Lower Hutt businessman and Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton filed papers in the High Court this afternoon suing Helen Clark for misappropriating public funds to pay for her “pledge cards” at the last election.
The lawsuit claims that the use of the parliamentary leader’s fund to pay for the pledge card and brochure breached the Constitution Act 1986, the Public Finance Act 1989, and the Bill of Rights 1688. Darnton is calling for the High Court to make a declaration that this expenditure was illegal.
“Helen Clark is not above the law,” Darnton said. “This time she’s not going to get away with it.”
“The rules on Crown spending are very clear. All Crown spending must be authorised by Parliament. Each year Parliament must pass an Appropriations Act that details how much the Crown may spend and what it may spend it on. The money spent on the pledge cards was appropriated for the running of the leader’s office. The rules for this money explicitly exclude party political, promotional or electioneering material. It was not appropriated for election advertising and thus the spending was illegal.”
“This government seems to have forgotten who’s in charge. In a democracy, the people are in charge. The people elect a Parliament and then parliamentarians form a government. The government is the servant of the people, not their master. The appropriations rules are one of our basic constitutional protections. By ignoring the appropriations rules, this government has shown that it doesn’t care about the will of Parliament or the will of the people and is quite happy to behave like a dictatorship.”
“A declaration by the High Court that this spending was illegal will send a clear reminder to the Clark regime that they are not above the law and that they are still answerable to their master, the public.”
“I’m absolutely committed to making sure that this government doesn’t get away with breaking the law. A government that follows the rule of law is essential to a free and open society. Something is rotten in the state of New Zealand, and my pledge is to stop the rot.”
More information on the case can be found at http://www.DarntonVsClark.org/
Phone: 021 324 466
Email: [email protected]
Libertarianz: More Freedom – Less Government