It’s taken a while but the Greens appear to realise just how difficult it is to avoid breaching the Electoral Finance Act.
Campaign director Gary Reese told the party’s grass roots campaigners to send all material into him for vetting and authorisation, allowing two to three days for processing.
The party is also taking steps to make old merchandise – such as t-shirts – comply with the law by offering iron-on transfers with the authorising statement on them to supporters who own them.
Ink stamps have also been issued to branches to authorise old pamphlets and other advertising material.
MP Metiria Turei said the party was trying to publicise the need for authorisation among the wider net of supporters to ensure nobody inadvertently breached the law.
“The law has changed and the consequences for breaking it are quite severe. You don’t want to put yourselves or those who support you at unnecessary risk.”
Remind me, who changed the law and disregarded the many individuals and groups who warned against it? Oh yes, the Green Party was one of those who supported Labour on this.
Ms Turei also advised workers to authorise anything with the party logo on it until the Electoral Commission decides whether a party logo alone will be deemed an election advertisement.
A change from her position in March when, as I explained last week, she wrote a letter to the editor saying logos didn’t count.
The meeting illustrated some of the practical difficulties members were having applying the law to the real life of an election year.
Ms Turei said much of the trouble arose because the law change broke the former consensus between parties as to what was covered by electoral advertising law.
“The mistake was that this law was passed so close to an election year. There has been no time to develop a political consensus about what is and is not acceptable.”
The mistakes were many and began when Labour and its allies trampled over the convention of seeking cross-party support for legislation on constitutional matters such as electoral funding.
They continued with the refusal to accept the many valid criticisms of the Bill and suggestions for improvement before rushing through the vote which enacted it.