Monday, December 15, 2008

The fuss about Labour's red balloon

On 2 April the Electoral Commission considered whether a red balloon with the Labour Party logo was an electoral advertisement under the Electoral Finance Act. The Electoral Commission didn’t know whether it was an advertisement under the Act or not so it sought an opinion from Crown Law.

Recently, as is normal, the Commission made a decision about this balloon but they hadn't formally published it. The Commission had all its information when it received the Crown Law decision on 27 November – the very day after it made the decision on Rodney Hide’s yellow jacket.

Although the Hide decision was quickly released, the Electoral Commission released the balloon decision on 11 December.

The Labour balloon also had a website, but no slogan. Hide’s jacket had a logo, a slogan, but no website address and was deemed to breach the Electoral Finance Act in the absence of a promoter statement.

However the balloon was deemed not to breach the Electoral Finance Act because there was no disproportionate use of the logo. After the Hide decision it is the only decision that could have been made. Had that balloon been deemed an advertisement under the electoral finance act all signs to every electoral office in the country would similarly have breached the Act.

There is also a complaint regarding a Green MP's swimsuit. There is no slogan accompanying the logo so guess what that decision will be?

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