The week Aotearoa went into Lockdown back in March, NZRise were invited to the Beehive to present on a range of topical issues:

  • Online Voting
  • Digital Democracy
  • Disinformation and electoral interference

Incredibly important and topical issues, delivered to a really engaged, enthusiastic audience of Ministers, their aides, and advisors. The timing however meant we were not handshaking, as we were having our first COVID cases in Aotearoa, attention was rapidly drawn to the issue of 2020.

Today, as the election nears and headlines like these are appearing about social media platforms shutting down fake news and disinformation from groups on their platforms, it is a timely reminder how easily we can be infiltrated and influenced by external parties with hidden agendas. This isn’t just an issue in America, it is happening in everywhere – even in Aotearoa.

What can we do?

The European Commission started working on this 4 years ago and have established:

  1. An Action Plan on Disinformation
  2. The Code of Practice on Disinformation

At a minimum we should look to establish the same for Aotearoa focusing first on the following outcomes:

  • improve detection, analysis and exposure of disinformation
  • stronger cooperation and joint responses to threats
  • enhancing collaboration with online platforms and industry to tackle disinformation
  • raising awareness and improve societal resilience
  • Empower consumers to report disinformation and access different news sources, while improving the visibility and findability of authoritative content; and
  • Empower the research community to monitor online disinformation through privacy-compliant access to the platforms’ data

How can we get this done?

NZRise recommends establishing a cross industry, cross agency group specifically designed to address this issue with urgency.

We acknowledge the COVID outbreak, and the health of our nation has been the major issue of 2020 requiring all our collective focus and attention. With our border controls in place, health system response in place and clarity of expectations of our citizens in place – now is the time to turn our attention to other significantly important matters such as these.


You can review the slides we presented to MPs here.


Ngā mihi, Victoria (for NZRise).

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