ASA upholds complaints against Voices for Freedom flyer advertisements

Feb 18th '22

The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (NZ ASA) Complaints Board has upheld 101 complaints about Voices for Freedom advertisements for misleading and socially irresponsible information about the COVID-19 pandemic.


The flyer advertisements from the group were distributed to homes across New Zealand.


The Complaints Board considered a total of 101 complaints in the published decisions. A further 97 complaints about the same advertising were received early this year.


The Complaints Board considered 56 complaints about two advertisements on masks. Complainants said they were misleading as it appeared the ASA was endorsing the Voices for Freedom statements. They were also concerned the flyers discouraged mask use, which wasn’t socially responsible.


Another flyer by the group related to safety around the children’s vaccine. The advertisement received 45 complaints, with concerns the group were cherry-picking information and undermining public health advice.


Voices for Freedom said claims in the advertisements were backed up by information on the group’s website, and that the ASA approval referenced a previous decision.


In the decisions released today, the Complaints Board said the advertisements were in breach of the Advertising Standards Code.


The ASA Complaints Board acknowledged the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 protection of freedom of expression but said the broad public health implications of the COVID-19 global pandemic at a population level provided a counterweight to the usual liberal assessment of advocacy advertising regarding social responsibility and truthful presentation.


ASA Chief Executive Hilary Souter confirmed neither the Complaints Board, nor the authority, endorsed or approved advertisements and this interpretation of a previous decision was misleading.


There is rightly a high level of public interest about misinformation, and as an organisation we understand the important role we play in supporting the right to freedom of expression along with balancing the public health implications of a global pandemic and the impact of misinformation,” Souter said.


To view the full decisions, please click the below links:



Source: NZ ASA


About the New Zealand ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is an organisation that investigates breaches of advertising standards in New Zealand. The ASA provides a free complaints process for consumers about the content and placement of advertisements. In assessing complaints, the ASA apply the ASA Advertising Codes.


About us

At LS Consultancy, we provide a cost-effective and timely copy advice and copy development services to make sure all your advertising and campaigns are compliant, clear and suitable for their purpose.


We are experts in Marketing and Compliance, and work with a range of firms to assist with improving their documents, processes and systems to help mitigate risk.


Contact us today for a chat or send us an email to find out how we can support you in meeting your current and future challenges with confidence.


Explore our full range today.


Contact us



Why Not Download our FREE Brochures! Click here.


Call Us Today on 020 8087 2377 or send us an email.


You can see our Google reviews here.


We’re looking for guest writers with business know-how and experience to create outstanding articles to feature on our website. Sound like you? Then find out more…