Artwork in tribute of Jacinda Ardern could breach advertising rules

Wellington - New Zealand’s electoral watchdog is taking a critical look at artwork made in tribute to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after receiving complaints it breaches political advertising rules.

The Electoral Commission confirmed it has received “several complaints” and was looking into the matter, a spokesperson said.
The artwork, created by Mike Weston and Otis Frizzell, features a stylized picture of Ardern’s face, with the word ‘aroha’ (love) underneath.
“We think Jacinda has done a brilliant job leading Aotearoa [New Zealand] through the Covid-19 pandemic. We were proud to show our support with an iconic painted portrait,” the artists said in a Facebook post.
For every poster sold, the artists were pasting another up in public “to share this message of aroha,” they said.
However, the Taxpayers’ Union allege the posters are an advertisement and must therefore abide by rules.
“In our complaint, we pointed out these posters’ similarity to the iconic ‘Hope’ posters of [former US president] Barack Obama. Both posters clearly fit under the law’s definition of advertisements, in that they are likely to persuade someone to vote for a given candidate or party,” spokesperson Jordan Williams said in a statement.
The art should carry a promoter statement and may have implications for election spending limits, he said.
When questioned about the art during a press conference on Monday, Ardern said she "wouldn’t generally" take a view on people using their ability to express themselves.
"So I won’t do that in this case either. Ultimately someone else is going to make a decision on that and it won’t be me.”

Monday, June 22nd 2020

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