The Standard is trying to cover electoral advertising rules by having it’s own authorisation notice. This may not cover all authors and posts.
The Electoral Commission on the ‘regulated period’ for the upcoming election.
The regulated period for the 2014 General Election will start on 20 June 2014 and ends with the close of the day before election day (19 September 2014).
What is the significance of the regulated period? This can be a source of confusion. The answer is that it is significant for election expenses and Parliamentary Service funding.
In terms of election expenses the regulated period is the period during which the expenditure limits for parties and candidates operate. Currently these limits are: $25,700 for candidates and $1.091 million plus $25,700 per electorate contested for parties.
However, it is not the only time that the other rules regarding election advertising apply. The requirement for a promoter statement and the requirement for written authorisation to promote a party or candidate apply at all times.
A post in typical lprent fashion at The Standard:
This site frequently has opinions from authors and comments promoting promoting political positions and telling people who they should vote for or not vote for, and why.
Because of whining in previous election periods by some of the more obnoxious fools around the blogosphere, you’ll notice that we now have a notice at the bottom of the site.
Here’s an example of some whining by an obnoxious fool (love the irony) coming up to a previous election period, in July 2008 - Why is Labour so hypocritical on transparency?
Then in 2007 The Standard burst into life. They would have you believe it is a totally independent collection of activists who just happen to not like National. The reality is somewhat different.
The Standard says they are all independent bloggers. However the following e-mail has been forwarded onto me:
From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Date: 11 June 2008 12:24:42 PM
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: The Standard Blog
I have a serious issue to raise with you all. It has come to my attention that two Ministerial staffers – Chris Elder and Andrew Kirton, both political employees – are blogging anonymously at the Labour-hosted, anti-John Key blog the Standard, http://www.thestandard.org.nz.
Given that a large number of these posts (most notably those by Chris Elder or all_your_base, a communications staffer on the ninth floor) occur during office hours, do you all believe it is appropriate that political employees are spending their time blogging anonymously? Is this approved behaviour?
After I was forwarded a copy of the e-mail by a parliamentary staffer, I asked the e-mailer the basis of the information, the e-mailer replied “A young Labour person I know who is also a blogger”
It has in fact long been speculated that Elder blogged as All-your-base as this was allegedly a favourite saying of his (referring to the tag line of a famous hacking group). He has denied being involved with The Standard, and it is of course impossible to prove or disprove without computer logs.
But it is likely that two of the bloggers are Beehive communications employees, and a third is the Labour Party Head Office Communications Manager. A fourth and maybe a fifth are employed by the EPMU – Labour’s largest affiliated union.
The Standard still promotes itself as a collective of independent activists, although admitted at one stage
We set The Standard up as an independent left-wing blog in August last year. As you probably remember by about November our traffic had got so large our server was crashing every day, sometimes for hours at a time. We put out a call and at the end of last year someone from Labour emailed us and offered us some temporary server space until we worked something out.
They have worked that out long ago and have also worked out a number of operation matters. Pseudonymous authors have come and gone. Like ‘Zetetic’, who coincidentally posted not long after lprent.
John Key on Iraq in the Herald today:
We are not a country out there looking for a fight.
John Key on Iraq 2003:
That links to a video on Youtube that was first uploaded leading into the 2008 election by ‘greenwoman’, who loaded seven videos around that time all critical of John Key. Zetetic must have a good memory.
Back to the lprent post that warns of the consequences of “comments left on our site”:
Thereafter I will consider that that comments left on our site about our conformance to the Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989 about any content on site will in themselves constitute unwanted advertisements on our site, and I will take the appropriate action. This is logical extension of our existing policy about handling people who try to tell us how to run our site.
Perpetrators will have their comments deleted and will be banned until after the election.
It’s interesting doing a search at The Standard on ‘banned until after the election’. The most serious offences tend to be challenging what authors post, speculating on the identity of authors and (allegedly) diverting from the message that authors want to promote.
From The Standard ‘About’:
We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.
That links to:
The authors write for themselves with the following exceptions.
- If we are putting up material from a guest poster, then it will go up under “Guest Post” and may or may not have a name or pseudonym attached.
- If the site is reposting material from another site with no opinion or minimal opinion from an author, then it will go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features).
- There are some routine posts like the daily OpenMike that will also go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features) because they also offer no opinion.
The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar.
One could imagine their barn door:
The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar on debate we don’t like.
There’s been a number of other coincidental posts from the independent authors recently. Try this search:
lprent has frequently been accusing David Farrar of being a paid operative of the 9th floor of the Beehive.
It’s interesting that lprent has decided to put a blanket ‘authorisation notice’ on The Standard. But that’s under his own name.
The key messages are:
- Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that election advertisements or election-related advertisements published at any time, in any medium, contain a promoter statement.
- Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that any election advertisement that promotes any candidate and/or party has been authorised in writing by the candidate and/or party secretary(s) before it is published/broadcast.
(Part 1 Election Advertising)
But lprent is registering as a ’3rd party promoter’:
1.3 Registered promoters
Any individual or group who is a third party promoter who spends, or intends to spend, over $12,300 (including GST) on election advertising during the regulated period (20 June to 19 September 2014) must register with the Electoral Commission.
The following cannot be a registered promoter:
- a constituency candidate,
- a list candidate,
- a party,an overseas person,
- a person involved in the administration of:
– the affairs of a candidate in relation to the candidate’s election campaign, or
– the affairs of the party.
So he must not be involved in the affairs of any candidate or party (he has previously been involved with Labour and with Helen Clark).
What I don’t know is how lprent’s site authorisation statement affects anything that could potentially be posted or commented at The Standard by candidates, parties or persons involved in the administration of candidate or party election campaigns.
But it seems logical to me that parties, candidates and any person involved in the administration of campaigns would still need their own authorisation statements.
If they were being honest and transparent. lprent concludes his post:
In my opinion this policy should neatly eliminate some of the nuisances that we have had in previous elections.
It would be a nuisance if an author or commenter who disguises their connections and their intent by using a pseudonym would have to use an authorisation statement.
The use of pseudonyms at The Standard is strongly defended. It is explained that it doesn’t mean they are anonymous, the identities are known to the blog administrator.
So lprent should know which authors and posts may not be covered by his own authorisation statement, if any. He said:
So if you think that there are issues to do with how we have done this, you now have between now and prior to the start of 20th of June 2014 to comment in this post and only this post.
I can’t comment on his post, I’m currently banned from commenting at The Standard, but lprent will see this post. He could clarify by stating that any post at The Standard by anyone or on behalf of anyone associated with a candidate or party campaign will have it’s own authorisation notice.