The Electoral Commission has referred Labour MP Shane Jones to the Police over his urging people to vote Labour while a replacement talkback host for an hour.
Yes even talkback hosts can not say what they think on air under the Electoral Finance Act.
A complaint (both laid by John Boscawen) against Winston Peters was not upheld, despite Peters also advocating voting for NZ First.
The difference is Peters did so in response to a question, while Jones advocated unprompted.
The Commission’s reasoning is sound and correct in my opinion. It does show how stupid the law is though when it comes down to this.
Note this ruling is a precedent for all radio staff and talkback hosts. The facts Peters and Jones were MPs was not the issue. If you say on air unprompted whichparty you think should or should not be supported, then you may be facing Police action also – unless your broadcaster clearly gives you authority to do so for editorial purposes. Read the full ruling.
UPDATE: NewstalkZB is also facing a fine of up to $200,000 for breaching the Broadcasting Act, as the talkback may constitute an illegal election broadcast.