RadioLive asked “Did the PM’s hour influence your vote?” on its website last Friday. Billy the Kid commented:
It was my first election. I heard Key and thought he sounded pretty cool so yeah I voted for him.
All it takes is one. That confirms it was an election programme and Radio Live broke the law.The Broadcasting Act prohibits election programmes broadcast before writ day whether paid or not. It is a serious breach; the maximum penalty is a fine of $100,000.
Key was also very involved in organising the programme – he personally selected the guests. So was his office – they suggested to Radio Live at the last minute that the station get an opinion from the Electoral Commission as to whether the programme was legitimate, and helped draft the wording.
Having seen the Commission’s warning to be extremely careful in playing such a programme, one of Key’s office staff commented that the Commission had indicated the responsibility for any breach lay with the broadcaster, “which was useful”. That’s pretty grubby, letting someone else take the rap.