A musician who wrote a satirical song about Prime Minister John Key has been threatened with prosecution if he sells the track on iTunes. But soul and blues man Darren Watson is fighting back and threatening legal action of his own. The Electoral Commission has written to Watson instructing him to stop selling or promoting Planet Key. The music video satirises the Prime Minister and members of the National Government. It features Mr Key playing a stinging blues guitar solo on an endangered Maui’s dolphin while an oil rig explodes in the background. It also depicts Finance Minister Bill English carrying Mr Key’s golf clubs and the Prime Minister playing golf with US President Barack Obama.
Watson said the animated video by Jeremy Jones had already had more than 80,000 hits on video websites, including Vimeo and YouTube. “This is simply a satirical song. I wrote it at home and it’s the musical expression of my own personal views.”
Mr Jones said neither man had received payment for producing the work, but had sold the song through iTunes to recoup some of their costs.
However, the Electoral Commission has not seen the funny side and Watson has received a letter warning that it considers the song and associated video are “election advertisements” under the Electoral Act and “election programmes” under the Broadcasting Act.