- Date published:
8:35 am, September 27th, 2019 - 33 comments
Categories: Dr Deborah Russell, national, Parliament, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:
National’s social media attack team has been hit by further problems. As part of their ongoing denigration campaign they spliced together film of Deborah Russell speaking in Parliament. They took a whole lot of her comments out of context and joined them all together randomly to suggest that she was out of touch and too academic.
Deborah took it remarkably well:
Kieran McAnulty wrote to Speaker Mallard about the advertisement. The justification for doing so is quite clear. It breached Parliament’s Standing Orders and in particular part B of Schedule D which says:
Official television coverage of the House is made available on the
following conditions … [c]overage of proceedings must not be used in any medium for … political advertising or election campaigning (except with the permission of all members shown).”
This is pretty clear doncha think? Don’t use the official coverage in an ad, particularly an attack ad, unless you have the member’s or members’ permission.
Mallard thought so. In his ruling he said:
Mr McAnulty’s letter has highlighted the existence of a range of videos posted by different parties that use footage of members for political advertising. I would be very surprised if those members had given permission, as the rules clearly require. While there has been some discussion around what constitutes a political advertisement, it is clear to me that the videos that support one party or aim to reduce support for another party are the sorts of items covered by Appendix D of the Standing Orders. That view is further reinforced by the description of the video as an “attack ad” in the material Mr Bridges referred to me.
I encourage all parties to consider the videos that they may have posted online. Those using official Parliament TV footage that has been edited and featuring other members without their permission should be removed by 5 p.m. on Friday, 27 September.
His reasoning seems perfectly valid. It is hard to think how to bend the words so that unconsented use of parliamentary film could be used in an attack ad.
But rather than admit it was wrong National chose to hit the rhetoric button and described the move as “censorship at the extreme”. From Jason Walls at the Herald:
Bridges on Thursday called the decision an “attempt at stopping the Opposition from highlighting what goes on in Parliament is a chilling move designed to stop freedom of expression”.
“Sound bites have been used this way for decades in all forms of media and by all New Zealand political parties,” he said.
“National believes it is important for New Zealanders to see how their elected representatives perform in Parliament.”
Bridges rejected the video of Russell was false or misleading.
“The video did not attack or criticise the Labour Party or the Government. It accurately reflects Dr Russell’s speech to Parliament about the meaning of ‘wellbeing’,” he said.
“When National was in Government, Labour also used footage from Parliament. Often heavily edited. We didn’t complain as we stood by our record and we encourage political debate.”
He should complain to whoever was in Government when the latest version of the standing orders was passed. That would be National in 2017. Previous versions with the same rule was passed under the last National Government in 2011 and 2014.
Rules are rules. If National wants to change the rules it should raise this with the Privileges Committee and seek a Parliamentary consensus to do so.
Until then it should stick to the rules. And while it is at it it should also stick to those relating to the use of false and misleading advertising.
Updated: lprent: Andrew Geddis provides a look at the legal side.
However the most amusing part was the section where he pointed out who Simon Bridges should blame for the existing rules not being relaxed in 2017.
And who was opposed to further relaxation of these rules? Well, according to Labour’s Chris Hipkins in the House yesterday – with National’s Gerry Brownlee agreeing – it was then governing National Party. And who was a member of the Committee that reviewed the Standing Orders? A young tyro by the name of Simon Bridges.
And who then recommended that the House adopt the amended Standing Orders, which continued to prohibit the use of TV footage for political advertising? Have a watch here and see (hint: it was Simon Bridges).