Macindoe should 'come clean'

20:18, Aug 06 2014

Labour MP Sue Moroney has called for disclosure of her electorate opponent's alleged breach with a radio advertisement that was referred to the police by the Electoral Commission.

Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe ran a radio advertisement on local station Free FM which the Electoral Commission viewed as a breach of section 80 of the Broadcasting Act.

Moroney has advertised on the same station and wanted full disclosure of the alleged breach but the Electoral Commission has refused to comment further as the matter is with the police.

"It just leaves everyone guessing and it is a little unhelpful," said Moroney.

The Broadcasting Act prohibits an election programme from being broadcast at any time on radio or television, except during the period from August 20 to September 19.

Further restrictions regarding election advertising apply in what the Broadcasting Act calls the regulated period, which began on June 20.

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A breach attracts a fine of up to $100,000. The radio advertisement also failed to carry a promoter endorsement.

Macindoe made a statement to the Waikato Times but would not elaborate while the matter was with police.

Moroney said he needed to come clean. "He is choosing not to talk about it basically, as is the Electoral Commission." Moroney said management at Free FM stuck rigorously to the rules when it came to electoral advertisements and if it was a technicality, it should be known.

"I understood that this complaint was about a broadcast that happened prior to the regulated period by the looks of it. We stopped our advertising prior to the regulated period."

Free FM general manager Phil Grey said they had worked with the Electoral Commission to ensure compliance and they took immediate steps to comply when they received notice of a likely breach. "It's ironic this breach relates to a broadcast that was well prior to the regulated period that started in June," he said.

"The advertisement in question absolutely was withdrawn prior to the regulated period starting, which was the 20th of June, because we knew it wouldn't comply with regulated period restrictions," he said.

Macindoe, a trustee of Free FM, repeated his statement from the day before and would not comment further.

"The advertisement is no longer on air and I have taken all steps to provide the Electoral Commission with information about my advertising to ensure compliance," he said. "I am embarrassed to be in this position and I apologise for it."

Macindoe won the Hamilton West electorate in the 2008 election by a majority of 1618 votes, and retained it in 2011 with a 4049-vote majority.

elton.smallman@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

Waikato Times