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Title: Brethrengate Reopened? Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 12th September 2006 - 12:00pm1158019200 Article: 1412 Rights
 
Granted, Labour overspent on its electoral campaign, but at least it didn't try to conceal its source of funds, from a predatory Australian based fringe religious group. The Exclusive Brethren have whinged about 'hate speech' related to their exposure and ongoing adverse media coverage, and right-wing journalists and bloggers are trying to trivialise their contribution to the centre-right's coffers last year. Fact- the Exclusive Brethren is an undemocratic, secretive, misogynist right-wing fundamentalist sect, with values out of tune with mainstream New Zealanders. Fact- the National Party did not disclose that the Exclusive Brethren brought influence in the context of the Civil Union debates in late 2004 until midway through the general election. Fact- the Exclusive Brethren has tried the same act over and over again, not only in New Zealand, but also in Canada and Tasmania. Fact- most urban Kiwis are scared by this fringe fundamentalist sect, and yes, Brethrengate probably crystallised urban liberal revulsion at National's behaviour during the 2002-2005 parliamentary term. None of this excuses Labour's own incidents of self-inflicted harm, like Taito Phillip Field, but the latter has fallen on his own sword, and stated that this will be his final parliamentary term, thus defusing criticism. And in any case, what about Donna Awatere Huata and ACT? The centre-right would have puppies if a well-heeled centre-left or social liberal thinktank had spent up big in the context of Labour's election campaign, so why should Brethrengate escape similar investigative scrutiny? The Prime Minister is quite right- to avoid further cases of payment for influence, covert third party political advertising needs to be rendered far more transparent, and Labour's proposed legislation on this important matter would be an excellent beginning. Recommended: http://www.stuff.co.nz INL Fairfax newspapers http://www.nzherald.co.nz New Zealand Herald Craig Young - 12th September 2006    
 
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