“The Prime Minister must commit to ending the taxpayer-funded ‘Unite for Recovery’ campaign when New Zealand enters the pre-election period on Friday,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“For the Government to promote its own vision for the Covid-19 recovery with taxpayer money during an election campaign is totally unacceptable and breaches the Cabinet rules and government advertising guidelines.
“The Cabinet Manual reads:
‘Successive governments, however, have chosen to restrict their actions’… ‘from about three months before the general election is due…’ and ‘…government advertising has been considered inappropriate during the election campaign, due to the heightened risk of a perception that public funds are being used to finance publicity for party political purposes.’
“We will be three months from election day on Friday. Will Labour follow the rules? Or will it use taxpayer money to boost its election campaign?
“The Guidelines for Government Advertising go on to say:
‘Government advertising should be presented in a manner which is…free from partisan promotion of government policy.’
“The ‘Unite for the Recovery’ website promotes at least a dozen new Labour Government Covid-19 programmes, a clear breach of the guidelines.
“More generally, the overnight shift from ‘Unite Against Covid-19’ to ‘Unite for the Recovery’ shows Ardern and Labour will stay in crisis management mode for as long as possible.
“Labour doesn’t want the crisis to end. It has managed to control the narrative, the people and the polls.
“Labour is desperate to avoid a return to normal politics. That would mean having to talk about its failings on child poverty, housing and infrastructure.
“But it must move beyond a crisis mentality and articulate a clear, coherent plan for the economy.
“Grant Robertson’s outline of the Government’s economic plan this morning was totally one-dimensional and focussed solely on throwing money at our problems.
“There was not a single mention of using the tax system or regulation to boost the economy. There is nothing about using innovative technology to reopen the border.
“New Zealanders are deeply anxious about jobs and debt and require certainty from the Government.
“Only ACT has produced a clear, comprehensive 6-point plan to reduce taxes and red tape, boost economic growth, offer new job opportunities, and use innovative technology to create the world’s smartest borders, all while taking on less debt.”