WCC admits it is making it up because of Twitter pressure

Stuff reports:

Wellington mayoral candidate Paul Eagle’s lawyer has asked Wellington City Council to retract its statements claiming he is breaching election by advertising his campaign.

More digital billboards have popped up around the capital week, after the first batch caused confusion online last Monday, the day Eagle announced he was running for the mayoralty. Twitter users questioned their legality as they fell outside the permitted election advertising period.

Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said displaying the signs before August 27 went against council policy – but as the signs were on private property, there wasn’t anything the council could do.

is entirely wrong. The applies to signs on private property. What it doesn’t apply to is commercial billboards. It applies to temporary signs of under three square metres.

Eagle said other candidates had in previous years advertised early without problems, to which MacLean said in case “we’ve received a lot of heat [from the public] so we feel compelled to act”.

is an appalling admission. They’re saying they demanded a candidate take down signs that were 100% legal, because people on Twitter complained about them. The job of Council staff and officials is to enforce the rules fairly and impartially, not to smear a candidate because of complaints on Twitter.

Eagle’s campaign spokesperson Georgina Stylianou said on Friday afternoon, the officer contracted by the WCC confirmed to Eagle’s lawyers that there is no legal basis for him, or the WCC, to require the campaign advertising to be taken down.

Angry people on Twitter is not a legal basis. I’m amazed WCC don’t realise this.

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