Friday, September 24, 2004

Breaching the Electoral Act

The anonymous anti-Hubbard hatchet job flyers currently being distributed in Auckland in breach of the Local Electoral Act 2001 have reminded me that some of my posts (and some of my plans for the next general election) may fall foul of our electoral regulations.

S. 113 of the Local Electoral Act restricts the publication of "any advertisement that is used or appears to be used to promote or procure the election of a candidate" to either that authorised by the candidate or that from ratepayers or residents groups. In either case, you have to stick your full name and address somewhere on it (note that ordinary citizens need not apply; local government is a one-way democracy). S. 221 of the Electoral Act has similar language for general elections. While both Acts have a provision allowing "news or comments" (the more recent one even mentions the internet), endorsements of specific candidates or parties could be considered illegal (it may not be; I should stress that I do not know the case law on this).

Not that this is going to affect my behaviour in any way whatsoever, but it's nice to know what laws I may be skirting.