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Nats will only cut Kiwisaver by 44-49% -cries ASA

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, November 3rd, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

The Advertising Standards Authority’s decision that Labour’s Kiwisaver ad is inaccurate is ridiculous. 08wire’s vid shows why.

The ASA admits in its decision that is has no power over TV, radio, or Youtube ads so what gives them the right to cast judgment on an ad that only appeared in those media? In fact, it has no power over any organisation that isn’t an ASA member. Quite frankly, I think the ASA (a private organisation with no statutory power) trying to insert itself into this election is disgraceful.

17 comments on “Nats will only cut Kiwisaver by 44-49% -cries ASA ”

  1. Ianmac 1

    What a great way to make capital out of an apparent reverse.
    1.Some impact on the original. (“Not one of our people who complained,” said Nats. Turned out to be a very young daughter of one of our people.)
    2.Publicity because of the protest.
    3.Upgraded so the detail is even more explicit. Hope it gets airtime!
    Is it one of those times when you might get what you asked for but regret it.

  2. Scribe 2


    I have had my own run-ins with the ASA, but all it does is adjudicate on complaints it receives. I can’t see how that’s inserting itself into an election.

    And the ad is either inaccurate or it’s not. One can’t be slightly inaccurate. Just like one can’t be slightly pregnant.

  3. Maybe in return someone aught to make a complain to the police about whale oil breaking s220 of the cimes act?

    [lprent: Link? The link you provided is to the Crimes Act. It isn’t to whatever you’re alleging about Whale. You know how I feel about comments like this.]

  4. r0b 4

    One can’t be slightly inaccurate. Just like one can’t be slightly pregnant.

    There are certainly degrees of inaccuracy. This case is an example at one end of the spectrum. At the other end – John Key wasn’t slightly inaccurate when he lied about his TranzRail share holdings. He was wildly, blatantly and deliberately inaccurate. How is this man even in contention as a possible PM?

  5. Scribe. The ASA didn’t have to make this weak decision just before the election, it could have waited two weeks.

    ‘cut in half’ does not have to mean cut by precisely 50% in any reasonable person’s world.

    captcha: ‘the Polls’, ah, I’ve been wondering where they are, turns out captcha has them

  6. madhatter 6

    And Helen Clark and Labour overspent by $800,000 at the last election, using taxpayer money, which they then made legal through retrospective legislation.

    How is this woman even in contention as a possible PM?

    [lprent: Probably another mindless troll that I could replace with a stupid script posing as an person. Standard right line that is incorrect and is a troll favourite. Adding you to my troll watchlist.]

  7. Scribe 7


    Yes, there are degrees, but the ASA’s job was the judge whether or not the ad was accurate. It wasn’t the most egregious thing ever said, but such agencies are supposed to rule on what’s in front of them.

    Where’s the “law of common sense” when ya need it, eh?


    The ASA couldn’t wait until after the election. That’d be like allowing The Phantom of the Opera promoters to advertise some superstar as the lead in the production, even though he’s only making one appearance, but not rule on the fact such advertising is false until after the season has sold out.

    captcha: 243 defense (someone got a red card?)

  8. r0b 8

    And Helen Clark and Labour overspent by $800,000 at the last election

    All parties (except the progressives) over spent. National also stuffed up its GST and engaged in a $1.3 million covert advertising campaign.

    which they then made legal through retrospective legislation.

    The retrospective legislation was to cover unattributable spending by parliamentary services, and is standard practice when such spending occurs (eg a National government once retrospectively validated over $50 million in illegal spending).

    There is lots of misinformation about the complicated issues at the last election. John Key’s lie however is quite simple, clear cut, blatant, and caught on film.

  9. Isn’t the real story here the fact that some National party activist is hiding behind their young childs name so as to claim its not them trying to silence free speech?

    Haha, can you imagine National running a response add “Labour is lying to you, actually we would only cut it by 49%”

  10. vinsin 10

    That sounds like something Brash would do. Gosh i feel nostaglic for the old coot.

  11. Simon DC 11

    Very young daughter? I’m the fellow that laid the complaint. If I’m somebody’s young daughter then why has nobody told me? I could be playing with barbie dolls instead of being at work.

  12. Tara 12

    For what it’s worth, ASA’s counterpart in Sydney is just as bad. It seems to be standard practice in the advertising ‘industry’.

    Textor & co using a proxy to knobble opposing messages ?

  13. 08wire 13

    Simon – Thanks for dropping by. Do you accept that National’s proposed changes to KiwiSaver will decrease a saver’s nestegg by 44-49% over the course of a typical working life (as detailed at 08wire.org)? If so, how seriously do you think Labour misled the public with their claim that KiwiSaver would be cut “in half?”

    Also, Scribe asked: “Where’s the “law of common sense’ when ya need it, eh?”

    It turns out that such a law exists in Rule 11 of the ASA code, which states: “Expression of opinion in advocacy advertising is an essential and desirable part of the functioning of a democratic society. Therefore such opinions may be robust. However, opinion should be clearly distinguishable from factual information. The identity of an advertiser in matters of public interest or political issue should be clear.”

    It should have been obvious to the ASA that this rule allows “in half’ as a perfectly reasonable-yet-robust way of saying “44-49%”. These two concepts are nigh-identical.

    The problem is that the ASA never did the calculations to figure out how large National’s cuts were in practice before ruling Labour’s characterisation “misleading.” How you decide that course of action is a good idea I do not know.

  14. “Simon DC
    November 3, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Very young daughter? I’m the fellow that laid the complaint. If I’m somebody’s young daughter then why has nobody told me? I could be playing with barbie dolls instead of being at work.

    Sorry, I stand corrected.

  15. LawGeek 15

    Steve, I agree with you on the substance of the decision (I think it was a fair enough ad that came within the ASA’s advocacy principle, and that the decision was dubious), but you do have a couple of inaccuracies in what you’ve said.

    First, the ASA has jurisdiction over electoral advertising. It adjudicated on a complaint about National’s Iwi/Kiwi billboard at the last election. Its jurisdiction is carved out in relation to TV and Radio ads. By statute. And it may just be a ‘private organisation’, but it IS recognised in the Broadcasting Act as the proper authority for all other TV and Radio ads. It got jurisdiction over the two John’s ad by virtue of it being posted on a website – and the ASA does indeed have jurisdiction over web ads, contrary to what you have said. Now, I think it’s debatable whether posting a TV ad on youtube can properly be seen as ‘converting’ it into an internet ad, but there is certainly a tenable argument that it does.

    Second, it is its JOB to adjudicate on the complaints in receives. If you’re complaining about an election ad, the remedy (which is removal – this is the ONLY remedy the ASA has available to it) is meaningless if there is no adjudication before the election.

    So by all means disagree with the decision, but it does undermine your point when you criticise a process you don’t really understand.

  16. Scribe 16


    “National wants to cut Kiwisaver in half” — or whatever the language was — is not opinion. It’s being stated as fact.

    “You’ll be worse off under National” would be an opinion.

    captcha: consulted boxmen — wine box?

  17. dave 17



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