2.107 Governments have a responsibility to keep the public informed about important issues of the day. They may legitimately use public funds and resources for advertising and other publicity that explains their policies, informs the public of the government services available to them, or sets out the public's rights and responsibilities. Government advertising and publicity must be accurate, factual, and objective, and comply with all relevant legislation and government policies.
2.108The Guidelines for Government Advertising (available on the website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) assist Ministers and the state services in preparing advertising and publicity, and in the expenditure of public funds for this purpose. The State Services Commission is available to provide advice to the state services on the guidelines, particularly if conduct or integrity issues arise. The Office of the Controller and Auditor-General is also available to provide advice, particularly as to probity and financial management.
2.109Members of Parliament (including Ministers) and all parliamentary political parties can access funding from Vote Parliamentary Service for communications related to parliamentary business. For parliamentary political parties, this funding is based on the number of seats they hold in the House. Guidance on the use of these funds is available on Parliament's website. Public funds may not be used to finance publicity for party political purposes except for election advertising provided for under the Broadcasting Act 1989.
2.110Special considerations apply to government advertising during an election year (see paragraphs 6.9 – 6.11). The State Services Commission releases guidance to the state services in an election year, which includes guidance relating to advertising and other communication activities (see the State Services Commission's website).