Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Election Advertising and the Electoral Act 1993

7 September 2005

Chief Electoral Office Ministry of Justice

Election Advertising and the Electoral Act 1993

The Chief Electoral Officer has received a number of complaints about advertising by political parties, candidates and others (third parties). This statement is a general summary of the law. Specific cases need to be examined in relation to the detailed legislation set out in the Electoral Act.

Most election advertising can be conveniently grouped into 3 categories.

Category A- advertising by political parties, candidates or third parties encouraging support for those political parties or candidates; Category B - advertising by third parties relating to the election but not encouraging support for a political party or candidate; Category C - negative advertising (ie discouraging support for a political party or candidate).


Category A - This requires: (i) authorisation in writing by the political party or candidate (ii) a statement on the advertisement setting out the true name and address ( business or residential) of the person who has directed it to be published.

The costs are election expenses and are returned by the candidate or political party, as the case may be, regardless of who pays the expenses.

Category B - This requires a statement on the advertisement setting out the true name and address (business or residential) of the person who has directed it to be published

The costs are not election expenses of any candidate or political party.

Category C - This requires a statement on the advertising setting out the true name and address (business or residential) of the person who has directed it be published.

If the negative advertising is published by, or on behalf of, a candidate or political party the costs are election expenses of that candidate or political party. If the negative advertising is by a third party and has not been authorised by a political party or candidate the costs are not election expenses.

Breaches of the advertising requirements

A breach of the advertising requirements, for example, advertising without the required statement or use of a false name or address in the statement, is an illegal practice carrying a maximum fine on conviction of $3,000.

Content of advertising

The Electoral Act is generally not concerned with the accuracy of content in advertising. Section 199A does however provide criminal sanctions if a person publishes a statement of fact which the person knows to be false. However this provision is limited to publications of fact on polling day or the two days preceding it.

Complaints about the content of election advertising

Complaints about election advertising on television or radio should be made to the broadcaster in the first instance and then, if necessary, to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Complaints about election advertising in media other than television or radio should be made to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board.

Inquiries by the Chief Electoral Officer

The Chief Electoral Officer carries out a preliminary inquiry into complaints made to him and if he believes an offence has been committed and it is appropriate to carry out a full investigation he refers the matter to the Police for investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution. Action taken is of course a matter for the Police.

In regard to individual complaints about specific advertising, the Chief Electoral Officer does not issue progress reports on his preliminary inquiries but will respond to the complainants when he has completed his inquiries.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>


Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>


Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election