The BSA has turned down election advertising complaints about political ads referring to Kim Dotcom, broadcast before the September election.
Kim Dotcom at the official Internet Mana election campaign launch in Auckland.
Source: 1 NEWS
The BSA received four election complaints this year, compared to 11 in the 2011 election period.
Two of the complaints related to a National Party radio advertisement which included the statement: "What have we learnt in this election? We've learnt Labour, the Greens and Dotcom want to spend more than 30 billion dollars..."
The complainants argued that the advertisement was inaccurate because Kim Dotcom was not a political party. However the BSA said Kim Dotcom has been a particularly prominent figure in the lead-up to the general election and a high-profile public figure in general.
"Most listeners would have understood the advertisement referred to Kim Dotcom as the founder of the Internet Party," the BSA said.
One complainant also claimed the ad was misleading because there was "no evidence Mr Dotcom proposed spending 30 billion dollars". But the BSA decision noted that the advertisement said, "Labour, the Greens and Dotcom want to spend more than 30 billion dollars" and it was not suggesting that Kim Dotcom alone intended to spend 30 billion dollars if elected.
"We do not think it was misleading in the context of a robust election campaign for the National Party to analyse the policy costs of other parties or draw attention to them in this advertisement."
A third complaint related to a television advertisement which said part of National's economic plan for the next three years was to "start paying off debt". The complainant argued the ad was misleading because Treasury's Pre- Election Fiscal Update reflected that debt was set to increase every year until 2018.
The BSA found that the statement was National Party policy and not a statement of fact.
"We think viewers would have recognised John Key's statement in the advertisement as robust political expression, typical of pre-election advertising, advocating for National's policies and encouraging the public to vote for National," the BSA said.
A fourth complaint contended that the National Party's closing address illegally contained footage of the Queen and US President Barack Obama, and will be determined in December.