The Election Programmes Code only applies to election programmes that are broadcast on television or radio during the general election period. Usually, ‘election programmes’ will appear as short promotional / campaign clips for political parties or candidates, broadcast on TV or on radio.
You can view the Election Programmes Code below in HTML text, or as a PDF.
Please note in relation to the Code:
For guidance on what is an election programme, the standards that apply, and how to complain about an election programme, see:
For further information, also see:
If you would like to make a complaint about an election programme, go to:
Election Programme Complaint to the BSA
Election programmes are subject to the same broadcasting standards as other programmes.
Therefore, this Code should be read alongside the other Codes of Broadcasting Practice: Free-to-Air Television, Radio, and Pay Television. The Codes are also available free from the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
There is one exception to this: the requirement to present a range of significant viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance does not apply to election programmes (see section 79 of the Broadcasting Act).
In recognition of the special context of general elections, broadcasting standards such as fairness and accuracy will be applied to election programmes in a manner that respects the importance of free political expression and debate.
Complaints about election programmes are made straight to the BSA.
‘Election programme’ means a programme that:
encourages or persuades, or appears to encourage or persuade voters to vote, or not to vote, for a political party or the election of any person at an election; or
advocates support for, or opposes, a candidate or political party; or
notifies meetings held or to be held in connection with an election
(see section 69 of the Broadcasting Act 1989)
Election programmes can only be broadcast during an ‘election period’ (the period beginning with writ day (the day the Governor-General issues a writ requiring the Chief Electoral Officer to make all necessary arrangements to conduct a general election) and ending the day before polling day).
Election advertising in non-broadcast media (such as print and online) is not covered by this code.
Complaints about non-broadcast election advertising should be made to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Other information about the regulation of elections should be sought from the Electoral Commission.
Formal complaints allege that the broadcaster has failed in its responsibility to maintain one or more of the following broadcasting standards:
Formal complaints about an election programme must be:
Complaints should specify:
Copies of all Broadcasting Codes are available from the BSA and on this website.
The following standards apply to all election programmes broadcast in New Zealand.
Note! Legislative amendments have recently been passed (21 March 2017) which make some changes to the requirements for election programmes. For example, the requirement for Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand to provide time for opening and closing addresses has been removed – this means that Standard E5 Opening and Closing Addresses will not apply during the 2017 General Election. See: Broadcasting (Election Programmes and Election Advertising) Amendment Act 2017.