Election ads should be replayed: Horan

VERNON SMALL
Last updated 15:11 25/08/2014

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Independent Coalition leader Brendan Horan is pushing ahead with a call for political campaign opening announcements to be replayed because they clashed with the All Blacks-Wallabies test match on Saturday.

But he is getting only lukewarm support from other politicians, seemingly because they do not want to appear churlish.

Horan said he had written to the Electoral Commission, asking that it urgently take steps to ensure an "instant replay" of the opening addresses because New Zealand needed every citizen to be actively engaged in the democratic process.

He had also written to all registered parties, asking them to endorse his call.

However, it seems the commission cannot and will not intervene - and the political parties had at least two months' notice of the time of the broadcasts.

A spokeswoman said the timing of the opening and closing addresses was a matter for the broadcasters, Radio New Zealand and Television New Zealand.

"The Electoral Commission has no power under the legislation to intervene in these decisions."

The broadcasters told the commission on March 17 that the opening addresses would be broadcast on either last Friday or Saturday.

"These dates were included in the commission's decision on the allocation of time and money to eligible political parties for the broadcasting of election programmes, which was made public on June 6 and forwarded to all eligible parties, the spokeswoman said.

"TVNZ advised party leaders in a letter dated June 23 that the opening addresses would be broadcast on TV One between 7.30 and 8.30pm on August 23," she said.

Commenting on the time that TVNZ ran the addresses, Labour leader David Cunliffe said the decision was not one Labour made or sought to make.

And it was up to other people to comment on whether the public were short-changed.

He said he did not "want to sound like sour grapes".

A lot of the public's money went into the addresses and the public had a right to see them.

Labour's addresses were available on the party's website.

"I'm not going to carp. I think it is appropriate for them to be shown at a time when most New Zealanders can access them freely and openly." 

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