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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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|