Te Pāti Māori updates social media account after Electoral Commission looks into complaint

The Electoral Commission has now responded.
The Electoral Commission has now responded. Photo credit: Newshub.

Te Pāti Māori has had to update one of its social media accounts after concerns were raised with the Electoral Commission.

Newshub reported last month that the Electoral Commission was looking into an Instagram post by the political party after receiving a complaint that it breached the Electoral Act.

The post, which asked for people to volunteer for the party as it is "gearing up to bring all the 7 Māori seats back home in this year's election!" didn't include a promoter statement. 

On Thursday, the Electoral Commission told Newshub it had been in touch with Te Pāti Māori and the party had updated their Instagram page with a promoter statement. It won't be taking the matter any further.

"Election advertisements need to include a promoter statement showing the name and address of the person promoting the advertisement," it said. 

"Parties and candidates can cover this requirement when posting election material on their own social pages by including a promoter statement in their bio."

On the Electoral Commission website, it defines an election advertisement as an advertisement "that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to vote or not vote for a candidate, party, [or a] type of candidate or party the advertisement described by referencing views they do or don't hold".

"An advertisement’s encouragement or persuasion can be direct or indirect. Whether an advertisement encourages or persuades voters depends on its: content, style, apparent purpose, factual context, effect as a whole.

"We must assess whether something is an election advertisement from the perspective of a reasonable observer, recognising the importance and value of political speech in a democracy."

The website said some advertisements about an election or referendum need a promoter statement "even if they don’t encourage or persuade voters to vote or not vote for a party or candidate or referendum option and won’t count as an election or referendum expense".

"For example, posters encouraging people to enrol to vote in the election need to include a promoter statement because the posters are related to an election."

Publishing an election advertisement without a promoter statement can lead to fines.

Te Pāti Māori has been contacted for comment.