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Marketing Bill Passed into Law (satire)

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The Unthinkable has happened. Parliament has passed the Marketing Bill into Law.  The Marketing Bill, as most of you will be aware, exists to create what the bill's sponsor Labour MP Annette King terms "an even playing field".  What she means by this is that the amount of money that a business can spend on marketing per year should be restricted.  Further, any individual wishing to promote a company which they have found useful, must first register with the Marketing Commission to be allowed to do this.  And even then, the amount of time that they may spend promoting a company to friends and family will be restricted to 120 minutes per year.  Below I have the transcript of Annette King's introduction in the third reading of the bill.

Annette King - 18 December, 2007

Third Reading of the Marketing Finance Bill

"I move that the Marketing Finance Bill be now read a third time.

This Bill has been a contentious one, its passage marked by acrimonious debate and a campaign of misinformation. A major newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, devoted almost a month to attacking the Bill and the Government in a campaign the like of which has not been seen since a Labour Government legislated to stop tobacco advertising. One can’t help but wonder if the motives for the current campaign are not very similar to the last one.

Much has been said and written about the Bill. In yesterday’s Dom Post a letter to the editor summed it up for many people: Business is not “one dollar, one sale”.
An article in last week’s Otago Daily Times made some relevant points. I quote: “As much as we like to imagine that freedom of advertising is an absolute, it isn’t. There are several laws that proscribe it.” The article went on to say that a leading opponent of the Bill believed an ideal business environment would let money be free to talk whenever, and however loud, it likes. The truth was, the article said, that this man “has bags of money and no hesitation in using any amount of it to try to influence the purchasing decisions of the consumer.”

This Bill demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensure that wealthy business-owners do not have more advertising power than small-players. The Commerce Select Committee, the Government, and Parliament during committee stages have listened to concerns about the Marketing Finance Bill, and have not made any changes that improve the Bill.

Madam Speaker, this Bill is about creating a fair, transparent business environment that puts all businesses on a level playing field with clearly defined rules and safeguards to protect the small-players from being drowned out due to the higher marketing budgets of larger companies. We do not want to see the Americanisation of our market.

This Bill does not restrict freedom of marketing. It simply restricts rights to ‘purchase’ sales through advertising. This is being done to safeguard our market by keeping to a minimum the undue influence of money in marketing. That’s what a level playing field means, and the Government believes most New Zealanders understand and support this principle.

The Bill makes changes that will help to bring New Zealand into line with other comparable democracies, such as Russia under the rule of Stalin, and Zimbabwe under the rule of Mugabe. These reforms are important, as fair and transparent advertising-campaigns are fundamental to our market...

...Madam Speaker, this Bill does not restrict freedom of advertising. It simply restricts rights to ‘purchase’ sales through advertising. This is being done to safeguard our market by keeping to a minimum the undue influence of money in advertising.

If we want to protect the ability of all New Zealanders to participate in, and grow the economy, we must ensure that businesses with limited resources can realistically compete with those with deep pockets, by restricting how much individual businesses may spend on advertising their goods or services.
I commend this Bill to the House."

To read the full speech, please click here.

The bill passed, with
Ayes 63 New Zealand Labour 49; New Zealand First 7; Green Party 6; Progressive 1.
Noes 57 New Zealand National 48; Māori Party 4; United Future 2; ACT New Zealand 2; Independent: Field (Gordon Copeland absent).

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