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Promoter Statements

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 pm, August 25th, 2011 - 71 comments
Categories: elections - Tags:

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.

71 comments on “Promoter Statements ”

  1. Darien Fenton 1

    I heard of a union that wanted to report on their submission to select committee and because they mentioned Labour MPs were told they had to get a promoter statement from the Labour Party. Bizarre.

    • J Mex 1.1

      That IS bizarre.

      Everyone knows that the Unions are part of Labour, so they wouldn’t need a separate promoter statement

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        More statement of incorrect facts by a RWNJ.

        Most unions are not affiliated or connected to Labour in any way you moron. Also, actually promoting a party will always require a promoter statement no matter who published the promotion.

        • J Mex

          {sigh} “Woosh”, is the sound of some tounge and cheek going right over your head, Draco

          The unions control Labour in the same way that “big business” controls the Nats. I don’t often (read never_ see you jumping all over comments to that effect. In fact, you’ve probably made them more than once or twice.

          • KJT

            What a laugh. If the Unions controlled Labour, it would not have been the first ACT Government in 1984.

            • J Mex

              Yes, well, Phil Goff is mainly to blame for the 80’s.

              The reality is that the unions donate to Labour (almost exclusively), and big business often donates to National (but non exclusively and often to both Labour and National).

              It is only in Labour that those donations come with constitutional and voting rights. But that’s right – donations by “big business” to National ==> Wrong/Bad.

              Union donations to Labour ==> all good thanks.

              • Colonial Viper

                Don’t be a fucking asshole

                Unions represent hundreds of thousands of ordinary NZ workers in dozens of different industries

                Corporations represent maybe a dozen people on their boards and perhaps another dozen major institutional investors, mostly based overseas.

                Who the fuck would you prefer involved in your nation’s politics? Asshole.

                • law

                  Calm down CV, angry individual that you seem to be.

                  Unions barely scrap in at representing 1 in 5 employed people in NZ… hardly the force that you make them out to be

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yeah union strength in NZ (and in the US) has been gutted over the last 20 years.

                    Just as pay and conditions have simultaneously been gutted, and CxO pay has soared out of sight.

                    • law

                      would you prefer we had a membership level similar to Greece…seems to be working a treat for them.

                • Joe Bloggs

                  Your hemorrhoids playing up again CV?

                • TightyRighty

                  you poor pathetic excuse of a person. Who employs these hundreds of thousands of people CV? it aint unions. They are only good for living high on the hog chasing whores with OPM.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Frak it, give the workers the capital and they can employ themselves and produce the goods and provide the services themselves.

                    Depart from the capitalist system, cut out producing economic value which is then be exported to far away shareholders; the workers should be the shareholders and they should keep the profits themselves.

                    it aint unions. They are only good for living high on the hog chasing whores with OPM.

                    Meh, CEOs get 20% pay increases on $15,000 p.w. pay, and union workers get less than 2% on $600 p.w. pay.

                    Its clear who the frakking hogs are. And you work on their behalf you little self styled wage slave overseer.

                    • TightyRighty

                      That’s right, ignore the fact that your precious unions are so good at helping themselves to a few hundred thousand or so of their members dues. Because five star hotels and whores are essential when your travelling around representing the workers cleaning up after.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      1) Dominque Strauss-Kahn.

                      2) The banks, corporates and finance companies are quite happy to help themselves to hundreds of billions of tax payers monies thanks to their weapons of mass financial destruction.

                      Keep things in scale mate.

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    Your second comment is interesting TR. Did your brain shut down before you finished the sentence?
                    If you have any evidence of union officials staying in 5 star hotels and/or using union credit cards to pay for sexual encounters, please provide it. Or just piss off, whatever’s easier for you.

              • mik e

                Big business has far deeper pockets And owns the media one way or another through the advertising revenue. The media is to yellow to criticize the hand that feeds it!J mex but their not to scared to dump on the unions anytime they like!Just like youself.The Media works $43million Hand out Joyces old joint yeah Right wing welfare Keys socialist streak

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “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.”

    No, because then the Exclusive Brethren could make a pamphlet covered in photos of John Key and thereby avoid the “authorised by” statement.

    It’s there for a purpose, and doing an end-run around it in “some cases” completely defeats it’s purpose.

    I’m not sure what the ideal solution to the problem is, but just leaving the name off isn’t it.

    • Blighty 2.1

      Lanthe. The EB did put authorisation statements on their materials. Just made up names.

      So the problem of fraud already exists (hard to believe they weren’t prosecuted, actually, considering the gravity of what they were trying to achieve through fraudulent means)

    • Dave 2.2

      Make all donations to a party to a central fund that is administered by a cross party committee that set advertising budgets for all parties? Then lobbying can happen, but cannot influence the outcome quite so easily as having millions of dollars of secret donations.

  3. Gosman 3

    When did this law come into effect and why is Labour so incompetent it can’t understand it on numerous occassions?

    • Jenny Michie 3.1

      The date of assent for the Electoral (Finance Reforem and Advance Voting) Amendment Act 2010 was 20 December 2010.

    • Everyone has had problems with the rules GMan. 
      Funny that those who brayed loudest about “nanny state” and “buracracy out of control” are insisting on what are really confusing rules being adhered to strictly.

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        Did the Labour party object to the law change and if so did they offer something as a better option?

        My understanding is that usually electoral law changes are done by consensus. There was of course one notable exception to that rule…

        • mickysavage

          Yep there was that occasion where the Nats opposed the imposition of rules that would have affected the ability of fringe religious movements giving secret support to their campaign.
          They really made a song and dance about it and made out the reforms were something they were not.
          I remember it well …

          • Joe Bloggs

            then you’d also remember Labour opposing the imposition of rules that would have affected the ability of overseas donors giving secret six figure support and interest-free loans to their party.

            They really made a song and dance about it and made out the reforms were something they were not… to say nothing about claims that an interest-free loan was not a donation…

            … whatever

    • Blighty 3.3

      the problem, as Rob Carr says, is that a determination around materials was made and National kept it secret so that Labour would be trapped by publishing materials it considered weren’t ads that didn’t have authorisation statements on them.

      • Joe Bloggs 3.3.1

        that’s not quite true either Blighty. National received the same advice from the Electoral Commission that ALL par­ties and MPs received.

        What you, Rob and Eddie overlook is that the Eelectoral Commission considers Labours breaches to be significantly more serious than those of other parties – hence the referrals to the Police.

        • ropata

          I am very concerned that the Police were roped into vexatious freedom of speech and electoral matters. They aren’t meant to police thoughts or the democratic process, that’s the way to 1984

          • Joe Bloggs

            Quite true – but when laws are broken then the police rightly become involved – whether the transgressions are technical or deliberate and calculated.

            Whether the police choose to act before the election or after, or get conned into turning a blind eye, will be interesting

    • Not quite true. The bit in the Electoral (Finance Reform and Advance Voting) Amendment Act 2010 is merely the latest incarnation of a requirement which has been the law in one form or other since the 1970s.

      • Blighty 3.4.1

        it’s the ruling about parliamentary service approved materials and the authorisation statement that’s new.

        • Graeme Edgeler

          Nope. That’s always been required too.

          And Labour knew that because their first pledge card (i.e. not the one they got in trouble for) carried a promoter statement, while still being Parliamentary Funded.

          The change was the change in Parliamentary Service rules that required a Parliamentary Crest on all Parliamentary advertising (at the time of the first pledge card, what was needed was a crest *or* a logo, so Labour went with logo and everyone assumed they’d funded it as a party).

          At that point parties wanted to stop having a promoter statement on Parliamentary-funded material because everyone would know they were parliamentary-funded and might get cross. They then tried to invent the fiction that these weren’t election advertising.

          I would note that given that Labour got in trouble for not having a promoter statement on the pledgecard [that they did get in trouble for] they must have known since at least 2005. Given its now 2011 and that bit of the law has remained constant throughout, they should have twigged (not least because Electoral Commission advice has been consistent on this for years).

          • bbfloyd

            graeme.. keep up with the pace… one of the main points of this post is that the rules were “changed” without informing anyone else…. tory bullshitters are flowing thick and fast around here lately.. must be starting to panic…

            • Colonial Viper

              The strange thing is that there is still an underlying panic pulse coming from the NACTs. Poll results come out, show that LAB is still dead in the water, Key increases his lead on Goff…and the NACTs still have a panic pulse.

              What is up with that? 🙂

    • mik e 3.5

      National through Joyces old Joint Media works ran a dirty campaign 2008 would have cost $100s of thousands or more it wasn’t counted in campaign expenses. There needs to be more careful monitoring around these slush campaigns otherwise we will end up like the US which it takes ridiculous sums of money to run campaigns.

  4. Jenny Michie 4

    Unfortunately National’s revamp of the Electoral Act didn’t do much to make things easier. The reality is that anybody who wants to be a player in the election is effectively a promoter (whether you are a registered promoter – spending over $12K – or not).

    All election advertsing during an election year needs to carry a promoter statement.

    An election advertisement is an ad in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to: vote or not vote for a candidate (whether or not the name of the candidate is stated);

    to vote or not vote for a party (whether or not the name of the party is stated)

    to vote or not vote for a ype of candidate or party described by reference to views or positions that are, or are not, held or take (whether or not the name of the candidate or party are stated).

    That’s pretty broad. Thank goodness indvidual opinions and regular editorial publications are exempt. And as Darien said if you mention a candidate or party in your ads (but not truly in a submsission to a select committee? That sounds daft) you need to get their written permission and it goes against that party’s attributable expenses. That makes sense and has been the case for many elections if I recall rightly.

    • “All election advertsing during an election year needs to carry a promoter statement.”

      No. All election advertising at any time needs to carry a promoter statement.

  5. Keeping My Head Below The Parapet 5

    I wonder if Chris Tremain enjoyed putting 40,000 labels into 40,000 magazines last week after they were printed, because he did not include the authorised statement.

  6. In Vito Vertias 6

    Just stick to the bloody rules you morons. All parties. If you have a complaint, make it to the electoral office, don’t whinge and moan in a blog.Technical schmecnical – Hooper and Penney was a technical breach of the income tax act, and most on this site are lauding that decision made by the Supreme Court. Play by the rules and get on with it.

    And Labour not understanding the rules? And Labour weren’t told by National? Oh please. Someone bring me a bucket to puke in. Cry baby nonsense, this is not a kindergarten playground!Its their job to understand the rules! But then, they left their server open for viewing. Guess that says it all.

  7. Todd 7

    It really doesnt matter what excuse you try to spin on this Labour is going to look stupid in the eyes of the public,and that is that.Unless of course national gets done for the same offence then it will maybe be neutral at best for Labour.

  8. On the advertising point, the ACT advertising is fine. It seeks members, not votes, and has nothing to do with the election.
    Hekia Parata, however, could be in trouble, that sounds like an election slogan.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      From Jenny’s post at #4 above:

      “to vote or not vote for a ype of candidate or party described by reference to views or positions that are, or are not, held or take (whether or not the name of the candidate or party are stated).”

      Wouldn’t ACT advert fall under that? You’re saying they’re seeking members not votes, but I think listing their policy like that could be considered asking for votes. Want legalised Gay Marriage? Vote for ACT.

    • Rob Carr 8.2

      At the moment the electoral commission is taking a very wide view of what is covered due to the new definition if something is capable of making someone join your party then it would surely be capable of encouraging them to vote for it. Grant Robertson for example was told he had to authorise photographs of himself in various areas of Wellington as they might give the impression he was an electorate MP who was in touch with the community.

  9. chris73 9

    Why does it seem so hard for Labour to just obey the rules and laws of this country?

    Seriously, why is it?

    (and if you see your opponents like National or the Greens do it then dob them in as well)

    • Red Rosa 9.1

      Well said C73. The average voter sees this as incompetence, and he/she is dead right.

      Sour grapes from Labour won’t win votes.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Fuck it sell off the country’s best assets and power generators then, your grandkids will thank you for your foresight as they pay into the foreign owned toll booths every day.

        • law

          I hope you are sending that message to Goff et al. If only they had the smarts to run a decent campaign within the rules…

          • Colonial Viper

            Hey nitpick all you like while you sell grannies wee ones down the river

            • law

              so that is a no?

              You bastard. I hope you will apologise to my son.

              • Colonial Viper

                How old is your son? If he is under 20 he is in for a hard tough life, sorry to say, not unlike those who were born in the 1910’s.

                • ropata

                  this “law” idiot has no notion of justice

                • In Vito Veritas

                  Now,now Colonel. You are stepping over the line into Mik e type rabidness. (Stake in ground. Short leash. Foaming mouth. Port Louis). All you are doing is spouting Labour Party scare tactics, sort of like Muldoon and communism. What exactly would you know about how children lived in the 1910’s? You’d have to be freakily old! I would point out that assets have been sold ever since Labour took power in the ’80’s (and your man Goff was one of those leading the charge). And NZ hasn’t fallen over yet has it?

                  ropata has no notion of any sort.

                  [lprent: Always nice to see another data point on a theory. I find that most trolls have this habit of being unobservant. It is now part of my signature search and especially when they reply to handles incorrectly (flame starter) seeing what they want to see. CV’s handle for instance. Of course the Act on campus meaningless comment style is a bit obvious as well. ]

                  • In Vito Veritas

                    Sorry iprent – didnt know there was some sort of protocol on this stuff.

                    [lprent: I keep a moderating overview on comments looking for patterns of behavior that I consider cause the comments section to trash out – see policy. You triggered on two in that comment. ]

  10. peteremcc 10

    It’s not even an ACT leaflet, it’s an ACT on Campus leaflet.

    • Rob Carr 10.1

      Doesn’t matter Peter anyone involved in the organisation of a political party is covered. This would include youth wings.

      This is why your Facebook group carries an authorisation statement:

      Authorised by Garry Mallett, 809 River Road, Hamilton.

      • peteremcc 10.1.1

        No, we’ve had specific advice from the electoral commission on this.

        ACT on Campus is completely independent from ACT so anything that promotes only ACT on Campus does not promote ACT.

        The Facebook group is authorised because we often promote ACT on that page through links, articles, etc.

  11. Campbell Larsen 11

    That yellow one with the young people que-ing up for the $8 per hour jobs, RTDs and legal pot from the Church of ACT should be banned, false advertising – there is no way that the young people are ever going to see any of that booze or weed….and they will be lucky to get $8p/h

    • ropata 11.1

      They forgot to mention their “Don Brash retirement scheme” … flog off AirNZ for a few bucks, privatise roads, close useless public facilities like hospitals and schools, and huge tax refunds to all millionaires.
      (but lower wages all round)

  12. I can see people moving to wearing party colours.

    No logos or words….just the colour best associated with the party I support.

    Like the gangs do….

    Labour will have a problem. Is red for them..or the Mongrel Mob?

  13. hrrrumph 13

    So if Darien is correct that is a bizarre and probably screwed up example and a better article. But more mea culpa for lack of promoter statements and not letting it happen again would be good.

  14. chris73 14

    What I don’t get is why Labour keep giving the Right all this ammo. I mean wouldn’t it be simpler to, oh I don’t know, follow the rules and add whatever needs to be added so its all nice and legal.

    Or is that too difficult?

  15. This is just another example of political stalling. As long as the people’s (or your enemy’s) attention is focused elsewhere, you can continue to maintain the status quo. And your bank account.

  16. Oh man, you guys have no idea! You should see how fucked up this situation is in the states!

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