s taxpayer funded resources being misused for political purposes in Auckland.”
"While it is good news that the Speaker has written to Mr Little as a result of the Taxpayers' Union bringing this to the Speaker's attention, this sort of behaviour is precisely why Parliament should be subject to the Official Information Act. MP's offices should be subject to the same transparency as every other public body which spends our money."
In 2005 the Electoral Commission referred Labour to the Police after finding that the Party had spent $446,000 of taxpayer money on pledge cards, as part of their election campaign in the lead up to the general election that year.
The original email, and the correspondence between the Speaker and the Taxpayers' Union is available here.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
021 762 542
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is an independent and membership-driven activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power.
The Taxpayers' Union operates a 24 hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Representatives are available on (04) 282 0302.
High resolution images and logos are available on request or online at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/resources