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Exclusive Brethren attack Labor and the Greens

Discussion in 'Political Debate & Discussion' started by Ben W, Sep 8, 2005.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Sep 16, 2002
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    Church sought advice over leaflets
    Sep 8, 2005

    Chief Electoral Officer David Henry has confirmed the Exclusive Brethren Church did seek advice about the legality of its election campaign pamphlets.

    A group of seven businesmen revealed themselves as being behind a leaflet drop discrediting Labour and the Greens at a news conference in South Auckland.

    The seven are members of the fundamentalist Exclusive Brethren Church, but say they are only acting in their capacity as concerned New Zealanders.

    "We're fundamentalist Christians, we seek to live our lifes by the Bible," Neville Simmons said.

    Chief Electoral Officer David Henry says his office simply explained the law to the group, but did not approve the pamphlets.

    He says groups other than political parties are free to advertise during the election campaign and the rules are quite clear. He says anyone can complain to his office if they believe the Electoral Act has been breached.

    The Exclusive Brethren leaders don't vote but they are accused of waging a smear campaign against Labour and the Greens.

    "The campaign we've put out is not a smear campaign, it is not designed as a smear campaign, it's designed to inform the people of New Zealand the real situation in this country," Simmons said.

    Up to 50 Exclusive Brethren have donated as much as $1 million towards the campaign, however, the sect says they are acting as individuals.

    "We follow and we are influenced by our Christian beliefs, but it is not an Exclusive Brethren initiative," Simmons said.

    In May TVNZ's Sunday programme filmed National's finance spokesman John Key meeting Exclusive Brethren. The church says it has met will all politicians from all parties except the Prime Minister.

    This isn't the church's first foray into politics. Newspaper adverts that appeared in papers in April, labelled "a wake up call", were authorised by the group.

    There's nothing illegal about the Exclusive Brethren funding the anti-Green and Labour pamphlets, but the Chief Electoral Office is investigating claims that some of the addresses on the pamphlets are false, which is a breach of the Electorate Act.

    The leaflet drops are not over with more expected over the next 10 days.

  2. Matt Black

    Matt Black Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Feb 25, 2003
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    I thought the EBs were a-political (much like their fundamentalist brothers and sisters in the US prior to Moral Majority) - they're not supposed to get involved in nasty, 'worldly' politics at all. Or have the Kiwi EBs been 'Moral Majoritied'?