Anyone doubting that the Acting Solicitor-General's claim that Parliamentary Services does not vet spending or make decisions, but only "administers funding", should check out Peter Dunne's reported comments in this morning's Herald. Dunne attacks both the Auditor-General and Acting Solicitor-General for not bothering to talk to MP's first about how Parliamentary funds were actually used - which Dunne notes is contrary to Natural Justice. But he also has this to say:
[Dunne] took issue with statements by Acting Solicitor-General Cheryl Gwyn over a private legal challenge to Labour's pledge card spending that Parliament's bureaucrats, the Parliamentary Service, did not have an opportunity to vet advertising expenditure before it was incurred, and had no statutory power of decision-making - merely administration.
If that was the law, Mr Dunne said, it was not the practise.
"Every advertisement we placed, or any other activity we undertook that was the subject of parliamentary funding, we had signed off in advance by the Parliamentary Service."
So, why should political parties be held responsible for acting in a way they were assured by the relevant authorities was legal? There is a significant aspect of unfairness here, and one that will probably require retrospective validation to fix (though again, I doubt this applies to the pledge cards, which were apparently not run past Parliamentary Services first).
Meanwhile, Tony Milne points out that Don Brash's blatantly electioneering, post-budget "lemonade girl" leaflets bear a Parliamentary crest, and so were taxpayer funded. A case of "do as I say, not do as I do"...?