Kiwiblog comes to mind as a blog that is totally open about it's bias towards National
Reading between the lines on all of the above, Kiwiblog may very well be affected by the law, depending onhis hosting costs. Though IIRC he simply disclosed last election.
Public Address shouldn't have any problems - it's a "news media website", and thus exempt.
I'm still interested in the answer to the EVEN IF question though. What is the real ramification if some blogs got covered?
So, if they're not covered by the blog exemption, and are insufficiently independent to slip in as a "news media website"?
They would have to disclose the name and address of their "promoter". And, if their total expenses (basically hosting) are more than $12,000 a year, would need to register and do some paperwork.
Keep in mind that the commerical value of Blogger or Wordpress hosting is nil. It's not a special deal you're getting - everyone gets it free. So only very large blogs will be affected.
However, I could forsee some wrangling about what is a "personal blog" as opposed to one that is affiliated with a party, due to the author being a member of a particular party.
That is indeed going to be an issue as the web becomes more of a feature in campaigns. And I expect the Electoral Commission to issue some guidance. As for your example, I think its a fairly hard and fast rule that a candidate's blog is advertising for them, and must be disclosed and declared as an expense. Party members, officials, pollsters etc will depend on the nature of their blog. But I'd think that someone's campaign officials running an online party political broadcast should probably disclose, and depending on the position, may very well have to declare it as a campaign expense as well. Mere party members, OTOH, won't face any real restrictions.
What if a blog has advertisements?
Don't. It's ugly, and it pisses off your readers, particularly if its one of those irritating flash ones that eats your CPU. And while they can be blocked (I use AdBlock, for example, so I just don't see them most of the time), it's still a hassle having to download and install just to screen out your crap.
But seriously, if you have ads, and they're intended to make actual money rather than just be a way of pissing off your readers, you may be "commercial". But then you may also be a "news media website", and also excluded. During the last election, I took the position that I was covered by s221A (4) of the Electoral Act 1993 (which exempts "news or comments" - basically to allow the media to report the news). The Electoral Commission seemed happy with this. OTOH, some other sites, with explicit party links thought they were safer having a disclosure statement.
Again, your average dinky Blogger or Wordpress site with some irritating crap placed by AdSense is highly unlikely to be affected. It's only really a problem if you're blowing thousands a year on hosting. And if you're doing that, essentially to run a party political broadcast, disclosure seems entirely justified.
I'm curious. Why do you use a pseudonym?
Because I like to keep my private life private. Also, I place a high value on infruiating Craig Ranapia :)
(The fact that I've been using this name for nigh-on 15 years is also a factor).
Why don't you think someone who has ads on their blog might also want to use a pseudonym?
Indeed they might. But if they're basically running a party political broadcast, they have no more right to do so than they would on a hardcopy political pamphlet under existing law.
So pretty much only the anonymous political blogger gets affected?
No. As I've already said several times, personal blogs are not "election advertisements", therefore there is no requirement for disclosure. If you're just running a blog, you're completely unaffected by the law.
That may be so, but I don't think every blogger can be so sure---not without legal advice, anyway.
Sure. If, for example, you are a party contractor and your blog is just a mouthpiece for a party spin machine, then you should probably consider your position. But ordinary citizens seeking to participate in the democratic conversation have nothing to be concerned about.
Not true. I've already quoted section 53(1), which makes it clear that you have to disclose your name and address even if you spend absolutely nothing
In case you missed it, I was talking fairly specifically about blogs.
s53 (1) applies only to "election advertisements". And a personal blog is, by definition, not an election advertisement.
As for applying it to non-blogs, such disclosure has always been the case. The Brethren, for example, were required to disclose (and this is how they were uncovered, despite the fact that they'd falsified their addresses).
While you raise fears around political revenge as a result of disclosure, I don't recall any stories about it last election, or the election beforehand.
When I watched a select committee hearing on the EFB, I was very imprssed with Turei's constructive approach, asking every submitter how they would like to see the bill amended, and whether a change in the definition of "electoral advertising" to remove the odious s 5 (1) (a) (iii) would substantially address their concerns (to which the answer was usually "yes").
The National Party MPs OTOH tried to scaremonger, with Chris Finlayson asking questions such as "did you know a sermon would count as an advertisement under the bill" (which is false, BTW). Unfortunately, they seem to be continuing this approach.
Ben: even without the exemption, most ordinary political blogs would not be covered, as your time is not a declarable expense (again, the law wants people to participate). They would however be required to bear a declaration stating the author's name and address, just as any political pamphlet or placard has always had to around election time.
quite a few "mainstream" kiwis don't seem to like following the demands of their betters for some reason. 8]
You forgot the quotes around "betters".
No god, no queen, no lord, no master. We can leave all that baggage behind in Europe, thankyouverymuch (and by calling it baggage, hopefully the Nac Mac Feegle will steal it :)
The EFB may contribute to shifting campaigning toward the blogosphere amongst other places. Restrictions on spending will probably make things like getting supporters to blog, comment on blogs, ringing talkback and the traditional shoe leather campaigning more important.
You mean... participate?
I don't exactly see that as a flaw.
And this might not be directly pertinent to discussion of the Bill, but what about anon-i-bloggers? At least, I know David Farrar and Russell Brown; even have their home addresses and phone numbers tucked away in my address book. What about Idiot/Savant, the pseudonymous chaps at The Standard and Kiwiblogblog and their equivalents on the right?
Well, in my case, I'm firmly covered by 5 (2) (g) - I'm an individual, the blog is non-commercial, and it's my own opinion, so none of it is electoral advertising, and therefore the disclosure requirements do not apply. Disclosure, spending limits etc only apply if you want to spend money, rather than merely being an active, informed, and opinionated citizen.