New Decisions: Political ads, electric vehicles and more

The following decisions have been published:

Advocacy ad for ACT party didn’t breach Code
The ACT New Zealand Facebook advertisement stated “Labour wants to control what you say.” The supporting text said “Support ACT’s campaign for freedom of speech”. The advertisement also contained an authorisation statement.

The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading the public by claiming the Labour Party wanted to control freedom of speech and provided no sources to support this claim.

The Chair confirmed it an advocacy advertisement, which means robust expression of opinion is allowed, as long as the advertiser is clearly identified. The Chair noted that in a free and democratic society, differences of political opinion should be openly debated without undue hindrance or interference from authorities and in no way should political parties, politicians, lobby groups or advocates be unnecessarily fettered by a technical or unduly strict interpretation of the rules and regulations.

The Chair said the opinion statement did not reach the threshold to be likely to mislead or deceive consumers. The Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Electric Vehicle Ad Not Misleading
The video advertisement for Mercury Energy which appeared on the NZ Herald website was set to the song “Kiss and Say Goodbye”. The ad showed people saying goodbye to their petrol fuelled vehicles and bypassing petrol stations in their electric driven cars. The text says “Kiss Oil Goodbye. Join the Electric Revolution.”

The Complainant said claiming that buying electric vehicles will halt the use of oil was misleading. They said that oil is used to manufacture most of the components of any car, electric vehicles included. They said a more accurate slogan would be “Kiss Petrol Goodbye“.

The Chair considered the consumer takeout of the advertisement was that electric vehicles do not need to use petrol, and this is the way of the future. The advertisement contained several shots of petrol pumps, which gave context for the  message about petrol powered vehicles versus electric vehicles. The Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.