14 Oct 2011

BSA clears Prime Minister's radio show

1:00 pm on 14 October 2011

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has given the all clear to a Radio Live show presented by Prime Minister John Key saying it did not constitute an election programme.

Mr Key hosted a special one-hour show on Radio Live on 30 September.

The Labour Party complained to the authority following broadcast during which the Prime Minister steered clear of discussing politics.

The authority's chief executive, Susan Freeman-Greene, says to be considered an election programme, the show would have had to explicitly encourage listeners to vote for a particular party or person.

She says the show did not do that, and the mere presence of the Prime Minister does not make it an election programme.

The authority accepts, however, that Mr Key and the National Party would gain some political advantage from such appearances.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says the show hosted was inherently unfair.

Mr Goff says it was far easier for Mr Key to talk about his cat than face questions about New Zealand's credit rating.

He says the law is supposed to ensure that things are equal and fair during an election campaign, and the legislation may need to be looked at.

The Electoral Commission is still considering a complaint from Labour that the broadcast breached electoral law.