- Date published:
1:06 pm, March 19th, 2009 - 10 comments
Categories: election 2008, election funding - Tags: act, council of trade unions, david farrar, ema, epmu, family first, national, psa, sensible sentencing trust, third parties
The Electoral Commission has released the third party spending returns for the 2008 election campaign and it looks like for all National and ACT’s fears that the $120,000 third party cap would stop groups from being able to express themselves, only the Council of Trade Unions came close with a spend of around $100k.
Other unions spent a relative pittance, and make a mockery of National’s line that the Electoral Finance Act was designed so that unions could spend millions on behalf of Labour. Seems it was just PR all along. The only other significant union spend was from the PSA, which ran a strongly focused issues campaign on protecting public services. And all that fuss from National over the EPMU’s registration was over the grand sum of $5,690.
What I find interesting is the lack of right-wing third parties on that list. The EMA, for example, placed huge ads in the paper yet they’ve neither registered nor bothered to account for them. And, true to their word, the Sensible Sentencing Trust doesn’t appear to have registered either. I’d be very interested to find out how much those two organisations spent on getting National and ACT elected.
Strangely, Family First is listed on the Electoral Commission website as filing a nil return, yet when you open their PDF it shows more than $40,000 of spending on pamphlets and newspaper advertising. I could be reading this entirely wrong, so if anyone can explain it to me I’d appreciate it.
And I should also give some kudos to David Farrar. Even though his Free Speech Coalition was set up to oppose the EFA on behalf of National, he still registered under the Act and followed the law precisely, filing a return of $29,491. Credit where credit’s due and all that.