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Free advice for the Greens:

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Ditch the idea of taking a broadcasting standards complaint about TV3’s decision to pull the leaders’ debate after the Clark/Key walkout. For one thing, you can’t complain about a programme before it’s been broadcast. For another, you have to complain to the broadcaster first, and, as this isn’t a complaint about an “election programme” (see […]

BSA election ad complaint system

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

I wonder whether the BSA’s fast-track election-ad complaint system will get a decent work-out this year. The system allows you to complain straight to the BSA about “election programmes”. This really means broadcast election advertisements, including opening and closing addresses, rather than, for example, election debates. (Bonus question: was the televised press conference at which the […]

It’s defiance, Susan, but not as we know it

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Huh? Here’s Susan Pepperell’s lead in today’s Star-Times story about the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s plan to “defy” the Electoral Finance Act: Lobby group the Sensible Sentencing Trust is planning to defy the Electoral Finance Act in the lead-up to the general election. Its evidence that this will be an act of defiance? Read on: McVicar said […]

It’s censorship, John, but not as we know it

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Poor John Boscowan. He’s been censored. I know this, because he’s got “censored” written across his full-page Sunday Star-Times ad opposing the Electoral Finance Act. Yes, apart from being one of the few people in the country able to afford to express his views in 850 words in a full-page ad in one of the […]

Dollar votes?

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Russell Brown is pointing out that TV3’s election website is flogging profile pages to candidates at $299 a pop. There’s no indication on the profile pages themselves that the MPs have to pay for them (though there is a “purchase page” tab on the main page that might clue readers in). They’re also charging $399 for […]

Electoral Finance Act lawsuit tanks

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Was the Crown Law Office vet that found that the Electoral Finance Bill wasn’t inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act wrong? Should the Attorney-General have reported to Parliament that the bill was inconsistent with our rights to freedom of expression? Is the Electoral Finance Act itself inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act? John […]

Free speech log

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Some upcoming free speech cases: Electoral Finance Act judicial review: strike-out application to be heard on 15 May. Applicants John Boscawen, Garth McVicar, Rodney Hide, and Graham Stairmand now want the court to rule that the Attorney-General should have advised Parliament that the Electoral Finance Bill was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights Act, and […]

Okay, have at me

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

This blog is mostly about free speech. It should be becoming clear that my philosophy is that freedom of expression is extremely important and that any limits on it should be carefully defined and properly justified. That philosophy tracks closely with the framework of the Bill of Rights Act, which is relevant to almost all […]

UK political broadcast ad ban upheld

Monday, March 31st, 2008

In NZ, we ban the broadcast of election ads, except for those paid for out of the broadcasting allocation. That means a pot of about $3 million of public money gets divvied up between the parties (along with a bit of free air time that some publicly minded stations throw in) – and that’s the […]

A prediction about the Electoral Finance Act

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I don’t want to say too much about the Electoral Finance Act. Some of you will know that I have been the spokesperson for the Coalition for Open Government, which generally supported the new law, arguing that it’s much better than the system we used to have, serves important democratic ends, and is much less […]

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