The ODT reports:
Police have decided not to pursue a complaint against the Otago Daily Times made by Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis.
Cr Vandervis complained to police in December about the publication, just before the local body elections, of an article rating councillors’ performance during the last council term.
He believed the article breached the Local Electoral Act by attempting to interfere with or influence voters in the process of voting in the elections.
What an insane complaint. Having a person or publication state what they think of a Councillor’s performance is not interfering with an election.
One of his biggest complaints was over the timing of the article, which was published as voters were receiving their electoral papers.
”If the ODT had decided to do this a month prior to people getting the election papers, not a problem.”
That’s the exact time you do want to hear opinions. This is like saying that there can be no media coverage of local body issues in the final three weeks.
University of Otago public law specialist Prof Andrew Geddis said there was never a chance of the complaint being successful.
”Simply providing information about candidates and your considered opinion as to their behaviour or performance – there is just no way on earth that is going to be considered interference.”
If Cr Vandervis did take a private prosecution it would be thrown out of court at the first hurdle.