Govt plans to crack down on misinformation ahead of referendum

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 3 Nov 2019, 4:31PM
(Photo / Getty)

Govt plans to crack down on misinformation ahead of referendum

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Sun, 3 Nov 2019, 4:31PM

As the country prepares for two potential referendums next year, there are concerns about misinformation clouding the debates.

The Minister of Justice has plans in place to combat misinformation and manipulation in any campaigns leading up to, potentially, two divisive referendums at next year's election.

That includes a special team within the Ministry of Justice to direct people to information aimed to be as accurate and neutral as possible, and to be on the look-out for any attempts to deliberately mislead the public.

It's the first time core public servants have taken on this role, and they'll have to walk a tightrope between providing credible public information and getting drawn into any partisan debates.

Voters will not only have to choose the government come 2020, but will also have their say on legalising recreational cannabis, and potentially, voluntary euthanasia.

However, the man behind the euthanasia bill, David Seymour, does not think that such a team is necessary. He told The Weekend Collective that he thinks New Zealanders are well-equipped to work out "b-s".

"Their going to be competing with so many sources of information trying to get attention, I'm sceptical as to how effective it can be." 

He says that people are already sceptical of information coming from the Government, and it may have the reverse effect of sending them to other sources.

Seymour says that he is happy to have a debate about his End of Life Choice Bill based on real information. 

"Wisdom of crowds will win out, and we will actually be able to pass the referendum." 

- with content from RNZ

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