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 Electoral 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. I 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 I wouldn’t vote for Labour anyway”.