Electoral Commission split on logos

May 28th, 2008 at 7:42 am by David Farrar

An interesting story in the NZ Herald, that even the can’t decide whether or not a party logo is an election advertisement, with a split between the four Commissioners.

This is likely to have an impact on issues such as whether pens and balloons with logos and website addresses on them are election advertisements.

Another victory for the law of common sense.

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12 Responses to “Electoral Commission split on logos”

  1. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    When I look at a black swastika on a white circle, I don’t go ‘Hmmm what an ambiguous image – I wonder who it represents?”

    Of course the logos should be banned under the EFA.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    Exactly Lee – of course it’s ambiguous. Is it telling (let’s say) immigrants to go home, or is it telling people to vote for someone who will send immigrants home?

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  3. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    “When Adolph Hitler, the frustrated artist, was placed in charge of propaganda for the fledgling National Socialist Party in 1920, he realized that the party needed a vivid symbol to distinguish it from rival groups. He sought a design, therefore, that would attract the masses. Hitler selected the swastika as the emblem of racial purity displayed on a red background “to win over the worker,”

    Hitler had a convenient but spurious reason for choosing the Hakenkreuz or hooked cross. It had been used by the Aryan nomads of India in the Second Millennium B.C. In Nazi theory, the Aryans were the Germans ancestors, and Hitler concluded that the swastika had been “eternally anti-Semitic.”

    In spite of its fanciful origin the swastika flag was a dramatic one and it achieved exactly what Hitler intended from the first day it was unfurled in public. Anti-Semites and unemployed workers rallied to the banner, and even Nazi opponents were forced to acknowledge that the swastika had a “hypnotic effect.” ”

    This was one of the progenitors of all party logos – to claim a party logo has any other purpose than to brand and influence thought is a negation of common-sense.

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  4. Yvette (2,852 comments) says:

    What the hell is the problem?
    If a ball-point pen has a LABOUR logo on it, it is identified as LABOUR’s.
    If they want it back, it identifies the owner.
    If they have given it to you it is advertsing.
    If it is advertising it needs an authorisation otherwise it is breaking the law.

    If you write ‘Labour-led Government’ and the reader already knows that the Government is Labour-led, it is advertising – if they don’t know, it is information. Since the audience is split between the informed and the ignorant, both must be catered for and an authorisation is required.
    See it’s simple.

    And if you write an article critical of ‘Labour’s Helen Clark’ you should, if you anticipate spending more than the appropriate limit, register as a third party, but if you write ‘Prime Minister Helen Clark’ or just the ‘Prime Minister’ you are okay.
    What could be easier.

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  5. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Helen Clark on BBC Radio: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/3053141.stm

    ..”Is there a debate about it [Asian Immigration] in New Zealand? Well of course there is and we have our equivalent of Mr Le Pen in New Zealand and that party scored about 10% of the vote.”

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  6. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    So Winston First’s Logo should be banned especially as Helen sees them as Neo Nazis, Graeme…

    Helen Clark on BBC Radio:

    ..”Is there a debate about it [Asian Immigration] in New Zealand? Well of course there is and we have our equivalent of Mr Le Pen in New Zealand and that party scored about 10% of the vote.”
    BBC Interview this year.

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    to claim a party logo has any other purpose than to brand and influence thought is a negation of common-sense

    Makes sense. But is branding regulated by the EFA? Or just stuff about the election?

    A party logo might be displayed to get people to join a party, for example, or to seek financial support (a stall at a university clubs’ day perhas). It’s not about the election in such a case (or at least, not about influencing people to vote one way or the other).

    The test in the EFA relies of a form of words or graphics “encouraging or persuading” – to me, these make sense:

    * I thought about voting Green because they asked me to with their “vote green” pamphlet
    * I voted National because I saw a billboard with the words “tax cut” on it and the National Party Logo

    And this does not:

    * I voted Labour because I saw their logo on a balloon somewhere.

    The first two encourage or persuade. How does the third?

    EDIT: Yvette – it may be advertising, but the question under the EFA is “is it election advertising?”.

    [DPF: What about a hoarding that just has the photo of the candidate and the party logo? A hoarding by itself doesn’t convince people to vote for a party, but thousands of them are put up, because it is a way of showing public support for a candidate which can have a persuasive effect.

    If you see a 90% of houses in your street with a Party X hoarding and you may think Wow they are popular, must be doing some good stuff. Likewise if you go to your local community fair and there are thousands of Party Y balloons there, you might think again Wow they have so much local support, they must be good for our community.]

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  8. Yvette (2,852 comments) says:

    ” EDIT: Yvette – it may be advertising, but the question under the EFA is “is it election advertising?”. ”

    All political advertising IS Election advertising – all party actions of promotion or party enhancement is aimed at the re-election of the party – any time, all the time. Name any other purpose.

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  9. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    All political advertising IS Election advertising

    Yvette – other purposes include getting members, getting public donations, creating brand awareness etc.

    Other purposes for political advertising include getting people mobilised against a law (e.g. fart tax, anti-smacking). Seeking political change (protests about sow crates etc.).

    DPF: What about a hoarding that just has the photo of the candidate and the party logo?

    Candidate advertisement. That Darren Hughes is the Labour candidate for Otaki is a reason to vote for him. While many split vote, voting for an candidate because he’s from a party you like is a good reason for voting for him, and telling people that Darren is Labour is information designed to swing votes:

    “Hughes is Labour – then I’ll vote for him.” And “Darren’s Labour? No chance, mate.” both make sense.

    That the Labour Party exists (which is all a naked logo can achieve) is not a reason to support them.

    [DPF: I disagree again. If the hoarding only served to notify people Hughes is the Labour candidate, well then why would they spend so much money on them as he is listed on the ballot as Labour anyway.

    They do it because they have an effect of voting. And you didn’t respond to my other point that seeing one party’s logo all over your community, and the other party almost invisible can influence voting behaviour. Let’s say it is the day before the polls and on your drive home you see 40 massive billboards with the Labour logo on it and hundreds of hoardings with the same thing up and down your street. Does that not have an affect? I bet you absolutely it would.

    A balloon and a pen with the logo is the same thing – just on a smaller scale.]

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  10. Yvette (2,852 comments) says:

    Graeme – “Yvette – other purposes include getting members, getting public donations, creating brand awareness etc.”

    So let National do any of these, not authorise any, and see if Labour or New Zealand First agree with you.

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  11. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    The EFA doesn’t regulation elections campaigns, it regulates election advertisements. And it’s election advertisements, not political advertisements.

    Can this pen/balloon/leaflet/billboard reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading me to vote for or against someone?

    If not, the EFA has stuff all to say about it. Even if it’s part of some overall massive campaign with some sort of cumulative effect.

    If a leaflet is not an election advertisement, it does not become an election advertisement because other people have them too.

    As for balloons, well, balloons are pretty entertaining, so that might be treating (even if the balloon’s blank).

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  12. baxter (893 comments) says:

    Why should an employee of the Crown Law Office have the casting vote,?

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