The ASA has partially upheld a complaint against an advertisement by the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) in the Hutt News community newspaper promoting the Local Government Commission's draft proposal for the re-organisation of the Wellington region.
The ad presented a mix of statements within speech marks which purported to quote the Commission's draft proposal but which were not in fact direct quotes. The Hutt City Council complained to the ASA that the ad was misleading. The ASA agreed, saying readers had the right to assume statements within speech marks were "a verbatim quote from the draft proposal, not what the advertiser had decided was the 'essence' of the Commission's plan."
The ASA reiterated that while advertisers are permitted to express opinions in advocacy advertising, the expression of opinion must be robust and clearly distinguishable from facts.
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