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Four weeks and waiting - the Minister should go!

Hon. Dr Nick Smith MP National Party Local Government Spokesman

29 October 2004

Four weeks and waiting - the Minister should go!

"Local Government Minister Chris Carter should resign as the debacle over the local elections held on the 9th October now enters its fourth week," says National's Local Government spokesman Nick Smith.

"Afghanistan had its first election in 5000 years on the same day and, despite being a Third World country of over 29 million people, connected by little more than donkey trails, they had a result in the first week. After three weeks we still do not have a result for 16 District Health Boards and three councils.

"The Minister cannot hide from his responsibilities. His Government passed the new Local Electoral Act that introduced STV and his department has been intricately involved in its implementation.

"When this debacle emerged three weeks ago, Mr Carter could have taken control rather than passing the buck. He should have insisted on a strict timetable for counting, or contracted another firm to get the count done.

"Instead he has washed his hands of any responsibility.

"The 2004 local elections were a disaster and an international embarrassment for a country that prides itself on being one of the cradles of democracy.

"Chris Carter should do the honourable thing and resign," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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