Conservative Party candidates referred to Police

The has announced:

On 15 April 2013, the Electoral Commission referred and , of New Zealand candidates at the 2011 general election, to Police for filing a false Candidate Election Expenses and Donations Return.

It is an offence under section 205N of the Erlectoral Act 1993 for a candidate to file a false return.

The Electoral Commission has also referred Larry Baldock for paying, or arranging another person to pay, election expenses in excess of the $25,000 maximum specified in section 205C of the Electoral Act 1993.  This is an offence under section 205F of the Act.

This is quite rare. Reading between the lines it looks like some election expenses were not declared, and in the case of Baldock those expenses would have put him over the $25,000 limit.

Baldock stood for Tauranga and got 1,512 votes or 4.2%. Peter Redman stood for Bay of Plenty and got 1,306 votes or 3.7%.

Peter Redman declared no donations and $42 of expenses.

Baldock declared a donation of $24,900 from the Conservative Party and $24,900 of expenses so I’d say it is about some sort of undeclared expense. Maybe it was a joint advertisement for Baldock and Redman and they attributed it all to the party, rather than to each candidate? We’ll find out in due course.

Of course the Police may do nothing, as is often the case. No Right Turn undiplomatically puts it like this:

Of course, we know what will happen: the police will take the complaint, and then forget about it, just as they have with virtually every other complaint referred to them by the Electoral Commission. The police simply don’t care about electoral law. If you steal a television, they’ll throw you in jail. Try to steal an election, and they ignore it.

As they did with Labour in 2005.

This is not the first time the Conservative Party has had issues with its returns. I blogged on these last May.

UPDATE: This NZ Herald story has more details on what may be the issue.

Also of interest to me is that Baldock got only 206 votes more than Redman despite Baldock spending the maximum $25,000 and Redman basically zero. This reinforces again to me that advertising has only a minor impact on votes.

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