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Six Out Of Ten NZers Oppose Opinion Poll Ban

Saturday, 26 May 2001

Six Out Of Ten New Zealanders Oppose Opinion Poll Ban

A recent nationwide opinion poll has found that 59 per cent of New Zealanders oppose a ban on the publication of opinion polls during a general election campaign.

The nationwide poll of 1000 people was conducted by Colmar Brunton for One News in early April. This was soon after the Government announced that it was including in its electoral amendment legislation an initiative by NZ First leader, Winston Peters, to ban opinion polls for 28 days before a general election.

A third of New Zealanders (33%) supported the ban and only eight per cent were undecided. The poll has a margin of error of 3.2 per cent.

The results of the poll were released by the New Zealand Television Broadcasters Council. The NZTBC is opposed to any ban on the publication of opinion polls at any time. Executive Director, Bruce Wallace, said that a ban ran counter to the Bill of Rights and was a direct attack on the rights of New Zealanders to be informed in the election campaign. The bill is currently before a Select Committee.

Mr Wallace said that the Attorney General, Margaret Wilson, had issued a report on the Peters’ initiative declaring that it was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. He said that the media was united in its opposition to any ban. He pointed out that the public at large was entitled to know how the various political parties were faring through the election campaign. He said that a ban would mean that political parties would know what was going on through their polling but the media would be unable to provide any polling information to the public at large.

The NZTBC is an industry body representing the non-competitive interests of the free to air television broadcasting industry. Its members are Television New Zealand, CanWest New Zealand and Prime Television New Zealand.

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