Third Party Electioneering on New Zealand's Broadcast Media
In 2014, Darren Watson and Jeremy Jones released a satirical song and video that mocked and criticised New Zealand’s then Prime Minister, John Key. New Zealand’s Electoral Commission promptly warned the country’s television and radio stations that playing this song over the airwaves opened them up to prosecution and potential fines of NZ$100,000. Over two years later, the Court of Appeal not only ruled that the song and video could be played freely, but that the law regulating the use of broadcast media for partisan electoral purposes had been misunderstood for the past 27 years. This comment explains the background to the Court’s decision, describes an experiment conducted to determine the meaning of that ruling and then outlines why Parliament will have to revisit the issue after the 2017 general election.
Publisher: Thomson Reuters
Keywords: Public law; Electoral law; Broadcast media; New Zealand
Research Type: Journal Article