Electoral Act Infringement Outcomes

The have responded to my OIA request for the outcomes of the electoral complaints and referrals. I have uploaded the spreadsheet – ero-case-outcomes-as-at-28-may-2009.

There are a number of categories, I have grouped them by:

Proceeding

This mean the case has not been closed, or at least not notified to the affected parties.

  1. 9 candidates not filed expense retruns on time (7 now have)
  2. Labour for several advertisements being distributed on polling day in Blenheim and Taranaki
  3. Rodney Hide’s yellow jacket
  4. Nicholas Keesing for distributing election material on polling day
  5. NewstalkZB for prohibited election programmes with Winston Peters and Shane Jones
  6. Shane Jones for an election advertisement without a promoter statement

The Police have said they will update me when these are resolved. Nos 3 and 4 will be very interesting. 5 could also be a precedent about MPs on talkback during the regulated period.

Prosecuted

  1. Family Party for late filing (twice) of donation returns when donation exceeded $20,000
  2. Two cases of double voting
  3. NZ First banners in Tauranga with no promoter statement

No 3 I am of course very interested in. Also to some degree with No 1.

Warning Given

  1. National Ohariu Candidate for display of ribbons on election day
  2. Toroa Radio for a prohibited election programme for the Alliance
  3. 41 cases of double voting
  4. Te Runanga O Kirikiriroa Trust for an advertisement supporting a party not approved by that party
  5. Nicky Wagner for an advertisement not authorised and no promoter statement
  6. ACT for a Hunua flyer not authorised and no promoter statement
  7. Cobb & Co Paraparaumu for an election advertisement supporting a party not approved by that party
  8. Dog registered to vote
  9. Labour boolet at Waikato University with no promoter statement

These all look reasonable sensible to deal with by warning.

No offence

  1. Six cases of apparent double voting
  2. Jim Anderton’s e-newsletter, as it had a promoter statement on website where people subscribed to it
  3. NZ First donation return for 2007 as Party Secretary took reasonable steps
  4. Social Credit for late 2007 donation return as they had a reasonable excuse
  5. EMA Northern for exceeding spending limit of third party ads – not an offence as Police found it was an issue ad, not an election ad
  6. A phone survey which may have been an election advert – isolated and no promoter known
  7. Jim Anderton ad in Southern Express as Police accept advert published in his Ministerial role
  8. Voter enrolled in two electorates – turned out to be two people with same name

No 2, No 5 and No 7 are interesting as in this case the Police have reached a different conclusion to the . And of course a Judge (if it ever went to court) could have reached a different conclusion also. Now the EFA is toast, we’ll never know where the fine line between an issue ad and a election ad is to be drawn.

Once again thanks to the Police for the OIA response. It is disappointing that not all cases are yet resolved, but as I understand it the officers on the electoral team has been seconded to other jobs at various times.  This is one reason I still prefer that the electoral agencies can directly refer to court, rather than go through a spcialist agency, and also the Police. The Police will always struggle to treat electoral offences as a priority against other crimes.

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