The Herald reports:
Racing legend Sir Patrick Hogan’s bid to get votes for NZ First is under scrutiny by electoral officials because of an advertisement in a racing newspaper.
In September Hogan and wife Lady Justine Hogan took out a full-page advertisement in The Informant urging the racing industry to support NZ First because of its racing policies.
The Electoral Commission said it had not received any complaints about the ad but was looking into it.
Under electoral rules, anyone who publishes an advertisement encouraging others to vote for a political party must get written authorisation from that party and the party must include the cost of it in its election expenses return.
NZ First’s return did not list anything in the section requiring “third party” advertising to be disclosed.
A spokesman for NZ First said its return was accurate. “The New Zealand First Secretary did not authorise any third party advertisements.”
Electoral law specialist Andrew Geddis said if Hogan took out the advertisement without getting approval it amounted to an “illegal practice” under the Electoral Act, which was a fine of up to $10,000 if there was a conviction.
It seems pretty clear cut. Hogan clearly authorised the advertisement and NZ First has said they did not authorise the advertisement. So Sir Patrick would appear to be in breach of the Electoral Act.
I’m surprised that no one ever told him you can’t just run full page advertisements saying Vote for X, unless X has agreed to it.