Today unsuccessful, serial candidate Thomas Morgan, who received 96 votes in Southern Ward, emailed all councillors and candidates asking them to complain or raise issues about the election if they had any. This is not something that should be taken lightly. An Electoral Officer is required to report to the police any complaint made that an offence has been committed. But candidates usually raise these issues during the campaign, such as the mayoral concert scandal.
If Thomas is seeking more general improvements, it might be a little too soon given the focus is on sorting the final result. A select committee will inquire into the conduct of the election in coming months, as one does after each local election. Make a submission if you have suggestions after the terms of reference are announced. We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, there are expense returns to look forward to. Within 55 days of the election results all candidates must provide the Electoral Office with a return stating their electoral expenses, and recording all donations of $1000 or more. The limit on electoral expenses varies according to the population of the local government area. Kerry was cleared of allegations that she knew her anonymous donors in 2008.
Significant penalties are imposed for any breach of these provisions. There is a fine of up to $5,000 for exceeding the expense limits. Failure to submit a return attracts a fine of $1,000, and, if the candidate was successful an additional $400 per day until the return is made. A false return can result in up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000 if made knowingly.
Anyway, back to Thomas, he emailed:
I am interested in seeing any complaints about the election that have been made to Ross Bly. I may not reply all that quickly but will have a look when I get the chance as I am a keen monitor of the system. You too can adjust things with suggestions to the Local Government Commission- in the phone book I think.
Later he added:
I chip-in and get bits of the system fixed if I have the time. Last year I got the nomination paper changed- two places for dating the nominee signatures instead one. I really do need other things to do that actually pay open to offers!
The current situation of 40 votes between the two mayoral candidates really is very serious and if anyone has got anything to add that might contribute to that matter then now is the time to speak up!
The best response so far is from Nigel Wilson, a candidate for C&C DHB, who polled a respectable 3911:
I complained about the rise in GST, the weather, the fact my life was under threat from marauding dogs as I delivered my propaganda, and the fact my opponent had excellent flyers and a well organised campaign team. I also complained about the Canterbury rugby team winning the Shield and I am not at all happy about those Australians winning so many gold medals at the Games – surely they have enough gold in Australia already. So there it is – my list. So far Mr Bly has not taken my complaints seriously at all. He probably has some weak excuse like trying to sort out the closest mayoral race in Wellington’s history.
He sure is right about the GST increase.