New Zealand celebrates free speech. Yeah Right!
If proof were needed that some laws are dangerous, then this article in the NZ Herald clearly demonstrates both the dangers and the absurdity of the Electoral Finance Act:-
A Tui billboard saying “When Winston says no, he means no – Yeah, right” has brought a warning that it may breach the Electoral Finance Act.
The billboard is in the Tauranga electorate Winston Peters is desperate to win, and the Electoral Commission told the Herald it would write to brewers Tui saying it could be “election advertising” against him.
Manifestly to any intelligent person, applying Annette King’s famous Law of Common Sense, this is nothing more than a satirical advert in line with many similar Tui have run before. Except that as we have seen previously the Law of Common Sense does not exist.
Though let us remember that it is Margaret Wilson as Speaker who has regulated the way in which parliament can be shown on TV including seeking to ban the satirical use of TV footage of MPs. Our politicians are such a delicate lot. They are so polite and refined.
The article shows the offending billboard and has some satirical takes, in a similar vein, by Rod Emmerson the Herald cartoonist as well.
Commission spokesman Peter Northcote said it was aware of the billboards and would warn Tui regardless of whether it received a complaint.
“We are certainly planning to write to the brewery to make sure that they are aware of the Electoral Finance Act and the implications for election advertising and also third-party listing if they were to be carrying out election advertising.
“We will just be making sure that they are aware of the law, which is what we said we would do if we saw anyone who without [knowing they] may be crossing the line might be at risk of inadvertently doing so.”
David Farrar at Kiwiblog warned that this nonsensical position would arise and comments on the issue.
This appalling law not only restricts party campaigning it is now clear that it restricts free speech, comment and satire.
What a bunch of stupid pillocks those who voted for this draconian law are. The Labour Party and it’s fellow travellers should be ashamed, deeply ashamed.By suggesting this ad is election advertising and restricting free speech they merely get up the nose of sensible people and confirm indelibly in many people’s mind that the left are a bunch of humourless, control freaks seeking to ensure we only see, read, hear and think that which they want us to.
This is the sort of law that many on the left would rail against if passed in say Zimbabwe or Fiji, yet is viewed as essential in the democratic country of New Zealand in order to protect us from being contaminated by the evil forces of big business.
No doubt to some Tui is seeking to spearhead some dastardly plot by DB’s major foreign shareholders to take over the country and run it for the benefit of their Dutch and Singaporean shareholders. Yeah Right.
On the other hand as Colin Espiner noted recently our standards of political conduct have already slipped to a very low level.
Prime Minister Helen Clark. She has invented a new, low standard for ensuring Peters remains in his ministerial BMW – that of illegality.
So this latest manifestation of intolerance of free thought should not surprise us.
Adam has picked up on a comment at Keeping Stock and offers his own contribution in the spirit of stirring the pint:-