Greenpeace Climate Voter website an election ad - court

The High Court has found a Greenpeace website about climate change was an election advertisement, but another site the organisation put up criticising the Energy Minister was not.

An imitation website "hacked" by Greenpeace.

The High Court in Wellington has released a judgment today in two cases concerning decisions of the Electoral Commission.

In the first case, Greenpeace and others were seeking a statutory declaration that the Climate Voter website was not an election advertisement under the Electoral Act.

The court rejected Greenpeace's arguments and said the website the Electoral Commission considered when providing its advisory opinion was an election advertisement for the purposes of the Act.

In the second case, regarding a Greenpeace website criticising Simon Bridges, the court has declared the website was not an election advertisement as it related to his role as Minister of Energy.

The court said the website could not reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading people not to vote for a candidate or party.

The Electoral Commission says it will need to carefully consider the judgment and discuss the implications of the decision further with Greenpeace and others.

The commission says no further comment will be made while the judgment is under consideration.