True to form, this post is VERY Black and White.

I now have proof that Jim Anderton, Christchurch Mayoral Candidate, is breaking the election rules, and all over the place.  And while some may think the rules around advertising and signage and advertising are trivial, Jim has been playing the political game for over 40 years now – he knows the rules and is knowingly breaking them.  (As an aside, he was one of those that supported the draconian measures introduced by the Labour Government – the Electoral Finance Act 2007).   I even found (quite easily) that Jim’s party has broken the rules on this before.

Anyway, here’s the details:

He’s breaking the law in two main areas:

1) No disclosure of who authorised signs and advertising

Section 113 of the Local Electoral Act 2001 states:

113    Advertisements for candidates
(1)    No person may publish or cause to be published in any newspaper, periodical, notice, poster, pamphlet, handbill, billboard, or card, or broadcast or permit to be broadcast over any radio or television station, any advertisement that is used or appears to be used to promote or procure the election of a candidate at an election, unless subsection (2) or subsection (4) applies2.
(2)    A person may publish or cause or permit to be published an advertisement of the kind described in subsection (1) if—
(a)    the publication of that advertisement is authorised in writing by the candidate or the candidate’s agent or, in the case of an advertisement relating to more than 1 candidate, the candidates or an agent acting for all of those candidates; and
(b)    the advertisement contains a statement setting out the true name of the person or persons for whom or at whose direction it is published and the address of his or her place of residence or business.

a) BANNER

Here’s a massive banner I saw on Main Rd, Redcliffs Christchurch yesterday. (Click on the image for a larger view)

I can not see ANYWHERE on it, any disclosure of who authorised it.

The Christchurch City Council puts outs a very useful handbook on the rules. And its supplied to every candidate (I know, I was one a few years back for the DHB), and I also found it today very easily by typing in Election signs into the CCC web site search.  Anyway, it’s useful coz it explains the REASON behind the rules.

In this case it says on page 24:

Subsection (2) allows such advertisements if the publication is authorised in writing by the candidate or the candidate’s agent and the advertisement contains a statement setting out the true name of the person for whom or at whose direction the advertisement was published and the address of his or her place of residence or business. The intention of this provision is to allow the public to be aware from whom candidate advertising originates and make their own judgement about the credibility of the information and views expressed.

So there you have it, a black and white rule, but being ignored by Jim.

And just to show you how it can be done, on the SAME address, is another ad from 2021 Candidates. While hard to see in this pic,  there is a clear disclosure on the bottom left which can be seen easily when standing in front of the sign.  Btw, I think Yani (one of those in the ad) is a good and hard working councilor.  Even though I don’t agree with his politics, I will vote for him coz hes honest and a good person to represent me and those in my region (in my opinion).

UPDATE 28th September 2010: It turns out Jim’s sign DOES have an authorisation.  I can’t read it, so don’t know if it meets the requirements, but saw some VERY small writing on the top right when I reinspected it today.   Howveer he’s still breaking the law on his flier (see below) and signage by-laws

b) FLIER

The list goes on here too.   There is also a flier I received in my mailbox – 2 sided DLE, full colour – NO DISCLOSURE ANYWHERE.  Par for the course.

Update 28th Sept: I was wrong here too – I found a authorisation here too (I could have deleted this but, but for transparency wanted to show my mistake)

But there is more.    Here’s IMHO, a worse example, coz in this case they are being sneaky, they know they are supposed to do it, but hiding it.

Here’s an ad from the Bay Harbour News – a local newspaper, Page 8.  It’s a big ad (1/4 page, and the page is A3).

First, here’s the ad (click on image for a larger view).

Can you see the authorisation?  No? Nether could I … until I looked closer….

The same pic .. larger:


Again, click on the ad for a close up.  Can you see it yet? You can see the ad is black and white, and the web site is in grey.  Below that, in tiny writing in DARK grey .. can you make out the letters?

It took me several minutes to read it, it says Authorised by: T Milne 30 Freyberg Avenue Riccarton, Christchurch. Now I THINK it says this, since I can’t make it out, even with a magnifying glass.  Now if I wanted to be picky I would also say T is not a name, it’s an initial.  It still doesn’t tell me the NAME of who authorised it, but I think in this case I will let it slide, since I have already made my point.

Now anyone that says it was an accident has got to believe too much in coincidences.  Newspapers supply PROOFS of ads, this is from the same guy who has billboards WITHOUT any disclosure.  They printed it on black and white, and would have received a black and white proof, so they KNEW it was almost impossible to read the disclosure.    IMHO, this is WORSE than above, because they are trying to flaunt the law by pushing it right to the limit – lets disclose the name and address, but make it illegible!

What’s ironic (and rather hypocritical) is that the ad claims as one of six points: I will make the Council open and Transparent.  Classic

I can come to buy one concussion, they are trying to hide it.  But why?

I think Jim just recons he’s above the law.  It’s actually a very simple law, and also a very good one.  We want to know who is saying stuff about people, and where they are from.

But wait, there more:

2) Breaking a by-law for the maximum signage on a property

The same CCC rulebook says on page 26.

City Plan (covers Council district prior to amalgamation with Banks Peninsula)
Election signs are a permitted activity if the sign complies with development standards and critical standards in Plan (see Part 10, 3.4 and 3.5) relating to size and timing. Rules apply to all living zones (except living 5 – travellers accommodation)*
There is no limit on the number of signs but maximum total area of signs on any site is 3m2 (eg a sign 2.5m wide and 1.2m deep.) and they must be a fixed sign on a site/property
.

The problem is the huge billboard that Jim had was on the SAME property as two other 2021 candidates (they were side by side).  Both were the maximum 2.5x 1.2, so the maximum 3m2 is being broken.

Ooops Jim, this law you are breaking is a by-law. A by-law of the city you say you can lead.  Ironic perhaps? Well either it’s that or someone that just thinks he’s above the law.

Anyway .. I think I have made my point.  I could drive round all day and take pics of billboards, and repeat this, but quite simply he’s breaking the law (Local Electoral Act 2001) and Signage By-Laws.

Oh, and before anyone says it, yes some other candidates do this too, but that’s no excuse.  Also most of them that do this are new, and at least they have the excuse they didn’t know.  Jim is a 40 year + political veteran, he knows full well the rules and just chooses to ignore, or even worse flaunt then.  Many (maybe even most) do follow the rules, and I for one will not vote for anyone that can’t play by even the simplest basic rules.

Black and White Version: Jim Anderton is breaking the law.  More than one of them too.

Update 28 Sept 2010: At the request of T.Milne I rechecked the flyer and yep, I got that wrong.  I found an authorisation on it.   But I would have to say T is not a name, it’s an initial, and that’s who authorised it.

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