- SPONSORED -
On the Spinoff, on February 27, leading electoral law expert Andrew Geddis reported that a changed interpretation of the Broadcasting Act 1989 “allows everyone and anyone who isn’t a party or candidate” to now run attack adverts which disparage politicians on broadcast media (television and radio). Do you think the new interpretation of the Broadcasting Act could impact this year’s election?
Young Nats — Lower North Island
The base of this issue is one of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a principle the Young Nats staunchly stand by and it plays into our party’s founding purpose of supporting individual responsibility and freedoms. However, this must be balanced with protections to limit any slanderous or untrue statements being advertised.
Overall, we don’t believe this new interpretation will lead to a major impact on this year’s election. The focus of the election is on the various political groups vying for Parliament, and New Zealand has a proud tradition of remaining policy-centred and avoiding attack politics to the extreme.
Being free to express a political opinion is key to an open and frank election process and will hopefully lead to a more consensus based government for New Zealand.
— Sam Stead
Labour is extremely concerned at this new interpretation of the Broadcasting Act. While the court case that led to it was about protecting the right of artists to free speech (a worthy cause), it has potentially opened the door to something wider and more malicious.
It could let a small minority of wealthy individuals and big businesses control the debate on our screens and even influence the result. We’ve seen the terrible results of these kinds of laws overseas, particularly in the US, where having a shit-ton of money is essential to being a voice in the political debate. The effect of this would be to stifle progressive voices in particular; this is why you’ll see conservatives enthusiastically supporting this interpretation of the Act. This is not the New Zealand way — we pride ourselves on our equality. Labour hopes that this unintended consequence does not occur.