Advertising Standards Authority dismisses complaints National MP's billboards are 'misleading'

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed two complaints regarding "misleading" billboards and newspaper ads by National's Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule.

The advertisements claimed Yule had secured millions of dollars in funding for infrastructure projects around Hawkes Bay.

One complaint was against billboards featuring a photo of Yule and said "$500 million new build of Hawke's Bay Hospital commencing 2025". 

The complainant said they had filed a complaint because they felt the billboard implied the build is a "foregone conclusion".

"I believe that this is misleading as it implies that Mr Yule's election 'promise' is set in stone," they said.

The Authority's complaints board rejected that complaint, saying Yule's identity and position on the issue was clear.

"The advertisement draws attention to the party's policy on the Hawke's Bay Hospital. That policy sets out the party's position for voters to 'access world-class healthcare regardless of income, background or postcode'," the ASA concluded. 

"Voters will be familiar with the process of policy announcements from political parties during an election campaign and understand that such policies signal the intentions of the parties at the time they are made."

The second complaint was about a full-page newspaper advertisement where Yule said he had "achieved a record $800 million commitment to infrastructure projects in the region".

This included "$300 million safety upgrades of Napier-Taupō Road, Napier-Wairoa Road and Hawke's Bay Expressway commencing 2021".

The Authority ruled that Yule's identity and position on the issue was clear, and "the likely consumer takeout, given the context of the advertisement and the tick next to the candidate's name, would be the $800 million commitment relates to pledges from the National Party if it is elected to Government".

Yule said he was pleased the "unsubstantiated complaints" had been dismissed.

"I'm proud National has committed $500 million to rebuild Hawke's Bay Hospital and to $300 million safety upgrades of Napier-Taupō Road, Napier-Wairoa Road and Hawke's Bay expressway.

"This is the largest ever investment in the Hawke's Bay region and shows how committed National is to delivering for our communities.

"I have worked hard for three years to get National's support for a new hospital. I'm proud to be the MP for Tukituki, and a strong local representative for the Hawke's Bay."