A Christchurch man who spent tens of thousands of dollars on a newspaper ad calling for Christopher Luxon to lead the National Party may find himself on the wrong side of electoral law.
The half-page ad appeared in the New Zealand Herald on Saturday, suggesting the outgoing Air New Zealand CEO should run for the National Party leadership for next year’s election.
It plays on Dick Frizzell’s well-known 1997 artwork Mickey to Tiki but shows John Key’s face transforming into Luxon’s.
So who was behind this?
Neither Luxon nor the National Party know anything about it, but the ad has an authorisation statement from S Brooks of Christchurch.
Newshub tried to make contact with a ‘Steve Brooks’, an entrepreneur and businessman who was a self-made millionaire by 19 – but Brooks was nowhere to be found.
His Facebook page was emblazoned with support for Luxon to run for the National Party this morning. But by the afternoon, it was all taken down.
Brooks doesn’t appear to be politically aligned.
Political commentator Bryce Edwards believes the ad is illegal and a breach of the electoral act.
“Because you do actually have to get sign off from the National Party if you’re going to promote a National Party advertisement and that’s what this is, this is clearly promoting the National Party in terms of the 2020 election, it has the hashtag on it,” he told Newshub.
The Electoral Commission confirmed today its legal team will be investigating – particularly the authorisation issue.
I don’t think there is any doubt the advertisement breaches the Electoral Act.