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


Electoral Commission Censors Musician

Electoral Commission Censors Musician and Undermines Freedom of Speech

The Electoral Commission has told Darren Watson, a musician, to stop selling or promoting his satirical song "Planet Key" or he may face prosecution.

The song and music video satirises John Key and members of the National Government in a humorous way. The music video has had more than 80,000 hits on video websites, including Vimeo and YouTube http://vimeo.com/102441715

"This is simply a satirical song. I wrote it at home and it's the musical expression of my own personal views", says Mr Watson. Jeremy Jones of Propeller Motion, the maker of the video, says he was motivated to make the amusing Monty Python-style animated clip after hearing the song and seeing an opportunity to work on a creative project with Mr Watson. Neither of the men received any payment for producing the work, but have sold the song through i-Tunes to recoup some of their costs.

However, the Electoral Commission has not seen the funny side and Mr Watson has received a letter saying that the Commission considers the song and associated video are "election advertisements" under the Electoral Act and "election programmes" under the Broadcasting Act.

The Electoral Commission is also threatening that the sale of the song through i-Tunes without a promoter statement is "an apparent breach of section 204F of the Electoral Act", which is an illegal practice punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

"I object to the suggestion that I am some sort of political promoter. I am a musician and I feel very strongly about this kind of censorship", says Mr Watson. "I believe in artistic freedom."

The Commission has told TV and radio stations they should not broadcast the song outside of news programmes. The prohibition on broadcasting the song applies as a permanent ban, and not just at election time.

Lawyer for Mr Watson and Mr Jones, Wendy Aldred, says she has asked the Electoral Commission to reconsider its opinion, saying the Commission's letter is incorrect in its approach to the law, fails to take into account Mr Watson's right to freedom of expression under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and is heavy-handed.

If the Electoral Commission does not revise its opinion the matter is likely to go to Court.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Key In NY: Prime Minister Addresses United Nations

    Prime Minister John Key has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, focusing on a call for action in Syria and on other conflicts, reform of the veto process and on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More>>.


    Gordon Campbell: On The Lack Of Accountability Over Philip Smith

    In New Zealand, accountability is an exotic creature rarely glimpsed at ministerial level, or among senior management. The flight to Rio by the paedophile /murderer Philip John Smith/Traynor is no exception. More>>


    More On Corrections

    Gordon Campbell: On Putin’s Diplomatic Coup Over Syria

    There’s a simple historical precedent for what is occurring in Syria. During WWII, the Allies joined forces with a known butcher and tyrant – Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union – in order to defeat a greater evil, Nazi Germany… More>>


    Key 'Didn't Know': Brownlee Seeks Pandas In China

    While Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee is in China pushing a taxpayer funded deal to bring two pandas to New Zealand, the country’s military look set to be hit with a pay freeze, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. More>>


    Scoop Business: GCSB Willing To Extend Cyber-Attack Programme To Local ISPs

    The Government Communications Security Bureau’s ‘Cortex’ cyber-security programme has been successful in helping identify and mitigate a series of cyber attacks since its introduction and an extension to cover local internet service providers is still on the cards... More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news