Electoral Commission refers Sean Plunket’s tweets to the police

Written By: - Date published: 2:14 pm, October 3rd, 2017 - 18 comments
Categories: election 2017, electoral commission, Media, twitter, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:


On election day Plunket tweeted this:

He was working for The Opportunities Party at the time.

The Electoral Commission’s press release:

On 2 October 2017, the Electoral Commission referred four incidents to Police in response to complaints about social media content on election day.

Two of the incidents concerned the Communications Director for a political party, Sean Plunket, and two involved other persons/organisations publishing or sharing statements on election day before 7pm in breach of section 197(1)(g)(i) of the Electoral Act 1993.

As these matters are now with the Police, the Electoral Commission will not be commenting further.

More information about the election day rules and the use of social media at elections can be found at the following links: advance voting and election day rules for the 2017 General Election and social media guidelines.

In related matters:

Plunket was appointed to the Broadcasting Standards Authority by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry in June.

18 comments on “Electoral Commission refers Sean Plunket’s tweets to the police”

  1. patricia bremner 1

    Good. Hope they do their job!!

    • alwyn 1.1

      Have the Police ever done anything about these sort of things?
      I know they never proceeded against Israel Dagg and Jonah Lomu, although I doubt either of them knew the law existed.
      Cunliffe did something similar, didn’t he? He should, like Plunket have known what the law was. Was he ever prosecuted?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Why, did Plunket delete the tweet immediately and report himself to the authorities?

        • weka

          No, but he did mock the law in the same thread as the original tweet,

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            In fairness, the law is a bit of an ass, considering how long the polls are open.

            The best way to straighten the law out is probably to prosecute the odious bigot so all the arguments can get a proper airing.

            • weka

              lol, true.

              I don’t expect much will come of it, but I do think the Communications Director of a political party should be held to a higher standard than the general public. I’ve heard the argument made that the public say what they want on SM, but that political parties, staff and volunteers are still prohibited.

        • Pete

          You wouldn’t be suggesting Plunket was just being a smart-arse would you? Or is that just my reading of the episode?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I think he’s hoping to be prosecuted as a first step towards forcing a law change, and that his wish should be granted.

      • Brigid 1.1.2

        What was it Cunliffe did?

        • alwyn

          I think it was something about voting for a Labour candidate in a by-election.
          It is a completely stupid law these days when the voting goes on for weeks.

          Actually the only part of the law I would like to see retained for Election Day is that all the billboards have to be removed. Otherwise it will be like Australia where they stay up for months getting ever more bedraggled. Rather like the posters promoting long past concerts on telephone poles.

          • North

            The billboards were a bit of a temptation must say. Don’t know what finally stopped me from giving the National Party’s “Delivering for New Zealand” a bit of honesty……..”Deliverance for……..” – ‘Deliverance’……..a la ‘Duelling Banjos’ and buggered up genetics. The urge was strong I tell you.

  2. tc 2

    The BSA is a wet bus ticket distributor and sinecure central for national supporters like Sean.

    Morgan revealed on election night that’s exactly what TOP would’ve done….support national.

    Another institution that needs to be torn down and replaced with teeth, large fines at director level (because that’s where the buck stops) and a nice website to publish the BS it catches the MSM distributing.

  3. red-blooded 3

    I do think the law needs overhauling. Plunket’s an odious prat and anyone working for a political party (especially in a comms role) should definitely know and follow the law (he was clearly mocking it). It is a law that’s past its use-by date, though. It assumes voters are idiots (“Oh – I saw someone wearing a Labour t-shirt – maybe I’ll vote for them!”) and as others have said ignores the increasing numbers of us who vote before the official day, anyway.

    I wouldn’t want to see people being harangued and hassled as they go to vote, but simply making it illegal to advertise or attempt to persuade anyone within a certain distance of a polling booth should be enough. Of course, that still leaves the issue of electronic ads and messages, phone calls etc, but I think the Electoral Commission could hear the publics’ thoughts on this stuff.

    • I think given how much the rest of us political tragics had to censor ourselves on social media on the day, it’s totally out of line for a party employee to break the law. I agree it’s an ass, but if ordinary people are being advised not to skirt it, Sean bloody Plunkett deserves to be made an example of.

      The next goverment should have a look at changing it I guess. I would say keep the current restrictions in place, but make it for candidates, employees, and people acting in a volunteer capacity for political parties, instead of for everyone.

  4. AB 4

    Off-topic – but jeepers, that picture of Plunket! We dodged a bullet with the flag referendum

  5. mosa 5

    Plunket the plonker.

    No surprises in the company he keeps and the dish towel he uses.

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