New Decisions: Voting Promotion, Political Party Policies and More

The following decisions have been published on the ASA website:

Posters To Encourage Young People To Vote Deemed OK

An Electoral Commission poster mimicked a ballot paper and showed two ‘voting’ options – ‘Red Lip’ and ‘Nude Lip’ followed by the words ‘You vote every day, so vote this election. Brought to you by the Electoral Commission’.

The Complainant claimed the advertisement portrayed a patronising, sexist and offensive gender stereotype by trying to compare the decision-making of which lipstick colour to wear, with which political party to vote for. The Complainant also said that it was clearly targeted at women because it was seen in a women’s hotel bathroom and the one in the men’s bathroom was different.

The Advertiser said the advertisement employed humour to encourage young people to vote in the upcoming election by making it appear as simple as every day activities. The posters were targeted in locations more likely to be visited by younger people and the message was targeted to the types of activities that commonly take place in that location.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement employed light-hearted humour to illustrate the ease of the voting process and did not reach the threshold to cause serious or widespread offence to most people. The Complaints Board said the advertisement encouraged people to vote in the upcoming election and there was no breach of the Code of Ethics or the Code for People in Advertising. The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

National Party Tax Policy Advertisements Not Misleading

Two advertisements by the New Zealand National Party focusing on Labour’s tax policy generated complaints. The first advertisement on Facebook was titled “Labour’s Tax Grab” and said in part: “You will pay $1,060 more tax from 1 April 2018.” Underneath in smaller text, was the qualification: “For anyone earning more than $52,000 pa.” The advertisement included an authorisation statement. The post was headed with a message from the National Party which said, in part: “Don’t risk it. Party Vote National and keep more of your hard earned money.”

The Complainant said the advertisement’s claim that people will pay more tax from 1 April 2018 was misleading. The Advertiser said it was not misleading because the National Party’s tax package that comes into effect 1 April 2018 will mean people pay less tax than they do under the current law. The Complaints Board said the advertisement presented the National Party’s opinion on the impact of the Labour Party policy on revoking the tax cut if elected and agreed it was part of the political discourse allowed under the provisions the Code of Ethics. Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

The second advertisement was the “Let’s Tax This” video posted by the National Party to their Facebook page alongside the comment from the National Party “#WATCH Our brand new ad ‘Let’s Tax This’ highlights the tax burden Labour would impose on hard working New Zealanders.” The video listed various taxes which appeared in red arrows in contexts to which it related, for example a cow in a paddock with an arrow point to its rear end saying “Fart Tax”. On screen, the advertisement said “Labour. Let’s Do This” before changing to “Let’s Tax This” and the voiceover said, in part “There’s only one way to stop Labour’s taxes, Party Vote National.”

Multiple complainants said the advertisement contained misleading representations of tax policies. The Complaints Board noted there was a level of humour employed in the advertisement and the Advertiser had provided information on debate about the taxes it referred to in the advertisement. The majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement did not meet the threshold to mislead consumers. In accordance with the majority, the complaint was Not Upheld.