Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule says advertisements claiming he has secured funding for millions of dollars worth of infrastructure for Hawke's Bay are "not in breach" of the Advertising Standards Code.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints relating to billboards dotted around Hastings that feature a picture of Yule alongside the words: "$500 million new build of Hawke's Bay Hospital commencing 2025".
The authority had also investigated a complaint about a full-page newspaper ad in which Yule said he had "achieved a record $800 million commitment to infrastructure projects in the region."
This included "$300 million safety upgrades of Napier-Taupō Road, Napier-Wairoa Road and Hawke's Bay Expressway commencing 2021."
Yule released a statement on Thursday saying the ASA had confirmed the advertising was not in breach of the code, and the "unsubstantiated complaints have therefore been dismissed.
"I'm proud National has committed to $500 million to rebuild Hawke's Bay Hospital and to $300 million safety upgrades of Napier-Taupō Road, Napier-Wairoa Road and Hawke's Bay expressway," Yule said.
"This is the largest ever investment in the Hawke's Bay region and shows how committed National is to delivering for our communities."
A member of the public told RNZ she had filed a complaint because the funding pledges were all announced by National leader Judith Collins during a recent visit to Hawke's Bay and would only be brought to fruition if National won the election.
"I feel that the statement on the billboards and advertisements is misleading and implies the $500m for a Hawke's Bay Hospital is set in stone as opposed to being an election promise.
"This is compounded as it comes on the tail of the government's recent funding boost of $14.2m to redevelop Hastings Hospital," the woman, who did not want to be named, said.
Yule disagreed, saying there was nothing wrong with the ads as it was obvious the statements were election pledges only.
"They're National Party billboards, National Party ads, with National Party logos... my logo on them ... it's a commitment from the National Party and myself to make it happen and we stand by it."
Judith Collins said she had not seen the ads but agreed with her MP.
"I can tell you he has achieved the approval of the National Party and commitment for us to do that," Collins said.
In July, the Electoral Commission ruled billboards promoting Yule as the voice of Tukituki were, in fact, candidate advertisements and must count towards his election spend limit.
Yule later put that mistake down to receiving conflicting advice.
The Authority has received 78 advertising complaints so far this election, of which nine have been upheld or were being appealed.