The Electoral Commission have decided that there were 4 instances of illegal campaigning under the Act in the recent election; 3 of which are worthy of police investigation. Most noteworthy, was ACT's Rodney Hide's yellow jacket which was deemed an election advertisement meaning it had to have an appropriate authorisation statement and written authorisation from the Party Financial Agent had to be obtained.
This is an absolutely ridiculous law. Rodney could be fined $10,000 and the Party Financial Agent $40,000. Makes one ashamed to be a New Zealander; I can only imagine what our overseas visitors are making of this.
Redbaiter sums up the appropriate response nicely, if a little crassly, on Kiwiblog:
What a f****n basket case country. What a justice system. [Helen C]lark and Winston [Peters] roam free after all of their corruption and cronyism, and Rod Hide is before the Police and the Courts for wearing a yellow jacket. ..and people have the nerve to chastise me for saying this country is an inwardly collapsing socialist hole.
What is the difference between a swimsuit and a yellow jacket?About the same as a Green Party fence sign and a National Party powerpoint presentation, the former which was judged by the commission to be of no consequence, the latter to be judged actionable!
A party advertisement under the EFA is:
‘any form of words or graphics or both that can reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to do either or both of the following:
(a) to vote for the party (whether or not the name of the party is stated):
(b) not to vote for another party (whether or not the name of the party is stated)’
It is not clear to me that a party logo, by itself, meets this definition.
As I write this post, Epsom Labour Party candidate Kate Sutton is still offering her "Kate 08" election T-Shirts for sale on her official Labour candidate site: http://www.katesutton.co.nz/.
It seems to me that these T-Shirts were designed to encourage people to vote for Kate in 2008, unless I am missing something? Whether there is an authorisation on these T-Shirts or not, I am not sure as zooming in I can see small words but I cannot see what they say - certainly there is no mention on the site or orde form - and so I think it might pay to have the Electoral Commission pass their eye over the T-Shirt themselves. I have just now dropped them a line.