Media Handbook for the 2020 General Election

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There are different agencies people can go to if they have concerns about an election or referendum advertisement.

Contact us about breaches of election or referendum advertising rules

The Commission is responsible for ensuring that the rules regarding transparency of promoter statements, authorisation of advertising and electoral finance rules are being complied with. Anyone 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, and election programmes under the Broadcasting Act.

Post or email a complaint to us:
Electoral Commission
PO Box 3220

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

The Broadcasting Standards Authority, the ASA and the Media Council all have roles when it comes to considering whether the content of campaign advertising, broadcasts and media activity meets the relevant standards they administer.

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 programmes on TV and radio, such as party and candidate advertisements, must follow the Election Programmes Code of Broadcasting Practice. These complaints go directly to the BSA.

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

Election Programmes Code (

Third party programmes must follow broadcasting standards

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

If a person thinks a programme has breached one of these standards, they have to complain to the broadcaster first. If the complaint can’t be resolved, they can go to the BSA.

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

BSA - Complaints (

Contact the Advertising Standards Authority about other election or referendum advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) oversees advertising in all media other than party or candidate election programme broadcasts on TV and radio.

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

ASA - Complaints (

Contact the Media Council about editorial content

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

If anyone wants to complain about editorial content, they must go to the publisher first. If they can’t resolve the complaint, the complainant can go to the Media Council.

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

Media Council (

Contact local councils about election signs

If anyone has any questions or complaints about the placement of election signs, they can talk to the local council of the area the sign is in.

The Local Government New Zealand website has contact details for local councils:


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