The afternoon session was pretty boring in the end, as both National and Labour were saying they should get the same amount of money.
Jo de Joux gave a short submission saying National and Labour should get the same amount. Made reference to the advantage the incumbent can get from the restrictions in the Electoral Finance Act and Government advertising campaigns.
Some questions on how the other parties should be treated in terms of tiers.
They want 15 minutes opening time for National and Labour but broadcasters have said 24 minute block on Friday and 48 minutes on Saturday, so the question from Helena Catt was if they won’t budge would National rather have 12 minutes on Friday or 15 minutes on Saturday. They said 12 minutes on Friday.
The normal question over TVNZ’s new requirement to be paid in advance was put. Murray McCully deftly suggested it was an issue for the Commission and the broadcasters to resolve, not the parties.
They were questioned why they suggested all five minor parties (except Progressive) get the same Tier 2 funding despite the Green polling considerably higher. Response was that polls do not always track minor parties well and the difference between 5% and 2% isn’t huge.
Mike Smith appearing. Guess Mike Williams was still hiding from the media. In fact I hear his cellphone message now asks people if they are journalists to ring someone else. Mike Smith speaks very softly so was hard to hear everything he said.
He said two main parties roughly equal on criteria of votes and MPs so should get the same. Also said polls should not be relied on so much as less people have landlines, so they should have reduced significance.
Also downplayed membership figures as different parties may classify how you qualify to be a member in different ways. And suggested National’s extra broadcast buy from last time due to the GST error should be taken into account for this time. Strangely he did not suggest Labour’s $800,000 overspend should be a factor.
He later clarified in questioning that while he was bringing the 2005 GST issue to the Commission’s attention, in the end they are advocating both Labour and National gets the same.
Labour said the new TVNZ system would not be a big issue – needing to book 10 days in advance. In my experience bookings are made well in advance, but the details of the actual ad is what may change right up until the last minute.
They also said they are happy with 62% for major parties, not 66% as National suggested.
So the morning session was far more interesting. Herald and Don Post did turn up in the afternoon.
I actually think the Commission has a pretty easy job this year as there is no dispute over National and Labour getting the same, and little issue with $10 – $20 k each to parties outside Parliament. The real interest will be how they treat the other six parliamentary parties.
If they have just a Tier 2 and Tier 3 then I’d say Greens, NZ First and Maori in Tier 2 and ACT, United Future and Progressive in Tier 3.
If they have a Tier 2, 3 and 4, then the possible options are:
- Greens – Tier 2
- NZ First – Tier 2 or 3
- Maori Party – Tier 2 or 3
- ACT – Tier 3 or 4
- United Future – Tier 3 or 4
- Progressive – Tier 3, 4 or possibly even Tier 5
It will be interesting to see the determination.Tags: broadcasting allocations, Electoral Commission