August 19, 2009
The Yes Vote coalition rejects today’s New Zealand Herald story claiming that the coalition has “flouted” referendum spending limit rules.
“If anything, staying within the advertising rules has taken a disproportionate amount of time and effort to interpret and comply with,” said Yes Vote spokesperson Deborah Morris-Travers. “We’ve had extensive and regular consultations with the Chief Electoral Office on how to interpret the advertising rules, and the clear advice has been that the Yes Vote campaign, branded as such, is a distinct campaign in itself.
“Our advice has been that the spending cap applies to distinct campaigns, as opposed to the possibility that one or more groups might mount their own campaigns.
“Far from flouting the regulations, we have tried to be scrupulous about following them, which makes today’s story doubly disappointing,” Ms Morris-Travers said.
August 5, 2009
If you are planning on advertising in the referendum, please take note of the Chief Electoral Office’s Postal Referendum Advertising Rules, which are reproduced here for clarity.
A postal referendum on the question “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand” will run from Friday 31 July to Friday 21 August 2009.
Any individual or group can undertake advertising to promote either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote on the referendum question.
Advertisers are subject to an expenditure limit of $50,000 (including GST).
Advertisements must contain a statement setting out the name and residential or business address of the person at whose direction it is being published. A Post Office box or website address is insufficient.
The expenditure limit applies to advertising that is used or appears to be being used to promote one of the answers to the referendum question, and is published or broadcast during the period from the 26 August 2008 until 21 August 2009.*
It is a serious offence for any person to, either alone or in combination with others, knowingly spend more than the $50,000 expenditure limit. The offence is subject to a fine of up to $20,000. Persons or organisations that formally or informally enter into an agreement or understanding about their referendum advertising should assume that they are subject to a single advertising expenditure limit.
Any person at whose direction an advertisement is published or broadcast must file a return of expenses with the Chief Electoral Office by 25 September 2009 (being one month after the date that the result of the referendum is declared under section 49 of the Referenda (Postal Voting) Act 2000).
The return must list where every advertisement was published or broadcast and the cost of every advertisement. A copy of a form for making a return of expenses for the postal referendum is available from the download panel on this page.
Advertisers who fail to meet these requirements are committing offences and may be referred to the Police.
The returns are open to public inspection.
It is an offence to print, distribute or deliver anything during the period from 28 July to 21 August that purports to be an imitation voting paper and that either has any direction or indication as to the way that the voter should vote or has anything on it that is likely to influence any vote.
The Chief Electoral Office is responsible for administering the advertising and expenditure provisions. If you have any questions about the rules please contact the Chief Electoral Office at: PO Box 3220, Wellington, Tel: (04) 495 0030, Fax: (04) 495 0031, Email: email@example.com
*The 26th of August is the date on which the Speaker of the House of Representatives presented the petition to the House after being certified as correct by the Clerk of the House under section 18(1)(a) of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act. 21 August 2009 is the close of the voting period for the referendum.