Police to Investigate John Key? | The Jackal

1 Aug 2011

Police to Investigate John Key?

Recently I wrote about National being in breach of privacy laws and abusing Parliamentary Services concerning them attaining the address details of pensioners, and targeting that group with electioneering material.

John Key's Communications Manager Willy Trolove pointed out that it was John Key himself who had sent the electioneering advertisement directly to pensioners, through Parliamentary Services, and not the National party.

It's a bit of a grey area, as the electioneering material contained a link to National's website, promoted National's policies and had their logo. I was happy that Willy Trolove made the distinction though, as it's the facts that I'm interested in. Three week's ago I again wrote to Willy Trolove:
"I'm specifically requesting information on how you were able to separate the pensioners details from the general public's details as contained in the electoral roll?"
However the only answer I've received is that the pensioners details were obtained from the electoral roll, which does not answer my specific question. Willy Trolove is now ignoring my emails and requests for information. When Trolove was responding, he informed me that the letter:
"Has been approved for a parliamentary purpose in accordance with the Parliamentary Service Act. In compliance with that act, the content of the letter is neither electioneering nor campaign material."
In my opinion, the material was electioneering and campaign material. I was concerned that the National party was abusing their position of power and unhappy that John Key had persuaded Parliamentary Services to disregarded procedure as clearly defined within various Parliamentary Acts.

It's not acceptable to undertake such an electioneering advertisement at the expense of the taxpayer, when it's strictly prohibited. So I wrote to the Electoral Commission to gain their opinion on the material in question. They responded:
"The Electoral Commission’s view is that the letter would appear to meet the test of being an “election advertisement” for the purpose of the Electoral Act."
The Electoral Act states:
Meaning of election advertisement 

(1) In this Act, election advertisement -

(a) means an advertisement in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to do either or both of the following: 

(i) to vote, or not to vote, for a type of candidate described or indicated by reference to views or positions that are, or are not, held or taken (whether or not the name of the candidate is stated): 

(ii) to vote, or not to vote, for a type of party described or indicated by reference to views or positions that are, or are not, held or taken (whether or not the name of the party is stated).
Therefore in the opinion of the Electoral Commission, John Key et al is in breach of the Electoral Act and therefore the Parliamentary Services Act, which has the same criteria set out to determine what is electioneering and/or campaign material.

John Key's and National's election advertisement was published within the regulated period, therefore the taxpayer should not fund it. I have requested that the Electoral Commission refer the matter of John Key and National's abuse of Parliamentary Services to the Police.