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Jonah Lomu's tweet sparks calls for re-think of election day controls

Some opposition politicians say election day controls on social media need to be reviewed, with three well-known sportsmen now under police investigation for tweeting on polling day in September.

Opposition politicians are calling for election day controls on social media to be reviewed. Source: 1 NEWS

Publishing anything, including on social media, that could influence voters is banned on polling day day under the Electoral Act.

Today, All Black legend Jonah Lomu, current All Black Israel Dagg and New Zealand rower Eric Murray were summoned by police for breaching election day rules. The Electoral Commission has called foul over tweets from the three sports stars supporting John Key on September 20.

Lomu, with nearly 48,000 followers, tweeted Mr Key: "All the best for tonight. Get in there everyone your last chance to vote and grow NZ. Go 'National'".

Labour's acting deputy leader Annette King says the rules are out of kilter with changes around elections.

"You can tweet right up to polling day, while there's now early voting. And look at how many people had early voting at this last election - thousands. So the rules are out of kilter with what's happening and I think they need to be looked at," she said.

Greens co-leader Metiria Turei said: "It does beg the question of whether controls on election day are now reasonable."

Parliament's Justice and Electoral Committee is conducting its usual review of the General Election.

But, ONE News political reporter Katie Bradford says, with more than 700,000 people voting in advance this year - while campaigning was in full swing - it seems certain that some sort of law changes will have to be made.

The Prime Minister, meanwhile, is going easy on three elite sportsmen, saying he believes a lack of knowledge is to blame for their election day tweets supporting him.

"I would probably surmise at least that it was done out of ignorance of the law rather than some sort of intent," Mr Key told ONE News.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the law's the law, "but as for the sports stars they only made one great mistake and that's they supported someone who knows nothing about rugby".

The Electoral Commission's now referred 26 complaints to the police of people publishing statements likely to influence voters and police say any decisions will be made under current law.