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Flag Referendum Compromised by PM

Denis O’Rourke MP

Spokesperson for Constitutional Affairs
15 SEPTEMBER 2015

Flag Referendum Compromised by PM

Prime Minister John Key has been so rattled by opinion polls that are overwhelmingly against the four flag design options and support for the “red peak” design he has made an error, says New Zealand First.

“The error was made when he offered to add the ‘red peak’ design as a fifth option if Labour agreed to the referendum process being followed,” says New Zealand First Constitutional Affairs Spokesperson Denis O’Rourke.

“In doing so he has breached section 64 of the New Zealand Flag Referendum Act 2015: ‘A person may publish or cause or permit to be published a referendum advertisement only if the advertisement includes a promoter statement’.

Section 65 says: ‘Every person who, in contravention of section 64, fails to include a promoter statement in a referendum advertisement is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $40,000’.

In section 63 anything is an advertisement if it ‘may reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading electors … not to vote’ for any option, such as the PM discouraging support for the four alternatives by his offer to Labour to include the red peak design.

“Publication by ‘broadcasting on the radio or television’ of the PM’s statement was illegal as there was no promoter statement, and the process has now been totally compromised by it.

“It is time for the government to flag it and repeal the unwanted referendum altogether, and save $26 million in the process,” says Mr O’Rourke.

ENDS


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