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Political party logos are election ads=EFA Legislation unworkable

23/06/2008

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Claire Robinson, Head of Massey University’s Institute of Communications Design, has an opinion piece in the NZ Herald on whether political party logos are election advertisements under that really excellent piece of legislation that is improving the election process so much, the EFA.

Apparently the Electoral Commission is having some difficulty in deciding whether logos are or are not subject to the EFA. There would appear to be a split.

Well Dr Robinson writes:-

According to Electoral Commission chief executive Helena Catt, this is a “pressing issue but it is not an easy issue, so we have to work through differing views”.

This is in fact a very simple issue. Without question, logos are election advertisements in terms of the definition contained in the Electoral Finance Act.

What is inconvenient is the ramification. Once it is acknowledged that party logos are election advertisements, the Electoral Finance Act will be rendered absolutely, unequivocally dead in the water.

She then proceeds to expound on why she thinks the logos are ads.

Now to Adam what Dr Robinson says makes sense. Yet, he is equally certain that the framers of the law probably gave no thought to the consequence of their drafting.

Therefore, on the presumption that Dr Robinson is right everyone is in breach, the law is unworkable and it should be repealed forthwith.

The simple equation, based on Dr Robinson’s proposition, is thus:

Logos are election ads = EFA Legislation unworkable

Of course we all know that that will not happen.

No, what will happen is that the Electoral Commission will find a way to distinguish the use of logos, a way unimaginable to those of us who live in a real world, but a way nonetheless which will allow a tawdry compromise to be struck.

Would that the Electoral Commission could find the will to declare the law unworkable and ask the Courts to find a way to strike it down. Oh, if only that were possible.

On the present situation though it is conceivably possible that all parties could be tied up in litigation for months and the result of the November Election may be hamstrung by litigation if someone or several were determined enough.

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