The Letter Of The Law!
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at 5:10PM
Bill Barclay

No-one who has traversed the highways and byways of this District could be unaware of the fact that there is a "TCDC Team" standing for Council that are clearly 'affiliated.' These are its 'members' - French, McLean, Fox, Bartley, Peters, Christie and Simpson - "The TCDC TEAM" - just check the signage! The Chief Electoral Officer has already advised me that there is nothing in the Act so stop anyone calling themselves "The TCDC Team" - which seems strange, but so be it. 

But another question remains, and that is far more potent in terms of the Local Electoral Act 2001, because despite the very clear wording of Section 55 (4) (b) of said Act, the erstwhile members of this "TCDC Team" have apparently failed to indicate this affiliation on their Electoral forms, and accordingly, the voting papers fail to notify voters of this fact.

Here is the relevant Section:

55 (4) A nomination under subsection (1) must state

(b)  any organisation or group with which the candidate claims to be affiliated for the purposes of identifying that affiliation in the voting documents at the election:

Now many readers will consider it to be a minor matter, and churlish even for me to raise it, but I don't, and I have sought a ruling on it from the Chief Electoral Officer, who may be hard pressed to accept the legality of the nominations now that it has been brought to his attention.  

The problem is that even although the signage that reveals the affiliation is relatively insignificant, there are many voters who will potentially be confused by the wording of the voting paper viv-a-vis the signage - for example, if they vote for one, do they have to vote for all? 

That is why the Act is thus worded, and generally applied to the letter of the law in every respect. My interest was spurred by the attempt by Strat to 'redefine' the word 'Team' in comments on 'HH on the Street' below. 

Of course, the Chief Electoral Officer is not the final arbiter on the matter - many elections have been successfully challenged in the past in either trhe District, or the High Court on far less serious grounds. 

I will publish his response in full when received.

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
See website for complete article licensing information.