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April 4, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

A question for the electoral commission

Recently the Electoral Commission has been under a lot of pressure with the Electoral Finance Act, with all its vagaries forcing them to do some work. I was reading Colin Espiner’s blog on the hypocrisy of Labour getting away with a whole lot of offences, when they should’ve been charged, and one sentence struck me: 

“The Government has been left red-faced by an Electoral Commission”

Which got me thinking about other EFA matters, specifically David Farrar’s post on the Balloon law. The Commission was asked to rule on whether balloons are classified as election costs, because of their colour and logo.

Each political party in NZ has a set of colours which most people can identify them by. Red for Labour, Blue for the Nats, the Greens have a monopoly on an entire shade of the spectrum, ACT have yellow and aquamarine, while NZFirst have black and white (which could also explain their policy on race relations).

Indeed colours have always been political. The Reds under the bed, Red China, socialist movements are generally characterised by their use of red. Blue is typically a conservative colour, used by the British Conservative party. One of the only places to get this distinction mixed up, is the USA, where the Republican party is denoted as red, and the Democrats as blue.

All this got me a’thinking: How do we stop parties evading the EFA by just using their colours? It follows the line of the EFA that my voting choice may be influenced by parties clandestinely sneaking their colours into prominent places, slipping subconscious messages into my brain to manipulate me into voting for them.

Traffic lights are a good example, they are insidiously socialist by nature. Red and Green lights at every intersection. Constantly being bombarded with subtle messages to keep left by voting for the parties that not only control the traffic, but your life!


Because the Electoral Commission left Labour red faced, is that a cost that has to be taken into consideration, and since the Commission made them red faced, should they also have to register as a third party? Should Transit New Zealand have to register as a third party because they have mini bill boards at most inner city intersections?

If the Commission doesn’t rule on these issues, we could see the erection of large billboards, no writing, no pictures, just colours. Coloured peices of paper jamming up your letter box, post-it notes stuck to building walls. Candidates walking everywhere in brightly coloured jump suits with matching sneakers and cap. Special edition packets of M&M’s and Smarties of only one colour… the list of loop holes is endless. Please Electoral Commission, help us out!


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The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (7)

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  1. peteremcc says:

    Your post may be in jest, but I wouldn’t be surpised to see a complaint about balloons that aren’t stamped with a logo but simply a parties colour.

  2. Back in 1987, party scrutineers at voting booths were only allowed to wear the colour of their party, not the name. This changed with MMP, as the variety of parties and the subtleties of RGB mixes brought confusion to the masses. Rosettes bearing the names of parties were then allowed. Profoundly colour-blind people rejoiced.

  3. Sarita says:

    What if you’re colour-blind?

    PS. It should be “Vive”, not “Viva” [re: the ‘bird’ in your pants, Jackson…]

  4. Jackson Wood says:

    Who? The Electoral Commission or voters? and so what if they are colour-blind? They will see the same shade of grey on a billboard as they do in the polling booth. It also depends on what type of colour-blindness they have, there are roughly a bajillion different types and only about one twentieth of the male population is colour-blind anyways.

    Ahhhh cheers, they don’t make french translation programs like they used to!

  5. Well, red green is (I believe) the most common, so one presumes the biggest problem will be for rg colour-blind lefties. It’s all a right wing conspiracy to turn Labour and the Greens against one-another!

  6. JoeG says:

    What colour is the DAFT party? Brown? If so, what would the Electoral Commission do about everyone’s poo?

  7. Jackson Wood says:

    It doesn’t really have a colour, but I guess if it did, it would have to be chocolate brown, or maybe custard yellow… or maybe both… Since the party isn’t registered yet, it is not yet an issue.

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