Democracy Attacks Back
The Free Speech Coalition has launched a billboard campaign today against the parties which voted for the Electoral Finance Act.
“The Electoral Finance Act was correctly labeled by the New Zealand Herald as an “Attack on Democracy” so we think it is fitting that Democracy should attack back.” Said spokesperson David Farrar
Three billboards are initially going up. One in Auckland targeting Helen Clark, one in Tauranga for Winston Peters and one in Wellington for Peter Dunne. They are a clear statement that we regard their legislation as anti-democratic and unconstitutional. MPs are there to serve the public, not to silence the public.
As Peter Dunne did flip-flop at the last second and vote against at the final reading, we are considering amending the
We do not know whether these billboards will breach the Electoral Finance Act after 1 January. If they are deemed election advertisements which advocate against a party then we will be in breach of the law if we do not register as a third party. For that reason we yesterday filed a request with the Electoral Commission to register.
It is possible however they could be considered election advertisements advocating against a candidate. In that scenario the limit is $4,000 and we would be breaking the law to keep these billboards up in January. This just illustrates how unclear the new law is. The Coalition will be asking the Electoral Commission for advice as we do not wish to break the law.
We hope the public enjoy the billboards over summer. We only have funding to keep them up for a month but will be asking people to donate to keep them up longer, or to allow us to roll out more billboards in more cities.
Q&A on the Free Speech Coalition Billboards
- Where are they going up?
The Helen Clark billboard is was put up today near
It is going back up this afternoon on the corner of
The Winston Peters billboard will go up Thursday in Tauranga at the corner of
- What is the rationale for each billboard?
We have carefully selected an appropriate authoritarian for each billboard.
Helen Clark has been a trenchant critic of
Winston Peters of course has just been to
Peter Dunne has been an admirable champion of human rights for the Taiwanese, and the Greens likewise have admirably defended the human rights of
- Some of those leaders have done terrible things. Are you saying the Government here is as bad as them?
No, of course not. We are saying their forcing through of the Electoral Finance Bill against massive opposition and in breach of longstanding constitutional conventions is a step in the direction of authoritarianism, and that one step along that path is a step too far.
We note that both the Dominion Post and the NZ Herald have given out a Kim Jong-Il award this week, to a New Zealand MP. This is in a similar spirit as those awards.
- How much are the billboards costing and who paid for them?
The three sites combined cost $7,000 for a month’s rental. There are some production costs on top of that.
The Free Speech Coalition has had donations from scores of New Zealanders, and all donors get listed on our website at www.killthebill.org.nz
- How can people support the Free Speech Coalition
By donating to allow us to keep running more billboards. Our creative team is ready and waiting to go. People can donate online with a credit card at www.killthebill.org.nz, can post donations to