Is the publisher breaching the EFA too?


Courier Country, a monthly paper which is delivered free to rural mailboxes from North Otago to Mid Canterbury, arrived with yesterday’s mail.


Just like its stable mate The Courier  about which I blogged last week  it has an advertisement for Timaru Labour Government MPs under a Labour logo.


I think this is breaching the EFA because there are no Labour Government MPs. It is therefore an advertisement for Labour so needs to be authorised and its cost accounted for in the party’s election return.


If I am right, is it just the party which is breaching the EFA or are the paper and the website, also falling foul of the law?

Who are the Timaru Labour Government MPs?


At the left of the masthead for The Courier  is an advertisement for Aoraki MP Jo Goodhew with her contact details and the Parliamentary crest and a small National logo which is the sort of thing an electorate MP routinely does.


At the right of the same masthead is an advertisement in which the Labour logo takes up a third of the space and under this is “Timaru Government MPs’ office, your link to Government” with an address, and both a Timaru and 0800 phone number. It also carries the parliamentary crest.


Trouble is there is no person who is the Government MP for Timaru (and the placement of the apostrophe after the s means it’s referring to more than one Timaru Government MP). This means it can’t be a constituency or list MP’s or MPs’ advertisement so it must be an election advertisement – so why does it have the Parliamentary crest (which means you and I have paid for it) and why doesn’t it have authorisation as required by the EFA?


The central vetting committee which Audrey Young  reports has been set up to inspect every proposed publication by every Labour MP and candidate can’t have seen this, unless they think Labour Government MPs don’t count. Of maybe the law of common sense doesn’t apply here.


For the record, I rang both numbers and got an answer phone telling me I’d phoned the Timaru Labour Government MP’s (or maybe MPs’) office. Just wondering if you and I pay for that too.

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