The Planet Key EP

by Darren Watson

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The insane story of a song that was effectively banned in 21st century New Zealand.

In August 2014, Darren Watson released the single "Planet Key", which satirised the New Zealand prime minister John Key. As the song had been released in the run-up to the 2014 general election, the Electoral Commission advised that the song would be viewed as an electoral programme and therefore could not be played on New Zealand television or radio, nor could it be sold unless it was labelled as an election advertisement.

Watson chose to remove the song from the iTunes store, claiming the commission's advice was censorship.John Key commented that the song and its music video was, "quite professionally done. It was anti-us but as a parody it was okay."

The song spent three weeks on the NZ Artist Singles Chart peaked at #5 on before it had to be removed from sale.

In September, before the general election, Watson took the Electoral Commission to the New Zealand High Court to challenge their advice. Justice Denis Clifford reserved his decision, saying the issues were complex.

On April 2, in a landmark 76 page judgment, Justice Denis Clifford ruled comprehensively in favour of Watson and Jones. [11]Significantly, he held that the Electoral Commission’s interpretation of the legislation: “would impose limits on the right of freedom of expression of the plaintiffs and New Zealand citizens more generally in a manner which… cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

The Electoral Commission appealed this ruling and Darren ended up at the NZ Court Of Appeal which also found in favour of Watson & Jones.


released October 27, 2016



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Darren Watson Wellington, New Zealand

No-one plays classic rhythm & blues like Darren Watson. Over the better part of three decades he has developed a style that, while touching on all of the greats who inspired him, is personal, powerful and identifiably his own.

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