New Zealand Law Society - BSA rejects complaint about National’s 'Let’s tax this’ parody ad

BSA rejects complaint about National’s 'Let’s tax this’ parody ad

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The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has dismissed a complaint that a National Party campaign ad mocking Labour’s election slogan was “inaccurate and misleading”.

The commercial parodied Labour’s campaign motto, ‘Let’s do this’ with an advertisement with the tagline, ‘Let’s tax this’.

The advertisement, which was aired on TV1, suggested that a Labour government would impose a number of new taxes, namely a capital gains tax, land tax, regional fuel tax, income tax, water tax and a ‘fart tax’.

The BSA did not uphold a complaint that the election programme was inaccurate and misleading by implying a number of taxes would be introduced or raised by Labour. It said it would be clear to viewers that the election programme was a campaign advertisement for the National Party, which clearly advocated the party’s views. As such, the advertisement reflected National’s opinion and analysis of Labour’s policies, rather than factual information and viewers would not have been misled.

The BSA also emphasised the importance of political speech and concluded that, in the robust political environment leading up to the election, the high threshold for finding a breach of broadcasting standards was not met.

Meanwhile, the Authority has not upheld two complaints on the same broadcast for a minor party.

A campaign clip for the Ban 1080 Party was broadcast on 10 September 2017 on Māori Television. The clip featured a voiceover discussing the purported use and effects of sodium fluoroacetate (1080 poison) on New Zealand’s flora, fauna and waterways, accompanied by footage of animal carcasses and 1080 baits in water.

The BSA received two separate complaints about the ad, both alleging that it was misleading, with one also saying it breached standards on good taste and decency.

In both complaints, the Authority found that the clip did not contain statements of fact that were misleading, inaccurate, or indistinguishable from opinion.