Advisory Opinions

Any person may ask the Electoral Commission to provide advice on whether, in its opinion, an advertisement constitutes an election advertisement under the law. It may be helpful to obtain the view of the Electoral Commission where you are uncertain whether an advertisement will be considered to be an election advertisement.

The advisory opinion is not a binding ruling or legal advice. The opinion is the Electoral Commission’s interpretation of the application of the Electoral Act 1993 in respect of the advertisement. A court of law may reach a different view. You may also wish to seek your own legal advice.

Making a request

To make a request please send us a copy of the advertisement and explain how and when it is to be published and on what scale. Requests can be made by email, post or fax. 

Emailed requests should be sent to

Mailed applications should be sent to:

     Electoral Commission
     PO Box 3220
     Wellington 6140

Faxed applications should be sent to 04 495 0031.

There is no fee charged for an advisory opinion.

The Commission’s opinion

On receipt of a request the Electoral Commission will provide an advisory opinion, generally sent to the requestor by email, as soon as is reasonably practicable. Our maximum response target for advisory opinions is five working days.

The advertisement, any supporting material, and the advice of the Electoral Commission must be treated as confidential by the Electoral Commission until after the last day for the return of the writ for the election to which it relates. Advisory opinions will then be made available on request, subject to the Official Information Act 1982. This does not prohibit the requestor from releasing the advice at any time.

Further information about the rules on election advertising can be found in the Commission’s handbooks for candidates, parties and third parties. If you have any queries please contact the Electoral Commission. 

Last updated: 18 January 2017