Claims that rich political parties will benefit from a rise in the amount candidates can spend on campaigns were disputed yesterday by the official in charge of polls. Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung said candidates' spending would be strictly monitored. He told legislators: 'The purpose of lifting the limit is to allow candidates to conduct a more comprehensive campaign. It doesn't mean you can do whatever you like or use money to influence electors' voting decisions or engage in indecent deals.' Candidates could not advertise on television or radio, take voters for expensive meals or offer them gifts, he told the constitutional affairs panel. Every candidate would have to declare how much had been spent. Panel members from grassroots parties were worried the new ceiling would benefit the rich. Mr Suen said: 'As a voter, I can tell you it makes no difference whether the political platform is printed in multiple colours or only black and white. 'I only care about the person's ability. 'Someone who can afford to use more colour in his political platform isn't necessarily more sincere than others.' But Ip Kwok-him of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong disagreed. 'Not everybody has such a high level of civic education like you. 'The reality is some voters will throw the paper away if it is only in black and white,' he said. The Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood's Bruce Liu Sing-lee said: 'I am afraid that elections will become rich people's games and small parties will be gradually eliminated.' But Choy So-yuk of the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance said the increased limit would help little-known candidates make themselves known to voters. Executive Councillor and Liberal Party legislator Henry Tang Ying-yen said the expense limit was acceptable. The limits are being raised from $200,000 in 1992 to $500,000 for geographical constituencies.