Brethren 'budget $1.2m' to help National Party campaign

The Exclusive Brethren Church put together a $1.2 million campaign to help the National Party in last year's election, Parliament was told yesterday.

Until now, the highest figure mentioned has been $1 million, claimed by the Prime Minister in February.

Cabinet minister Trevor Mallard yesterday quoted from emails Brethren members sent to the electoral authorities asking whether they could use a photo of National's leader Don Brash in their campaign pamphlets. It has been previously disclosed that they were told they could not.

Mr Mallard said the emails said the Brethren programme had a budget of $1.2 million "with the goal of getting party votes for National". He challenged National to deny there was a $1.2 million Brethren campaign backing the party in the election.

"They won't, because they can't," he said.

Details of the Brethren's programme were among a police file of documents relating to complaints laid against parties over their campaigns.

- NZPA

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