1 May 2015

Appeal to clarify 'election advertisement'

1:24 pm on 1 May 2015

The Electoral Commission has filed papers at the Court of Appeal following two recent High Court rulings that overturned the commission's decisions on the song 'Planet Key' and Greenpeace's Climate Voter campaign.

A screenshot of Darren Watson's Planet Key video

A screenshot of Darren Watson's Planet Key video Photo: DARREN WATSON

The commission said it was seeking clarity on the definition of the terms "election advertisement" and "election programme".

The High Court overturned the commission's decision to ban public broadcasts of 'Planet Key'.

The commission had decided the parody song and its video were an election programme and advertisement under the terms of the Electoral Act and the Broadcasting Act.

But the court found in favour of the songwriter, Darren Watson, and Jeremy Jones, who made the video.

Justice Clifford said the commission's decision would have imposed limits on the right of freedom of expression of the plaintiffs and other New Zealanders.

In the other ruling, Justice Mander declined to make a blanket ruling on whether Greenpeace's campaign was an election advertisement, saying that each part of it had to be judged separately.

But he ruled a website criticising Energy Minister Simon Bridges was not an election advertisement as it made no reference to the election and did not try to advise people how to vote.

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