The EMA earlier this year ran some newspaper ads trying to stop the changes to KiwiSaver legislation, which would have made it illegal to take account of KiwiSaver contributions in a total remuneration package.
The EMA ran the ads a few days before the parliamentary debate on the law change, and they did not mention voting – they encouraged people to lobby the Government and MPs. The ad (copied from The Standard) is below:
Now the Electoral Commission has just ruled that in their opinion the advertisement is an election advertisement, that the EMA Northern have broken the law in running the advertisement, and have referred them to the Police for prosecution.
Now for all those who claimed that the Electoral Finance Act would not restrain issue advocacy, you may wish to rethink your positions.
The key aspect here is the EFA is based on the effect of an advertisement, not the intent of the advertisement. Because of the “Stop Mallard” sign it was thought it could end up influencing some people against Labour.
What this really means is you can only run an issue based advertisement in election year if it is not too hard hitting. That is hugely advantagous to the Government who can push through bad laws, and opponents have to hold back in their criticism of the law changes, in case they break the law.
Because they stood up for their members on a bill before Parliament, the EMA faces a police investigation and probable prosecution. Just another reason the Electoral Finance Act should be repealed.Tags: Electoral Commission, Electoral Finance Act, EMA Northern, Trevor Mallard