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Foolishly banning satire

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, August 13th, 2014 - 86 comments
Categories: election 2014, electoral commission, john key - Tags:

What the hell? This isn’t an election advertisement. This is someone expressing their views in music and video. The election commission are usually ok in their assessments. But this one doesn’t appear to have any real basis behind it.

Adam Bennett at the NZ Herald says

But Mr Watson posted on Facebook this afternoon that he had just had a “super interesting chat with The Electoral Commission just now”.

“It appears we may be gagged.”

He later posted that “the story is the Electoral Commission have advised a Access Radio station not to play Planet Key as it may be a contravention of the act.”

The commission this afternoon confirmed it had banned television and radio broadcasts of the song and said it was also considering whether it was an election advertisement which would require a promoter statement to be carried in online video versions.

I rather think that if and when this gets challenged in court that it will be overturned. Apart from anything else, it clearly violates parts of the Bill of Rights Act, and appears to rely on the very very narrow interpretation of the Electoral Act.

Source: vimeo

Planet Key is written and performed by Darren Watson. The video was created by Jeremy Jones from Propeller Motion. This project is entirely self funded so by buying this song you are also contributing to the cost of this work. Think of it as helping with the trickle down.

This song can be purchased at itunes

86 comments on “Foolishly banning satire ”

  1. Molly 1

    Given the recently photoshopped cover of the Rugby News was NOT considered a breach, this seems to be at odds with their previous thought processes.

    With luck, this discussion will promote the video more than any favourable action would have.

    • greywarbler 1.1

      @Molly 7.44
      Thought processes? We are getting into establishment non-thinking here. The entitlement of the wealthy class not to have fun poked at them or be made to look foolish Rules Okay!

      Especially no comment on the correctness of the Emperors Clothes, when his lack of decency is showing.

    • jaymam 1.2

      My re-photoshopped version of the Rugby News cover, with Aaron Gilmore, Don Brash, John Key, John Banks, Claudia Hauiti
      http://i57.tinypic.com/14twy1e.jpg

      Take that, Electoral Commission!

  2. Tracey 2

    If it werent during an election campaign it could have all the air time in the world.

    Unlike rugby news cover, this song is telling people to vote against key.

    I am not sure where I stand on this but am concerned that if the ruling is over turned the big money parties would have yet another way to bash us over the heads with their twisted propaganda.

    Take the so called fall in unemployment being trumpetted. Turns out it is only in christchurch its fallen.

    • Deb Kean 2.1

      “Take the so called fall in unemployment being trumpetted. Turns out it is only in christchurch its fallen.”

      Interesting! I did not know that.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Very interesting Lprent.

    The EC has also given a view on the infamous ‘New Captain Key’ Rugby News cover opining that an exemption applies to “regularly published periodicals”; Standard poster Weepu’s Beard wrote to the Electoral Commission and the reply received is at:
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/08/12/electoral-commission-censors-planet-key-satire/#comment-238754

  4. wyndham 4

    Key himself seems easy about this.

    From today’s Herald – – – Mr Key said he’d seen the video. “It was quite professionally done. It was anti-us but as a parody it was okay. I take all that sort of stuff in the spirit it’s intended, it’s certainly a lot more professional than the Dotcom video of people screaming and chanting at me.”

    • crocodill 4.1

      He can afford to “seem easy” about it. He has lower-downs do his dirty work. Wouldn’t want to get spittle on his dinner jacket.

      Song sounds ok, didn’t like the video… too personal. I prefer art that doesn’t attack individuals, and art that doesn’t deal in politics is even better.

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        Some of the best art challenges the status quo.

      • phillip ure 4.1.2

        u r wrong crocodil..

        ..it is a witty/intelligence critique put to music..

        ..and the animation is also of a very high quality…

        ..as is the musicianship..

        ..i can’t see it is electioneering..

        ..it’s a bloody song..!

        ..i’m not playing it..but i do have it up @ whoar…

        • phillip ure 4.1.2.1

          would playing ‘big norm’ be electioneering on behalf of labour..?

          ..would playing anything by that rightwing-ratbag country-singer ted nugent be electioneering for the tories..?

          ..no woody guthrie..?..

          ..no ‘masters of war’ from dylan..?..(easily directed @ key..a warmongering satrap for the americans..a man who is killing innocent civilians..in our name..

          ..and who can forget how him and all the other armchair-warriors in national/act were so jonesing to join in the invasion of iraq..

          ..that was where simon power made his defining-political-statement:

          ..’all the way with george w. bush!’)..was his masters-of-war rallying-call/direct-crib..)

          ..whoar..!

          ..it’s a musical-electioneering swamp out there..!

          ..or is it all just..too silly for words..?

          ..(i’m going for the latter..)

          • weka 4.1.2.1.1

            it appears that it’s not political songs that are at issue, but those that advocate voting for or against specific people or parties. Fine line in some cases (can’t remember the lyrics to Big Norm).

      • CnrJoe 4.1.3

        Croc – u dont know what art is

    • Tracey 4.2

      fascinating that he bothered to watch it, you know, given he doesnt care about this stuff… Like it amazes me that he bothers to read oil slicks site.

    • miravox 4.3

      I wonder if Key used to watch A Week of It and McPhail and Gadsby as part of his political education. Would we even be allowed to see those programmes these days?

      • Rosie 4.3.1

        Televised satire is dead in our country, and sadly, it has been for some time.

        Convenient that, as satire is a challenge to the powers, and they can’t be challenged, or people might vote them out and stuff.

  5. felix 5

    What about John Keys scattering his hagiography all over the country?

    How is that not an election ad?

    • Tiger Mountain 5.1

      +1

      the timing of the godKey bio release could be an amazing coincidence but given the lead in times for publishing I’ll go with election advertising

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        they know how to work the rules. Sadly darren needed to release this a couple of months ago BUT he has now got so much publicity it is being viewed by thousands who wouldnt have before.

        • felix 5.1.1.1
          1. I don’t see what the release date has to do with the legality of broadcasting the song.
          2. Is it now illegal for John Keys’ book to be displayed/sold/read?
          • Tracey 5.1.1.1.1

            I understood the electoral act only applies to a specified period.

            • felix 5.1.1.1.1.1

              That’s what I mean. If the act is deemed applicable to the song, then it can’t be broadcast in the election period regardless of when it was published.

              • Tracey

                Sorry, we were at cross purposes. I meant he could have released it a week or three before the period kicked in. In any event it has had enormous coverage.

                Books are somehow exempt, hence the right use them at election time

    • Blue 5.2

      Maybe because it’s so boring? Seriously, I would like to see the sales figures for that thing. I bet it has sunk like a stone.

  6. Tracey 6

    For those who peddle the view that john keys brain fades are understandable and acceptable, watch this video, note his bosses cooments and consider this,

    John Key has a seriously degraded memory/ mind coinciding with becoming PM. Really?

    • vto 6.1

      Every New Zealander should watch that video around his 2003 share dealings in Tranzrail at the same time he was dealing with rail companies looking to buy in NZ while he was an MP.

      Completely and totally crooked.

      Making use of his personal knowledge and position in Parliament to deal in Tranzrail shares and double his money.

      Crooked through and through

      • Tracey 6.1.1

        And he appears to have had a very sharp mind in the corporate world which began failing him the minute he entered politics…

  7. Adrian 7

    I was personally approached to advertise in Rugby News and I said ” Not after putting that dickhead on the cover, pretending to be an All Black, that jersey has to be earned ” and the reply surprised me ” Aw mate, you wouldn’t believe the shit we’ve been getting over that, the silliest thing we’ve ever done and what pisses me off was it wasn’t even our idea ”
    Oh, really?

    • Weepus beard 7.1

      The editor explained on the Rugby News Facebook page that it was his idea. What you’ve said is inconsistent with that. If not their idea then wonder whose idea it was?

      • Tracey 7.1.1

        You assume what Adrian wrote is factual.

        • Weepus beard 7.1.1.1

          No. I said what I know, and what Adrian said, then asked “If…then…”

          I’ve not made any conclusion, just asked a question.

          • Tracey 7.1.1.1.1

            Sorry, was meant for weka

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Do you mean that Adrian might be lying or that what he was told wasn’t the truth? If it’s the former, well I tend to offer a certain level of trust to people until proven otherwise and I have no reason to think that Adrian is lying, if it’s the latter, then that’s irrelevant, it was the rest of Adrian’s story that cheered me up, not the bit about whose idea the cover was.

              • Tracey

                I am a cynical person when it comes to statements on this site purporting to be fact. I dont know Adrian. I may have judged him harshly. Probably have and apologise if so.

                Sorry to have rained on your cheery moment weka.

                • weka

                  I still don’t know what you are considering ‘fact’ Tracey. Do you mean the fact issue that WB raised? Or do you mean the whole comment?

                  • Tracey

                    I mean the fact that adrian was told what he put in quote marks

                    • weka

                      Ok, so you are doubting that they really said that they’ve had lots of complaints or been given lots of shit for the cover? shrug I guess we are different then, the story came across as credible to me.

                      I took the quotation marks as paraphrasing rather than literal.

    • weka 7.2

      Thanks Adrian, that’s cheered me up.

  8. Hi there,

    The Electoral Commission hasn’t (yet) said that this is an “Election Advertisement” under the Electoral Act. Instead, they say it (probably) is an “Election Programme” under the Broadcasting Act. The definition of the two things isn’t the same – in particular, a song/video can be a “programme” without being an “advertisement”.

    Point being – we’ve got even tighter restrictions on what can be put on the radio/TV than we do regarding what can be generally said/sung via the internet or other media. Whether that makes any sense is highly questionable … remember that the Broadcasting Act dates back to 1989 and hasn’t been amended since then.

    • vto 9.1

      There is nothing in the song suggesting people should vote against Key

      There is nothing in the song suggesting people should vote for Key

      People on the left will see a selfish man and not like it

      People on the right will not see a selfish man and like it

      It is the best statement about the New Zealand situation today that is currently in existence. It weaves many threads and strands of our climate in with a great catchy tune and makes everything about Key as clear as a bell.

      • Tracey 9.1.1

        If you want compassion dont vote for me

      • There is nothing in the song suggesting people should vote against Key

        Not even the line “If you want compassion, don’t vote for me”?

        • Andrew Geddis 9.1.2.1

          Oops!

          Sorry Tracey … snap.

        • lprent 9.1.2.2

          Depends if you consider that compassion is an electable trait. There are some who comment around here who do not.

        • vto 9.1.2.3

          As mentioned Mr Geddis, some will see the lack of compassion as a positive. Some see compassion as a hindrance in getting ahead in the world. Some such as John Key himself, for example. Compassion, some say, has no place whatsoever in the business world.

          • Tracey 9.1.2.3.1

            When you apply the law to the lyrics it appears to fall within the EA definitions vto.

          • weka 9.1.2.3.2

            As mentioned Mr Geddis, some will see the lack of compassion as a positive. Some see compassion as a hindrance in getting ahead in the world. Some such as John Key himself, for example. Compassion, some say, has no place whatsoever in the business world.

            EC must be full of namby bamby lefties 😉

            • vto 9.1.2.3.2.1

              I think it is more that the business world is full of nutter extremist bad arse righties

    • weka 9.2

      Hi Andrew, can you please point to the specific bit in the Broadcasing Act that covers this? I’m trawling through but haven’t found it yet.

      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0025/latest/DLM155365.html

      Interpretation of an ‘election programme’

      election programme means, subject to subsection (2), 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</i>

      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1989/0025/latest/DLM158148.html

      • weka 9.2.1

        Bomber has more in his post. The issue appears to be that third parties aren’t allowed to broadcast programmes that encourage or discourage people from voting for certain parties or candidates. Still can’t find the bit in the legislation that covers this though.

        http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/08/12/electoral-commission-censors-planet-key-satire/

      • Weka,

        s. 69 defines “election programme” as you’ve outlined … here s.69(1)(b) is relevant (“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”)

        s.3 then defines a “programme” as:

        sounds or visual images, or a combination of sounds and visual images, intended—
        (i)to inform, enlighten, or entertain; or
        (ii)to promote the interests of any person; or
        (iii)to promote any product or service;

        s.70 then prohibits broadcasters from broadcasting “election programmes” except in certain limited circumstances (none of which cover just playing the song on the radio because it has a catchy hook).

        Now, maybe a court would do surgery on this legislative framework to try and wiggle the song out from under it … but on a plain reading, the Commission’s interpretation seems pretty orthodox (i.e. I’m not sure public agencies should try to read legislation with an eye to what an adventurous judge wanting to bend the law might do in the future).

        • weka 9.2.2.1

          Thanks Andrew, it was the prohibition I was having trouble finding. The word ‘paid’ in the title is confusing. I think many NZers will be surprised about this part of the Act, but I guess it does make sense. eg what’s to stop a right wing radio station from playing lots of songs that are anti-left. Pity we don’t have such neutralising legislation applied to our new media.

    • Tracey 9.3

      Andrew

      What, if anything, covers the publication of books?

      • Electoral Act 1993 … if Roughan’s hagiography of Key amounts to an “election ad”, then it is covered. But it probably doesn’t.

        • Tracey 9.3.1.1

          Is that because the timing is irrelevant in the Act as a consideration of advertising? Or that the book wasnt written by Key or the Nat Party?

  9. Adrian 10

    Weepu, ” Not their idea ” was a sort of throw away line in the conversation, but what interested me was that they, (the ad manager and another who I presumed was the editor or owner by the way he was talking, it wasn’t a formal meeting it was at a public show) admitted how much criticism they had gotten.

    • Tracey 10.1

      Did you get a sense of why? Was it that people thought it demeaned the jersey or was anti key?

    • Rosie 10.2

      Good to hear of your conversation with Rugby News Adrian. Thats kind of a breath of fresh air that the thugby mag has received some backlash about the Key cover.

  10. weka 11

    One of the criticisms of the EC’s stance that I have seen is that the lyrics of the song aren’t saying don’t vote for Key, it’s the video that makes that more obvious. And the issue is about radio broadcast, so the video should be irrelevant.

    • Weka,

      That’s what the song’s writer/singer has claimed. Not sure if the Commission has accepted that view. Also, I think he’s selling himself short – the lyrics are great!

    • Tracey 11.2

      You can say with your hand on your heart that you dont think the lyrics are sending a message that key must not be re elected?

      • weka 11.2.1

        I can’t remember Tracey. Unfortunately the video is on vimeo, so I can’t download it, and since I am on limited data BB I’ve only listened/watched the once. If I get time later I’ll see if I can write out the lyrics.

        It does raise the point though, that no songs can be broadcast that are anti-party or anti-candidate. What about anti-govt?

        • Tracey 11.2.1.1

          Tried to find the lyrics but cant. I wonder if they remastered it, and sang

          If you want compassion dont look to me

          If it would be ok

          • weka 11.2.1.1.1

            Good idea!

          • emergency mike 11.2.1.1.2

            Yes surely that line is the only problem since it actually mentions voting. It only occurs once near the end. If so why not simply change the lyric? About as easy as a cut and paste in today’s recording studios. Or even turn it into a bit of a statement with a ‘broadcast’ version where the music is replaced by a ‘censored’ beep sound and say “This lyric not suitable for broadcast” then return to the music. Or fade the song out just before that point. If that line is really the only problem it would seem there are a number of options.

  11. shorts 12

    There are a number of songs that aren’t flattering to Mr Key (in particular) and none of those are banned from broadcast – are they only banned if brought to the commissions attention?

    I wonder if Shihad’s new album will also be banned from broadcast? As they cover such topics as spying, five eyes etc… and they’ve had a huge media presence in the past week, for example:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/shihad/search/results.cfm?kw1=shihad

    • weka 12.1

      I suspect that the problem with Planet Key is that the lyrics contain the words “If you want compassion, don’t vote for me”. So presumably songs that are simply political aren’t a problem so long as they don’t advocate who you should or shouldn’t vote for. I haven’t listened to Shihad’s latest, but understand that they are saying there are lots of thing wrongs with the system and it’s a problem that so many people don’t vote, but didn’t come up with any actual solutions like voting for x, or not voting for y. Do you know about the lyrics specifically?

      • Tracey 12.1.1

        What about that other cool song showing john key at the dinner table…

        • Rosie 12.1.1.1

          Dear John by Jordan Reyne.

          Lyrics:

          http://www.jordanreyne.com/lyrics.html

          Music video:

          Potentially, the song could be about any “John” (apart from the bit about the fiscal year)

          Edit: Snap Tracey, posted at the same time

          • Tracey 12.1.1.1.1

            and the video does say “playing John Key”

            BUT those broadcasters who say they are annoyed about having to drop the parody song should pick this one up and play it, not the least because I think she has a fabulous voice.

            • Rosie 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Akshully, I emailed the station and requested they play “Dear John”.

              This is part of the email reply:

              “………our station manager has advised me to lay off playing anything that might make us look like we are flaunting the broadcasting law.”

              They are looking forward to being able to “play what they want when they want” soon, but in the mean time don’t want to risk losing their broadcasting licence.

              What is quite sad about the censorship of Planet Key is that Radio Active DJ’s are very proactive in encouraging people to enrol and to vote. Just an hour ago they were speaking about voting being only the beginning of participating in democracy, that the polling booth is the first step. For months, Radio Active has been doing the Electoral Commissions job of getting people enrolled, for free.

              While the morning DJ’s frequently air views that can only be described as left wing, they never tell anyone who to vote for, they are quite clear about that. They do encourage people to educate themselves about politics and policy and make their mind up from there.

              It’s sad that such a lively, positive and politically engaged radio station gets the slap down for playing a harmless satirical song.

          • weka 12.1.1.1.2

            Does Jordan Rayne’s song advocate who to vote or not vote for?

      • Rosie 12.1.2

        Re Shihad. As the DJ on Radio Active (see below) said this morning, Shihad are doing their album release tour soon and there’s nothing to stop them talking about their views to the audience between songs……….. (Haven’t heard any new tracks yet, btw)

        • weka 12.1.2.1

          The legislation covers broadcasting, not concerts or gigs. Would be interesting to see what happens in a radio interview though.

  12. Rosie 13

    From the 3news article:

    “Radio Active in Wellington has also reportedly decided to stop playing the song too.”

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Commission-bans-Planet-Key-song/tabid/1607/articleID/356555/Default.aspx

    Yes, they have stopped playing it after receiving a notice from the Electoral Commission, but rather reluctantly – they don’t want to risk losing their broadcasting license over it. There is a lot of talk about it on the Breakfast show this morning, they are not happy and neither are the listeners.

    DJ Redbird however is wondering whether playing it backwards would be a breach of the Electoral Act. He suggested that Key might be revealed as the devil……

    Remember the 80’s and back masking?

  13. weka 14

    Neetflux’s latest… Be Afraid, you are now approaching Planet Key…

    http://neetflux.tumblr.com/post/94502831007

  14. Tracey 15

    This is the song posted by vTraceyeutovipier (I think) a few weeks ago… share it around

    A story where a politician is invited to a feast by an old woman, but the other guests are mysteriously absent. As he begins to eat lustily, the location and form of the guests is revealed. A song about New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, and his “eat the poor” style politics.
    lyrics
    Dear John, Im writing to extend an invitation.
    An opportunity to join us for a feast of food and celebration
    Far beyone imagination, of what
    you made of them or me, you made us what we are.

    Cos you’re all heart John.
    you’re all heart John.

    Please take off your shoes and I will welcome you into my home
    Oh it might seem kind of lonely till the other guests make themselves known
    and thankyou for your commendation of my choices, but there is only one
    that would keep you in the style to which you’ve become acccustomed.

    But you’re all heart John.
    you’re all heart John.

    Delicacy of flavour, oh it fill the senses, feel it come
    in rarity anf favours, all laid out since you were bred and born
    and we only get to do this once, cos it’s far beyond our means.
    Dont let me bore you with the details – I know you want to taste a part of each

    Cos, you’re all heart John.
    you’re all heart John.

    A moments silence, please.
    To thank our guests and bless this food that’s only yours to eat.
    Oh and their names are written underneath each plate
    each dish, each tasteless grave
    but yes, you like the flavour
    and you wont change.

    you’re all heart John.
    you’re all heart John.
    you’re all heart John.

    There but for the grace of god goes you or I
    you taste every story, but do you recognise?
    you’re so free with the glaze, and it disguises the taste
    of what you know this if for.
    What its for.

    We, we’re all here. We feel each bite, we feel each tear as you sew the seeds
    your pound of flesh, your fiscal year.
    Know what you are
    we know what you are we know what you are
    know what you are
    dear
    dear
    john.
    dear john.

    http://jordanreyne.bandcamp.com/track/dear-john

  15. adam 16

    I know from the last election – still favourite song that has a go at FJK.

    It has bad language, and from Avondale!!

  16. weka 17

    Full lyrics (transcribed)

    Never had much of nothing
    Never had much to show
    All I wanted when I was growing up
    Was to be the boss of you all

    Never believed in nothing
    Never took a stand
    I owe it all to my mother
    Now that I’m almost a man

    And I’m…

    Up here on Planet Key
    It’s all for one
    And it’s all for me
    I’m up here on Planet Key

    You think I’m faking
    You’re not mistaken

    Am a new politician
    The kind you long to believe
    You see yourself in my story
    You see my heart on my sleeve

    I don’t believe in nothing
    And I’ve never cared for the fools
    Who want to ruin this country
    With all their taxes and rules

    And I’m…

    Up here on Planet Key
    You got the money
    that’s enough for me
    I’m up here on Planet Key

    You think I’m joking
    This gun is smoking

    I never believed in nothing, no no
    But now I’m living this big
    I marvel how much you trust me
    I hide the truth like this wig,

    People, and I’m..

    Up here on Planet Key
    In the land where the rich are free
    I’m up here on Planet Key
    Immune to GSCB

    I’m up here on Planet Key
    You want compassion
    Don’t vote for me
    I’m up here on Planet Key

    The clock is ticking!

  17. aerobubble 18

    Key as victim.
    Distraction aka teapot.
    Instead of the story being about the economy and how selling off the best, the brightest, and cheaply cutting down and shit up the rivers, will only make us poor for those who stay here.

    Key however is moving to Hawaii when he loses. Go figure.

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  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
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