Why we need an electoral law change

The Herald reports:

Soul and blues star Darren Watson’s satirical song Planet Key appears to have been banned from being broadcast.

Guitarist singer and songwriter Mr Watson’s song and its animated video by Jeremy Jones released last week pokes fun at the Prime Minister and his Government.

It features Mr Key playing a stinging blues guitar solo on an endangered Maui’s dolphin while an oil rig explodes in the background. It also depicts Finance Minister Bill English carrying Mr Key’s golf clubs and the Prime Minister plays golf with Barack Obama.

But Mr Watson posted on Facebook this afternoon that he had just had a “super interesting chat with The Electoral Commission just now”.

“It appears we may be gagged.”

He later posted that “the story is the Electoral Commission have advised a Access Radio station not to play Planet Key as it may be a contravention of the act.”

Hamilton’s Free FM station manager Phil Grey told the Herald the station had played Mr Watson’s music before but when it recently received a copy of the song, because of its content, the station’s programme director asked for the Electoral Commission’s opinion on whether it breached electoral rules.

“She got a communication back saying that outside of a topical news item about the song, airplay of that song would be considered to cross the threshold to be considered an electoral programme.”

The Electoral Commission is correct, in my opinion, in terms of the law.

However that is why I think the law should be changed.

We have archaic electoral laws that treat the broadcast medium as different to other mediums. All political advertising is banned on broadcast media, except those ads funded by the taxpayer through the broadcasting allocation, Effectively this means the state has a monopoly over broadcast advertising.

We should change the law to allow anyone to run advertisements on radio or television, so long as they identify themselves.

Of course the John key parody video can be viewed online. I blogged it here myself a few days ago.

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