The “authorised by” promoter statement has become a political tool. Intended to prevent anonymous campaigns, now political parties, particularly National, try to find materials that are unambiguously from another party but lacking a promoter statement and try to get them defined as election ads. There’s no democratic principal there, just gotcha politics.
Is the only answer for the Left to fight fire with fire by reporting examples of possible ads that don’t carry a promoter statement, like the ones provided in the guest post below from Rob Carr (and thanks to Rob for the inside word the rule change that National kept secret, which got Labour caught out)? Or should the law be more in tune with the real world and recognise that if a political material is covered in the names, photos, and logos of a party and its candidates, it’s ridiculous to make it a crime not to have an “authorised by” statement.
It has been frustrating to see the repeated news of promoter statements not being satisfied focussing on Labour. The breaches that have been recorded this year were all technical ones. There was no one in any doubt that Labour produced those materials which is the point of promoter statements. Kiwiblog’s repeated demands for Labour to be prosecuted have been absurd.
The fact is all of the political parties give out materials without promoter statements regularly through simple oversight or in the case of the most recent materials with Labour not understanding the rules. Prior to around June, every single political party, including National, was not putting any promoter statements on Parliamentary-funded materials. The Parliamentary Service would probably have actually declined them being allowed to print it with a promoter statement on it. National received advice that it was outside the rules, didn’t tell the other parties, and then ensured a Labour flyer got referred to the Electoral Commission.
Its also not like the other parties have entirely stopped skipping out on promoter statements either. When she is campaigning around Mana is it pretty difficult not to notice Hekia Parata’s campaign car obviously lacking one:
At Victoria ACT has been handing out entirely un-promoted flyers too for this year which they have apparently given out 20,000 of:
The fact is it is a silly rule for political parties to need to put a promoter statement on everything. While the need to attribute costs is clear the process is far more bureaucratic than it needs to be and the only reason Labour is showing up badly for the breaches is because a double standard is being applied.