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Media advertising hypocrisy

Hypocrisy Meter, Pegged to maximum
In brief
  • Front-page Luxon attack ad  looks like news at first glance.
  • NZ Herald’s double standards exposed. Why wouldn’t they run Family First’s campaign ad? 
  • Does the media need to be regulated more, like the cigarette industry, when it comes to political advertising? 

NZ’s biggest trade union runs front page attack ad, mimicking a news story

Media advertising hypocrisy - Centrist
Chris Luxon is the subject of a conspiracy theory according The Spinoff.

The NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) launched an attack ad campaign targeting Christopher Luxon, the leader of the National Party. One aspect of the campaign was designed to look like a front page news story in the NZ Herald. It also included a full-page ad in the paper and a dedicated website called

The campaign also includes billboards and TV slots. 

CTU President Richard Wagstaff led the campaign and says voters need to understand the potential risks posed by Luxon and the National Party’s agenda.

Family First CEO criticises NZ Herald’s hypocritical double standards

Bob McCoskrie, the CEO of Family First, called it hypocritical that the Herald ran a personal attack on the front page, but wouldn’t touch Family First’s “What is a woman?” ad. 

Note that the CTU ad attacks one person by name. FF’s “What is a Woman?” ad was not targeted at anybody. 

There’s always a conspiracy if you look hard enough! 

Journalist Toby Manhire, who’s written pieces mocking conspiracy theorists, for The Spinoff (a publication that’s warned of the dangers of conspiracy theories) went full conspiracy theory mode himself. Manhire thinks (without showing any evidence) that National may be pulling the strings on the CTU to organise attack ads on themselves in some sort of convoluted ruse. 

“There’s only one way to explain this,” he writes. 

Incredibly, Manhire says in the same article that ACT and NZ First are also working together. 

Should political advertising during an election be more like cigarette advertising? 

Perhaps there’s a need for a closer look at media regulation during an election.  

The tobacco industry is tightly regulated in how and where they’re allowed to advertise their products. Maybe some of the same rules are required to keep a level playing field for political advertising. 

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