New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has questioned the role of Australian consultants in the opposition National Party's election campaign. The
same consultants helped get Australian Prime Minister John Howard re-elected and now the New Zealand Labour Party is seeking to highlight covert
agendas and the foreign influences before Saturday's elections. Co-inciding with these allegations of corruption are the underhanded tactics of
pamphlets distributed by the International "Exclusive Brethren Sect" which are almost identical to literature distributed in the Australian state of
Tasmania before the last Australian election.
The NZ Green Party also claims that anti-Green, anti-Labour pamphlets being distributed by a Christian sect, which have embarrassed National leader
Don Brash, have their origins in Australia.
The National Party has acknowledged that Australian political strategist Mark Textor has given advice on research and polling. But it denied any
involvement by his partner Lynton Crosby or the use of push-polling tactics.
Both men played prominent roles in the Howard Government's election campaigns.
Mr Crosby was also a high-profile strategist for Britain's Conservative Party during the UK election this year.
"I think those are questions that the New Zealand National Party has to answer," Ms Clark said.
"What is the role of the Australian consultants, what are the links with the Exclusive Brethren beyond New Zealand? How is this adding up to
manipulation of the New Zealand election campaign?"
Labour cabinet member Pete Hodgson says a leaked National Party board minute shows the Crosby-Textor consultancy is doing more than just polling.
"The Australians have been involved since last year in shaping National's campaign policies," Mr Hodgson said.
"It is public knowledge that Crosby-Textor are rather notorious across the Tasman for running campaigns for the Liberal Party, which focus on race
issues and use push-polling.
The National Party has denied any connection with the Brethren or their leaflets, although Mr Brash has admitted representatives of the group told him
of their plans.
"The Australian flyer confirms our original suspicion that we are victims of an imported dirty tricks campaign," Green co-leader Rod Donald said.
A push poll is a campaign technique in which a fake poll is used to alter the views of respondents. Push polls are generally viewed as a form of
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So the Australians are now interferring in another countries politics. This is a dangerous move if in fact it is truthful and moves should be made
now to expose this and to stop any sort of election interference now, before the election takes place. It will be no use crying foul after the
election results are in.
Will in fact the labour party be defeated? Helen Clark has been known for her strong stance on many subjects that do not sit well with the
international community. In other words, she is nobodies patsy.
[edit on 12-9-2005 by Mayet]