The Conservative Party is claiming another legal victory,
following a decision by the Electoral Commission to reshuffle
the broadcasting funding and air time - even though the party
is getting less than it had asked for.
The re-allocation, announced today, is because the Alliance
Party failed to submit a party list, while the Expat and
Truth Freedom Justice parties did not register in time.
Their funding and air time for closing addresses has now been
given to all other parties except for Act, which missed out
on the basis that its sole MP John Banks had resigned after
being convicted for knowingly filing a false electoral
The Conservative Party has now dropped its legal action
against the commission. Today's decision means it will
receive an extra 10 seconds and $667, proportionately more
air time but fewer dollars than other minor parties including
the Maori Party, Internet-Mana and United Future.
The National Party has been given an extra 45 seconds for its
closing address, as well as an additional $11,673. Labour has
gained 40 seconds and $10,191.
In taking court action, Conservative leader Colin Craig
argued the party was entitled to more money than the Act
Party. He also challenged the commission's authority to
determine the order of opening and closing addresses.
He hailed today's decision as a victory, even though the
re-allocation fell short of the extra air time and money he
had asked for - 15 seconds and $2500.
Act still has more funding and air time than the
Conservatives. The commission also declined to change the
order for the closing address.
Nonetheless Mr Craig said he was "pretty happy".
"We weren't in any doubt that we were on strong ground, but
it's always nice to have that confirmed by changes the
Electoral Commission has made, and their acknowledgement of
the issues that we put forward,"
"They've come up with a new variation which acknowledges all
our points. There's no doubt from our perspective that this
is a win, and other parties got extra as well, and we always
expected that would be the case."
He said he had sunk "several thousands" into his court case.
"That's not an unreasonable amount, and the Electoral
Commission have agreed to a variation, which means we haven't
had to go to an expensive court hearing."
Mr Craig has previously won a legal battle to be included in
the televised minor leaders' debate. He also has a defamation
case against Green co-leader Russel Norman, which is unlikely
to be heard until after the election.
- by Derek Cheng of the NZ Herald