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Howard's End: $200 Barrier To Fair Representation

Someone in the Puzzle Palace in Wellington has decided in their wisdom to charge a $200 deposit for candidates putting themselves up for election to local councils and district health boards. Are the clowns now in charge of the circus? Maree Howard writes.

We live in a democracy - right? We're supposed to have free and fair elections - right? There's supposed to be fair and equal representation - right?

T'aint necessarily so!

The new Local Electoral Act 2001 says its principle is designed to ensure fair and effective representation for individuals and communities.

It has the lofty aim of providing a right to individuals to stand for election based on reasonable and equal opportunity.

It is supposed to provide flexibility and to modernise the law.

Then who was the moron who decided to pass regulations under the Act that requires a $200 deposit from candidates without also providing the opportunity for under-privileged people, who might also want to be candidates, to be able to pay it back over time?

Can some sane and sensible Scoop reader, all whom naturally have common sense, please explain to me how on earth a person on a weekly benefit, which can be less than the $200 deposit required, come up with that kind of money in one hit?

Boy, am I angry.

Some stupid, ignorant, arrogant, out-of-touch moron, has decided that everybody who might want to be a candidate for his/her local council or health board has $200 on tap.

No thought to what that amount of money might mean for some people. No thought in the regulation to providing an opportunity for people to be able to pay it back.

So listen-up morons! Get out of your ivory tower in the Puzzle Palace and forthwith direct all returning officers throughout the country that they can accept late nominations from people who cannot afford the $200 deposit and that they can also pay it back over a period of time.

It might mean that those potential candidates will need to swear a statutory declaration, but so what. Just bloody do it!

Otherwise the coming local council and health boards elections are not free, fair and equal, we do not live in a democracy and you, insensitive morons, should be banished to Antarctica forever. Come to think of it, the penguins probably wouldn't want you either.

A complaint has also been lodged about your uncaring and insensitive behaviour with the Human Rights Commission.

Last council elections I recall the deposit was $100 but now it’s increased by 100% - to $200. And this is a democracy of reasonable and equal opportunity? - Bullshit!


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