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Electoral Commission Statement on Planet Key Video

Electoral Commission Statement on Planet Key Video

13 August 2014

In the Electoral Commission’s view, the Planet Key track cannot be broadcast on radio or television because it is an election programme. There are strict rules in the Broadcasting Act 1989 that prohibit the broadcasting on radio and television of material by third parties that appears to encourage voters to vote or not to vote for a political party or candidate.

The Commission is currently considering whether the Planet Key video is an election advertisement which is relevant to the requirements for publishing it online. If the video is an election advertisement it can still be published online. However, the video would need to include a promoter statement so that voters can see who has promoted it. If the promoter will spend more than $12,300 on election advertisements during the period 20 June to 19 September, he will also need to register with the Commission as a third party promoter. It is free to register as a third party promoter.

Further information
Section 70 of the Broadcasting Act 1989 provides a general prohibition for the broadcasting of an ‘election programme’. An ‘election programme’ is defined as “a programme that—

(a) Encourages or persuades or appears to encourage or persuade voters to vote for a political party or the election of any person at an election; or
(b) Encourages or persuades or appears to encourage or persuade voters not to vote for a political party or the election of any person at an election; or
(c) Advocates support for a candidate or for a political party; or
(d) Opposes a candidate or a political party; or
(e) Notifies meetings held or to be held in connection with an election”.

Section 70(3) provides an exemption to the election programme restrictions for news, comment and current affairs in relation to an election. This means that broadcasters can report on the Planet Key video as a news item.

Further information about the rules can be found in the Media Handbook for Publishers and Broadcasters available on the Electoral Commission’s website www.elections.org.nz/media-handbook-publishers-and-broadcasters

ENDS

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