Did Treasury break election rules?

The Treasury could be investigated by the public sector watchdog after it used the National Party's election slogan at yesterday's Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU). 

'Delivering for New Zealanders' appeared during a presentation by Finance Minister and National Party campaign chairman Steven Joyce. 

The event was held at the Treasury and is meant to be completely separate from the politics of an election campaign. 

The State Services Commission is yet to confirm whether it will investigate if Treasury breached requirements to be politically neutral, as set out in its election guidelines. 

Steven Joyce delivers the fiscal update.
Steven Joyce delivers the fiscal update. Photo credit: Lloyd Burr/Newshub.

Prime Minister Bill English is dismissing concerns about it, saying the slogan was the official tagline for May's Budget. 

"The PREFU is a budget process and the Treasury run it and it looks like the Budget material," he says. 

The Budget 2017, featuring 'Delivering for New Zealanders'.
The Budget 2017, featuring 'Delivering for New Zealanders'. Photo credit: Screengrab

"The State Services Commissioner can have a look at it and I'll quite happily take their advice," says Mr English. 

A spokesman for the Treasury says the slogan appeared in a slide show Mr Joyce prepared himself. He refused to comment further. 

It's the third possible blunder National has made during the election campaign. 

The party appeared to breach Cabinet Manual rules when it announced funding for a new hospital in Dunedin under the banner of the Government instead of the National Party. 

It also used an Auckland railway station for an election announcement without permission from Auckland Transport.