Ridge in trouble

The NZ Herald reports:

Former rugby and rugby league star Matthew Ridge could face prosecution and a fine of up to $10,000 for advertising his Greenlane car wash company with a mock election advertisement.

The billboard features a picture of Ridge, an All Black who later captained the Kiwis, and uses a play on words to promote the hand-washing car service: “Say no to Labour – We’ll hand wash your car for $15”.

Ridge says it’s just a play on words and he isn’t standing for Parliament.

But Chief Officer Robert Peden says it meets the definition of an election advertisement under the Electoral Act and must have a promoter statement. The Electoral Commission also wants to know whether the advertising campaign will run to more than $12,000 because if it does, the promoter of the ad would have to register as a third party.

The Commission is correct of course they the billboard does need a promoter statement, even though the intent is not political. It is the impact that counts.

Ridge said yesterday the ad was just a parody. “It’s just a bit of fun. think anybody that’s got half a brain will see that ‘hey look, it’s tongue-in-cheek’.”

He said it wasn’t meant to be “Don’t vote for Labour” though he added that if it doubled as that he would be quite happy “because wouldn’t vote for Labour anyway”.


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