National defies Speaker's ruling: Ads using Parliament TV footage to remain

The National Party has announced it will not take down social media videos despite a ruling by the Speaker to have them removed by 5pm.

"Freedom of speech is of fundamental importance to our Parliamentary democracy and to New Zealanders," National leader Simon Bridges said in a statement Friday evening.

The Speaker made a ruling on Thursday that videos using edited Parliament TV footage featuring MPs without their permission must be removed by 5pm on Friday.

But Bridges said his party will fight the ruling. 

"We have the highest respect for the role of the Speaker. But in the interests of freedom of expression and against censorship, we will keep the videos up to decisively bring this to a head."

Junior Labour Whip Kieran McAnulty raised the issue with the Speaker in a letter.

He pointed to political advertising by the National Party which included Parliament TV footage used without the permission of the MPs featuring in it.

The rules of the House state that use of Parliament TV coverage "must not be used in any medium for political advertising or election campaigning (except with the permission of all members shown)".

The National Party has published videos on social media which include footage from Parliament TV.

One includes Labour MP Deborah Russell discussing the "intellectual history behind wellbeing". The video makes quick cuts between parts of her speech and zooming in at different speeds.

It focuses mostly on Dr Russell discussing Greek mythology and concludes with Assistant Speaker Ruth Dyson asking her to get back on topic.

National MPs have now been sharing the video on social media with their own authorisation statements.

That would mean if Bridges gets called before the Privileges Committee - sort of like Parliament's court - it won't be just him that gets called, it'll be all of them.

In a letter to the Speaker, Bridges said the video "does not attack or criticise the Labour Party or the Government".

"All the video does is draw the attention of viewers to the explanation provided by Dr Russell," Bridges said. "In doing so, it offers no further commentary than Dr Russell's words."

He argued that when National was in government, "Labour also used footage from Parliament; often heavily edited. We didn't complain as we stood by our record and we encourage political debate".

He said to "muzzle an opposition from highlighting what government MPs say in Parliament is an undemocratic and unjust overreach".

Mallard said on Thursday until the current rules are reviewed, "Simon Bridges and his office are to refrain from editing official video footage of MPs and posting it."

"They may link to the official footage but I will view editing it as an intention to make it an advertisement."

Newshub. 

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