More EFA Fun

A reader writes in:

For a while now I have noticed when passing major road improvement projects on State Highways that at the beginning of each project there is a large Transit sign stating what the improvement is.

Underneath the main text is a short statement saying: A New Zealand Government Initiative.

What are your thoughts on whether these would count as an election advertisement and should they carry an authorisation statement and count toward election costs for the Labour Party.

I know its perhaps drawing a long bow, but they only seemed to appear in the last year or so and it irks me every time I see it.  I can’t actually see any reason for it to be on the Transit sign apart from to make people think positively of the government in relation to fixing roads.

There is an arguable case. Let us look at Section 5(1)(a)(ii)

In this Act, election advertisement

  • (a) means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can reasonably be regarded as doing 1 or more of the following:

    • (ii) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote, for a type of party or for a type of candidate that is described or indicated by reference to views, positions, or policies that are or are not held, taken, or pursued (whether or not the name of a party or the name of a candidate is stated); and

Now as the EFA says the name of the party does not need to be stated and a “The Government” is a description of the parties which form the Government – Labour, Progressive, NZ First and United Future.

Now does the signs saying “A NZ Government initiative” encourage people to vote for Government parties?  Probably not – it would be a stretch. On the other hand you might ask why the signs now include the statement – does anyone think that state highway upgrades are a private initiative? Maybe the suggestion came from that independent Transit board member Mike Williams?

Meanwhile Peter McC has photos of the Palmerston North Labour Party candidate, Iain Lees-Galloway, with an illegal election advertisement.  After he noticed photos being taken, he stuck on an authorisation statement but sadly as it did not include a home address (just the Labour Head Office) it is still illegal!

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