Family First calling for more bureaucracy

DB has agreed to take down a billboard that, according to Family First, “glorified pornography”. Great, there is some stuff your kids just don’t need to read.

But Family First is going further than that, from their email:

Family First has called for a committee to be established to pre-approve billboards. Mr McCroskie said the committee should include specialists to advocate for the protection of children and families from offensive billboards. “Families are sick to death of being confronted with offensive material as they drive along motorways and through city streets.”

Do we really need another bit of bureaucracy to go through before you can advertise? It would be just a nuisance for the vast majority of advertisers who were not intending to have anything offensive on their billboards anyway.

And it would do no good (and possibly even do harm), because in the long run it could end up being stacked by government-appointed left-liberals, who would have a completely different idea to Family First about what is “offensive”. We could see stuff currently considered obscene approved due to it “becoming accepted in popular culture”, but Christian content repressed to not offend Muslims or some such nonsense. Who knows? Why risk it?

If the “Advertising Standards Authority is a ‘toothless wonder'” as Mr McCoskrie says, wouldn’t any government appointed authority just end up the same?

The billboard is being taken down. The current law therefore seems to be working. Let’s be happy about that, not make up more laws.

Or have I missed something?

ACT Party advertising complaint upheld by ASA

act_ets_flier3Before the election the Act party sent a letter and flyer about the emissions trading scheme to rural households. This letter and flyer contained some excellent information on the ETS, and I was glad to see Act educating people about this flawed scheme.

However Act claimed to be the only party opposed to the ETS, and the only party that would withdraw from Kyoto (note Kyoto was only mentioned in the letter, not in the flyer reproduced here). This was completely false, as the Family Party also opposes the ETS, and supports withdrawing from Kyoto.

I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over this, and my complaint has been upheld. Act’s response to the ASA over this issue was very arrogant, and stated (in full):

“The statement needs to be taken in the context of current political discourse in New Zealand.

This is an election campaign where most parties contesting the election will not obtain parliamentary seats. The Family Party is likely to be one of those parties.

Accordingly, the meaning of the statement is that the ACT Party is the only party that voted against the passing of the bill in parliament and will be the only party elected to parliament after the election that will oppose it.

If the Family Party oppose the statement on the flyer then that party is welcome to produce and distribute its own flyer/pamphlet putting their position. That’s how elections work.”

As it turned out we did not get into parliament, and I can understand their position on this. But the fact remains that they said they were “the only party”, which is completely untrue. If they had said “the only parliamentary party” or something to that effect, it would have been fine. But they didn’t.

I did not like complaining about these advertisements as the message was one that needed to be heard. But I could not roll over and allow a blatant lie. If someone has a good message they can portray it honestly.

I am glad this complaint was upheld.

I am also glad that Act was able to gain enough votes to get 5 MPs and get some concessions out of National on this important issue. I am however disappointed that a lie was used to in part achieve this result.

Ad in The Press

If you get The Press, check out our ad on page A15.

Note there is a nasty formatting error as printed so it looks far less professional than it should, I am in the process of negotiating with The Press what to do about that at the moment. But it is there to look at.

Long time no blog

It has been a few busy days since I was last on the blogs. I have been speaking, putting up billboards, doing up my campaign truck, and spending some much-needed time with my family. The campaign is going well and there is a lot of interest in the party.

I was in a great debate at Canterbury University last Thursday on tertiary policy, it went for 2 hours as the students were so interested and had so many questions. There was a lot of interest in our tertiary policy, especially taking GST off basic essentials and introducing achievement-based fees abatement (ie the higher your marks, the lower your fees) to encourage success rather than just handing everything over on a plate.

We now have a few billboards up around the place down here, I think we have the best billboards of any party, although the Green party has tried hard to have some half-decent ones too they just don’t come close to our own. National and Labour haven’t even tried to have attractive billboards.

Family Party billboard West Melton

Family Party billboard West Melton

Who decides the election

Homepaddock has an excellent illustration of the problem every political party faces:

I’ve just picked up today’s papers from a dairy and commented as I passed them over to the young bloke serving me that these are interesting times politically.

He replied, “What’s happening?” …  “Are there elections this year?”

Read the whole post. It is voters like this young man who will decide the election this year, and every year. People who aren’t really interested in politics and will make their decision based on a small amount of information. They may always vote for one party, or pick between Labour and National depending on the mood of the times. Or they may pick one issue they like the sound of and just vote on that (“I like the environment so I’ll vote Green”, “Maori have it rough so I’ll vote for the Maori Party”, hopefully “I care about my family so I’ll vote for the Family Party”), or sometimes “That poor guy Winston Peters is being hassled by the media again, I’ll vote for him”.

I am not criticising these voters at all. These voters are busy working in the real world, and don’t care about politics. In focussing on day-to-day life they are being more practical than those of us who do spend time on politics in many ways. But ultimately politics will affect their lives somehow, and they will vote one way or another.

You can’t reach these people through political blogs – they aren’t interested in politics so won’t be reading them. You may be able to reach them through the newspapers, but some of them may not read the political articles if they aren’t interested in them. You may reach them through TV and radio, but broadcast advertising is strictly regulated. The most effective way of reaching them through TV is by getting onto the news and current affairs programmes – which Mr Key has been doing a great job of throughout the recent Peters controversy. Leaflets and billboards may work too, although leaflets can be just thrown in the bin.

How do you reach people who aren’t interested in politics?

Suggestions welcome!

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