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TVNZ banned from running election ads

Bill English MP National Party Deputy Leader

21 November 2007

TVNZ banned from running election ads

National Party Deputy Leader Bill English says that in Labour's anger and haste to railroad the draconian Electoral Finance Bill through Parliament, it has banned TVNZ from running election ads next year.

"Legislation put together in haste is seldom good law. Labour will have to do yet another patch-up job to make sure the state broadcaster can continue to run election year advertising."

Mr English is referring to clause 55B in the bill. It reads: Certain persons and bodies may not promote an election advertisement. The following persons and bodies may not publish or cause or permit to be published any election advertisement:

* the chief executive (however described) of a department of State or a Crown entity:

* (b) a department of State:

* (c) a Crown entity:

* (d) a State enterprise (within the meaning of section 2 of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986) or a Crown owned company:

* (e) any other instrument of the Crown.

"TVNZ is, of course, a Crown-owned company. Annette King is wrong in her argument that the Broadcasting Act offers TVNZ an exemption for campaign advertising.

"This is a monumental blunder. It serves to highlight how poorly served the public has been by a process that has been both self-serving and secretive.

"How many other holes are there in this bill? We are finding more and more each day.

"Labour will have to do yet another last minute patch-up to this dog's breakfast of a bill if the state broadcaster is to be allowed to run regular election-year advertising."

Mr English notes that the Law Society is still concerned by the impact of the bill on the political freedoms which New Zealanders enjoy.

"We agree that the public should not be shut out of the process. We support the call for further public consultation once this bill has been through Parliament's committee stages.

"Labour has now said there'll be even more amendments to this anti-democratic bill. They should table those amendments so the public can have a chance to study them before Parliament is expected to vote on them."

ENDS

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