So, Labour has complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Electoral Commission about John Key's $43 million radio show. I think they're on solid ground. The Broadcasting Act defines an "election programme" as a programme that
(a) encourages or persuades or appears to encourage or persuade voters to vote for a political party or the election of any person at an election; orWhile Key studiously avoided talking about politics , I don't think that matters. The show was all about building his personal brand of amiable political vacancy, which in the context of an election is certainly encouraging people to vote for him and his party. That makes it an election programme.
(b) encourages or persuades or appears to encourage or persuade voters not to vote for a political party or the election of any person at an election; or
(c) advocates support for a candidate or for a political party; or
(d) opposes a candidate or a political party; or
(e) notifies meetings held or to be held in connection with an election
So why am I slagging off Labour? Its not that I disagree with the complaint; its their reasoning behind it. Here's Goff:
"We contacted Radio Live and we said that you can't have, in this part of the electoral cycle, one party leader being given a programme where he has full editorial control without extending that to other political leaders.So, a show is an election programme if only the Prime Minister gets one, but isn't if Labour gets one too. Yeah, right. Either it is, or it isn't. And if it is, then other shows in this context featuring other politicians are too. Instead of applying the law consistently, Labour are using it for revenge, as part of an effort to extort free coverage. And that is not something I respect.
"Our request for that was declined. It was not just for ourselves it was political parties across the board.
"They said no. They said this was not political. Frankly, yeah right would have been the answer to that. This is either naive or worse than naive."