A public law expert says the Electoral Commission – which has recently cautioned against a song, a fashion exhibition and a rugby billboard – is very risk averse and conservative in its interpretation of electoral law. The commission last week banned the satirical song Planet Key from television and radio broadcasts, and cautioned against a billboard for a rugby game which parodied National’s election hoardings. Now it has taken aim at an exhibition showcasing the late Labour MP Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan’s wardrobe because the opening is due to fall on election day. The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust has moved the opening to the following weekend after the Electoral Commission advised any reference to the Labour Party would have to be removed on September 20.
Otago University politics lecturer Bryce Edwards said the commission was making the correct interpretation of the law. “And if we have any complaints about these issues, we should be focussing on shortcomings in the law, or having a debate about the intention of the law and what we want.”
However, Otago University public law expert Professor Andrew Geddis said the commission was “very risk averse” and tended to be cautious and conservative in its advice.