Advice and complaints

There are different organisations you can contact if you have questions or concerns about an election or referendum advertisement.

Contact us about election and referendum advertising rules

We’re responsible for making sure everyone follows the rules about promoter statements, authorisation of advertising and electoral finance.

You can complain to us about breaches of:

  • election advertising and the election day rules under the Electoral Act
  • referendum advertising rules under the Referendums Framework Act
  • requirements for election programmes  under the Broadcasting Act.

You can also ask us for advice about election and referendum advertising rules.

Contact us about a question or complaint

If we believe a person or group has committed an offence, we’ll report the facts to the police. We can’t enforce laws or prosecute offenders.

Sometimes, we may not report an offence if there’s no public interest because it’s so inconsequential.

Our role does not include regulating the content of campaign advertising, broadcasts or media activity. The Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Advertising Standards Authority and the Media Council all have roles in regulating of content (see below).

Contact the Broadcasting Standards Authority about broadcasting

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) oversees broadcasting on TV and radio.

Election programmes must follow the Election Programmes Code

Election and referendum programmes on TV and radio, such as party and candidate advertisements, must follow the Election Programmes Code of Broadcasting Practice.

The BSA website has more information about the code, and how to complain under it:

Learn more about the Election Programmes Code

Third party programmes must follow broadcasting standards

Third party programmes about elections and referendums must follow the relevant broadcasting standards for radio, free-to-air TV or pay TV.

If you think a programme has breached a standard, complain to the broadcaster first. If you can’t resolve your complaint, you can go to the BSA.

The BSA website has more information about the standards and how to complain:

Learn more about the broadcasting standards

Contact the Advertising Standards Authority about other advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) oversees advertising in all media other than TV and radio.

Advertising must comply with the ASA Codes of Practice. The ASA website has more information about how the codes apply to election and referendum advertising:

Find out what you can complain to the ASA about

Contact the Media Council about editorial content

The New Zealand Media Council oversees its members, which include publications and news websites.

If you want to complain about editorial content, you must go to the publisher first. If you can’t resolve your complaint, you can go to the Media Council.

The Media Council website has more information about its members, and how to complain:

Learn more about the Media Council

Contact local councils about election signs

If you have any questions or complaints about the placement of election signs, talk to the local council of the area the sign is in.

The Local Government New Zealand website has links to every council’s website, where you’ll find contact details:

Find contact details for local councils 

Types of complaint

Example Who to contact
No promoter statement Electoral Commission
Candidate or party TV or radio ads Broadcasting Standards Authority
Opinion piece in newspaper Media Council
Signs up in my local area Local Council
Signs up on election day Electoral Commission
Spending limits on election advertising Electoral Commission
Content of print, outdoor, online paid advertising Advertising Standards Authority
Unpaid personal political views online Not regulated
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