ACT leader Rodney Hide makes the point that Labour’s draconian Electoral Finance Bill will cast a very wide net.
From Rodney’s Blog
Clause 5 of the Electoral Finance Act will catch the movie We’re Here to Help. Here’s what the Minister of Justice has to say about that:
Rodney Hide: Does he agree that the Electoral Finance Bill is too broad in its sweep, when South Pacific Pictures’ movie We’re Here to Help, about Dave Henderson’s fight with the Inland Revenue Department, is captured by clause 5 as “words and graphics” that will persuade voters not to vote for a particular party, especially in light of Michael Cullen’s repeated attacks under privilege on Dave Henderson, and does he not think that that is absurd, given that the Government, through the Film Commission, has poured $1.9 million of taxpayers’ money into the movie, which none the less under his bill would be declared election advertising?
Hon MARK BURTON: Perhaps the relevant part of the member’s question in particular is around clause 5(1)(a), and I would suggest in particular clause 5(1)(a)(iii), which has been the focus of a considerable number of submissions. It is, I believe, an area in which the select committee will offer its view, and I would not be surprised to see a suggested refinement to that clause. I would be happy to consider that, as I have indicated all along.
Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister MIchael Cullen refuses to retract his defamatory attacks on Dave made — of course — under privilege:
11. RODNEY HIDE (Leader–ACT) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement that Mr David Henderson, or “Hendo” is “one of the biggest and nastiest tax evaders in this country … who ran the sex industry in Christchurch and avoided tax thereon” and has he any evidence to support his claims?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN (Minister of Finance) : Mr Henderson has exercised his right to make a formal response to this House and I have no further comment to make on the matter.
Rodney Hide: How then can Dave Henderson ever get fair treatment from the Inland Revenue Department when the Deputy Prime Minister has already declared him guilty of criminal tax evasion and he has never even been charged or had any evidence produced against him, and why is the Deputy Prime Minister not big enough to apologise and say that he got it wrong?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: Under the Tax Administration Act, of course, the Inland Revenue Department must not take any instructions from Ministers on such matters, at all.
Rodney Hide: Does the Minister not find it richly ironic that the taxpayer, through the Film Commission, has put $1.9 million into a movie, We’re Here to Help, showing that the Inland Revenue Department unfairly victimised Mr Dave Henderson–a victimisation that continues to this day because of the wild allegations that were made by the Deputy Prime Minister under privilege and that to this day have not been retracted?
Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: I repeat that under the Tax Administration Act, the Inland Revenue Department must act independently and cannot be directed. The fact that the Film Commission has helped fund a film shows what a democracy this is. But I would like to quote to the member from the blurb for the film: “This film does not purport to be an accurate account of the events involving Mr Henderson and the IRD.”
So much for Michael Cullen’s respect for the truth and another peson’s reputation.