We're going to the polls on November 26. Let the law begin!
May I just say how happy I am that John Key reads Pundit, even if it takes a good six months for the advice to sink in fully. He is "doing the right thing" by announcing a November 26 election date this early in the piece, as he put it at his press conference. And good on him for that.
Also, props to David Farrar for picking this date as long ago as March last year. But less so to Mike Smith at The Standard ... guess this is one occasion where thinking the worst of your political opponents just wasn't justified!
For those few election law aficionados out there, John Key's announcement means that the "regulated period" will commence one second after midnight on Friday the 26th of August. (Any talk of "an official campaign launch date" and "a four week campaign" is political puffery rather than having any legal meaning.) Note that fact - simply by holding this press conference and making this announcement, John Key triggered the application of a fairly extensive regulatory regime. Anyone know of any other examples of potential legal liability coming into being as the consequence of a public official "iss[uing] a media statement"?
So, if you are planning on "incur[ring] advertising expenses exceeding $12,000 ... in relation to election advertisements" after August 26, you'll want to get yourself registered as a promoter before doing so. And don't forget that you'll only be able to spend $300,000 (GST inclusive) on telling everyone else how they should vote. Truly, our democracy is under attack.
Oh yeah - same thing goes for anyone planning to tell people what to think about the referendum on MMP. You're covered too.
And MPs ... better note that you won't be able to use your parliamentary funding entitlements to publish any election advertisements after August 26. So you'd better think about printing and distributing your glossy head shot pamphlets before that date rolls around. You will, however, be able to keep using your taxpayer funded travel privileges and office staff to help you get re-elected!