Politicians would be able to use taxpayers money
illegitimately for election advertising if proposed
legislation changes go ahead, an academic says.
The Parliamentary Services Amendment Bill seeks to define how
MPs can use public money.
Otago University political sociologist Bryce Edwards said the
bill would allow MPs to use taxpayer money for political
The bill restricts what parliamentary parties can spend money
on in the three months before an election, but not the rest
of the term.
"Thus while the bill is ostensibly about fixing the problem
of illegitimate state funding of political parties it
actually achieves nothing of the sort while making the
problem worse," Dr Edwards said.
The limitations would allow parliamentary-funded advertising
for MPs during most of the parliamentary term, he said.
Former Labour Party general secretary Mike Smith said the
restrictions would run from when the prime minister called an
election and could allow the governing party to use taxpayer
money for election advertising before the election was
"It's perfectly possible for a parliamentary party to
advertise with state funding and then stop take the
(parliamentary) crest off on the day the prime minister
announces the election, stick the party secretary's name on
it and run the ad...the only difference is the taxpayer paid
for it up until the date the prime minister announced the
election," he told Parliament's electoral legislation
"The parliamentary political party does use state funding for
advertising for political purposes, it's part of the role of
Right-wing blogger, and former National staffer, David
Farrar, said banning any publications that promote a party or
MP that were paid for with public money during the entire
parliamentary term would not work.
Every parliamentary publication contains political
communication, he said.