Website warned it breaches Electoral Finance Act

I blogged last week on young Andy Moore’s Don’t Vote Labour website, and pointed out that it is now classified as an election advertisement and breaches the Finance Act, as it does not state on the site te name and residential address of the person responsible or promoter.

Labour and the Greens voted against an amendment which would have had all non commercial speech on the Internet defined as not being an election advertisement.  At present it is only such speech on blogs and sites.  This is of course very silly as
the difference between a and the website Andy set up is what sort of technology it uses.  But again this is not a drafting error – they voted down an amendment which would have solved this problem.

Now there was a vigorous discussion on the previous thread about whether the Commission would take any action against the website. Roger Gnome especially insisted there was no chance at all.

The Herald reports today that the Commission has contacted Andy Moore, and that an authorisation requirement is needed on the site.

We also have another law breaker in Internet personality Bruce Simpson.  Bruce has been having his say on the Internet since before I knew there was an Internet.  And he isn’t too keen about registering either.

So on his Aardvark site, Bruce has an illegal election advertisement.  Not against the Government, but in fact campaigning for Helen Clark in Mt Albert.  He has ascribed it a value of $100 a day, so believes he will be prosecuted in 40 days time once the value as reahed $4,000.

In fact Bruce will run into trouble before then.  As it is an advertisement urging support for a candidate, he needs the permission of Helen Clark’s financial agent.  Yes you can not put a banner on your own website urging support of a candidate without their permission.  The old law also required permission, of course, but did not view a statement on your own website as an ad.

So Bruce is looking to breach several sections of the Act.  He doesn’t have his name and address on an advertisement.  He doesn’t ave the permission of the candidate’s financial agent and he will breach the spending limit for third party for a candidate.

He will actually breach the limit at $1,000 not $4,000 as the latter amount only applies if you are a registered third party, which Bruce is not.

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