Skirting the law: Was it legal for Jacinda Ardern to walk around malls all day wearing a bag over her head?

This woman, identified as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, spent today walking around Auckland malls shaking people’s hands and picking up their children.

This woman, identified as Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, spent today walking around Auckland malls shaking people’s hands and picking up their children.

The Electoral Commission says it’s investigating complaints that Labour leader Jacinda Ardern spent most of election day walking around malls, meeting supporters and shaking hands.

Her activity – which strongly resembles campaigning – would be illegal under electoral law, but it is understood Ms. Ardern took the significant precaution of covering her head with a paper bag.

“At this stage, it appears complicated,” said electoral lawyer Graeme Edgeler. “As a politician, on election day, you face is considered a political advertisement, so deliberately walking around a mall with your face on is considered illegal activity.

“But at the moment, it appears that not only has Ardern covered her face, she’s not specifically introduced herself as Jacinda Ardern or even said she’s from Labour.”

In related news, the Electoral Commission has dismissed a similar complaint about Green Party sole-leader James Shaw, who walked around Wellington Central soliciting votes without a disguise between the hours of 2 and 4pm today.

The commission says Shaw’s activity was legal, as he is not considered an advertisement for the Green Party.