No more party election broadcasts

Parliament voted 108-12 yesterday to end the political party broadcasts that clogged up prime time TV and radio for little useful purpose. NZ First opposed.

I have tried to watch a few and they were hard going and I think largely ineffectual.

Newstalk ZB: Prime-time party election broadcasts axed

MPs voted last night to get rid of the wildly unpopular compulsory party television broadcasts at election time.

Parliament heard the final reading on the Broadcasting and Electoral Amendment Bills yesterday evening, voting 108-12 to axe the messages which air around four weeks out from the election on state-owned networks TVNZ and Radio New Zealand.

The 12 against were the NZ First MPs.

Justice Minister Amy Adams pointed out that the opening statements which aired on TVNZ before the 2014 General Election saw the channel’s viewing figures drop by 25 percent.

They were not popular with viewers as well as parties.

The Labour Party’s Chris Hipkins told the House the broadcasts were outdated, too long, and expensive to produce.

“The idea that we should lock that into law, and lock political parties into spending some of their broadcast allocation to do that simply doesn’t make sense,” he said.

The law change means political parties will be allowed to spend their campaign budgets on other platforms, including online.

It’s significant that parties chose more choice and flexibility over prime time broadcast opportunities.

Denis O’Rourke from NZ First disagreed:

I really want to spend most of my time on the Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Bill, because claims that the broadcasting of the opening and closing addresses have become unpopular are grossly exaggerated.

The truth is that TV ONE and Radio New Zealand have been lobbying for years so that they do not have to perform their public duty of broadcasting these opening and closing addresses free of charge. No doubt they could get a bigger audience if they were free to broadcast something else instead. That is not the issue.

The issue is that they are public broadcasters and they have a public duty to do this. Many people, in fact, still so watch those, especially people who are not much interested in the digital media. So that should still happen.

…the other reason why New Zealand First opposes this particular bill and that is that the Minister and the Government have chosen not to review and change the criteria for the allocation of those funds, and they should have done so.

The Minister wrote to all of the parties asking whether they supported her proposals. New Zealand First said it would not do so unless those criteria were, in fact, reviewed and, hopefully, changed. There was no effort put into doing that at all, therefore, there is no consensus, as Mark Mitchell claimed, no consensus at all, because New Zealand First is very definitely opposed to the proposal, unless those criteria have been changed, because they are quite simply unfair to smaller parties.

There is no problem, I guess, for the National and the Labour parties, but they are unfair to the smaller parties, and I want to explain why that is.

All other smaller parties voted for ditching the broadcasts.

There is no consensus. This bill should not be proceeding, for those reasons, and New Zealand First will therefore definitely vote against it.

No consensus, but a large majority – all parties other than NZ First, voted to scrap the compulsory broadcasts that turned viewers off.



  1. Does this open the way for more U.S. Presidential election style ‘private’ TV & digital media advertising, whereby the Party with the biggest budget can dominate the ‘means of persuasion’ …?

    A measure of popularity … 1 million people donating $10 each …

    A measure of corporatocratic inverted totalitarianism … 100 people donating $100,000 each

    I guess its a good thing that Television per se has lost a lot of its power over us … ?

    • Pete Kane

       /  March 16, 2017

      Incrementally removing Politics (Democracy} in favor of ‘commerce’ PZ.

      • Sadly Pete, yours is probably putting a very hopeful and positive lean on it …

        Its probably more a situation of brushing away the remnant dead flesh of Democracy from the well established (Zombie-like) skeletal creation of Political Commerce …

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 16, 2017

          I always watched them-no option in this politically minded house-but don’t remember many.

          I’d like to know how many people really watched them. Nothing would make me vote NZ First, and I wonder if anyone changes their vote because of these.

          I also wonder how many people realised that the Cossacks, on the famous Muldoon ad ? broadcast ? were far from being Communist, fought on the side of the White Russians AGAINST the Bolsheviks and Red Army and would be .furious at being linked with these.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 16, 2017

            There’s a limit on spending now, and I can’t see that changing. We are too small to sustain a US style election-thank Heaven. Their campaigns seem to begin the day after the election-well, that’s what it seems like. I’d lose interest long before election day.

          • Blazer

             /  March 16, 2017

            people in general are simple….their hearts and minds are won by simple messages repeated and packaged with the skill of psychology and clever PR people.Lynton Crosby,who ran campaigns for the Tories in the U.K and Key(despite him lying as usual and saying he would not retain him).

  2. NOVEL

     /  March 16, 2017

    Now can they please vote to deny the Electoral Roll available to political parties.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 16, 2017

      That would mean that nobody else would be able to see them-and those who were left off wouldn’t know. A friend and I were once waiting at the council office and were so bored that we began looking at the Electoral Roll. My flatmate had been accidentally left off, and had we not looked her up, she would not have known.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 16, 2017

        Surely you can see that it would be impracticable, there would be no way of enforcing who looks at these public documents.

  3. Zedd

     /  March 16, 2017

    I think Gareth Hughes made the best comment.. (paraphrased) “Its about getting this issue, into the 21st century !” (social media, priority)

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 16, 2017

      The Phantom Ticker has spared you….aha ! (looks hard at Zedd)

      • Zedd

         /  March 16, 2017

        meaning what.. kitty ?

        • Blazer

           /  March 16, 2017

          keep up the good work Zedd,you are consistent,perceptive and not goaded into personal invective…all good.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 17, 2017

          Oh, nothing, nothing 😉

          • Gezza

             /  March 17, 2017

            I have an hypothesis that the PDT is actually someone who is also taking the piss.

  1. No more party election broadcasts – NZ Conservative Coalition