Was Nanaia’s ad campaign illegal?

Business Desk reported:

The Three Waters television ad campaign that used taxpayers’ money to influence the opinions of ratepayers was cut short after intervention by the Public Service Commission, BusinessDesk has learned.

When the first of the adverts was aired around the middle of the year, the commission “raised concerns” with the sponsoring Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) on “how the government advertising guidelines had been considered”, the commission said in a statement.  The guidelines require publicly funded campaigns to be accurate, factual and unbiased, but the cartoon-style adverts are notable for their lack of factual information.  They portray a dystopian future in which taps run dry or are full of sludge. As if by magic, a smiling cartoon plumber – presumably the alter ego of a post-reform three waters agency – fixes problematic pipes with a single tap of his spanner.

The ads were so one sided and terrible, they probably backfired on the Government with their attempts to portray a complex issue as good vs bad. I’m not surprised that they were seen as advocacy, not information, as that is obviously what they were.

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