- Date published:
7:03 am, March 10th, 2017 - 32 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, democratic participation, election 2017 - Tags: andrew geddis, attack ads, attack politics, democracy under attack, elections, racism
A couple of racist groups seem to be hawking their wares recently (summarised in the tweets below).
Peter Dunne appalled by 'racist' propaganda delivered to Wellington homes https://t.co/vd0o4dWCUw
— Stuff.co.nz Politics (@NZStuffPolitics) March 9, 2017
What is this UTTER SHIT in the Christchurch Mail? pic.twitter.com/DpNmRk3n7f
— CherylBernstein (@CherylBernstein) March 8, 2017
Unfortunately this may herald the start of a dirty election, dragged down by well funded and unaccountable pressure groups (remember the Exclusive Brethren attack on the Greens in 2005?). The indispensable Professor Andrew Geddis explains:
Andrew Geddis: Open slather for election-year ‘attack ads’ by individuals and well-funded pressure groups
Until now, elections in New Zealand have been held under an assumption. While the Broadcasting Act 1989 allows political parties and candidates some limited freedom to run partisan election ads on television or radio in the weeks before polling day, no one else can use this media for such purposes.
That assumption then freed us from having to confront the sort of negative “attack ads” that clutter election-year TV and radio in places like Australia and the United States. We instead only saw or heard the political parties’ much more anodyne, gentle “vote for us” messages.
However, last October the Court of Appeal overturned that basic assumption. According to the court, the law never imposed a blanket ban on everyone using TV and radio for partisan political ends.
Rather, it bans only political parties and candidates from doing so, apart from their limited exceptions provided in the act. Everyone else then is free to use TV and radio to broadcast any election-related message that they choose.
That is a pretty fundamental change to how election campaigning can occur in New Zealand. The sort of attack ads that routinely run overseas may now take place in New Zealand. …
Well worth reading Geddis’ original post on Pundit where he explains the process of taking out his own “attack ad” on Radio One: My little gonzo academic electoral law experiment. An entertaining read but a serious point, what is to stop NZ following the USA down into this particular hell hole?
And no, educational campaigns from unions are not equivalent to attack ads, in the same way that ordinary speech is not equivalent to hate speech.
Other coverage from:
The ODT, Private parties may be able to run election ads
The Herald, Heather du Plessis-Allan: Let’s not go American in election
Bryce Edwards, Political Roundup: Politicians under attack – should we be worried?