Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

ACT Complaint against Chief Electoral Officer

Hon Richard Prebble CBE
Leader ACT New Zealand
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

29 November 1999

Michael Wintringham
Commissioner
State Services Commission
P O Box 329
Wellington

Dear Mr Wintringham

Complaint against Chief Electoral Officer

The ACT Parliamentary office has received communication from a voter who lost his democratic right to vote because of inaccurate information given out by the Chief Electoral Officer Phil Whelan.

The Chief Electoral Officer wrote to New Zealanders living overseas informing them that that they could vote by e-mail until 4 pm on the Friday prior to election day.

When voters attempted to do this they learned that this advice was nonsense.

Voters have never been able to vote by e-mail and Parliament has certainly never approved e-mail as a method of voting.

The voter who contacted us says when he was informed of this error it was too late to vote by the correct procedure. We understand that 18,000 voters received this misinformation.

The ACT party has clearly been disadvantaged by this advice. In every website poll ACT is always the overwhelming winner. A disproportionately high number of ACT voters are on the web and were attracted to the idea of voting by e-mail. So Mr Whelan's advice did not discriminate against parties evenly.

Reviewing the election results through the MMP St Lague formula shows that if ACT had received only another 1,360 votes at the expense of other parties who are represented in Parliament, ACT would have another MP. It is therefore clear that the Chief Electoral Officer's misdirection has more than likely affected the composition of Parliament.

I can think of few more serious charges to make against a civil servant than that their actions may have deprived New Zealanders of their right to vote, and affected the makeup of Parliament.

This letter is to ask you under the State Services Act to review this action and to see whether disciplinary procedures against the Chief Electoral Officer are warranted.

For the Chief Electoral Officer to inform voters that they can vote by e-mail appears to me to be not just negligent but grossly negligent.

And if you are going to look at his performance, you should also look at the extreme length of time it took to count the votes. Mr Whelan has been making public statements that this year's election would proceed faster than the last, but it appears to have taken longer.

This shakes the public's confidence in the system and I believe the State Services Commission should also look to see whether this is the standard we expect.

I don't believe this matter should simply be referred to a select committee. This is an issue of whether the civil service is providing the service that the public has the right to expect.

Yours sincerely

Hon Richard Prebble CBE
LEADER, ACT NEW ZEALAND
MP, WELLINGTON CENTRAL


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Passports And IDs Left Online: Privacy Breach On Tuia 250 Aplications

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage yesterday revealed it had mistakenly exposed the sensitive details of about 300 mostly young people online...

Technology commentator Paul Spain said while most of the information was gone from the internet, the question was who had accessed it while it was online.

"This could be a problem for them for months if not years to come because others are now able to impersonate them and they could do all sorts of things when they [can] pretend to be someone else." More>>

 

Cutting Tape, Rasing Super Age, Cutting Business Payment Times...: National's Economic Discussion Doc

National has today released its fourth Discussion Document, which focusses on the economy and outlines a range of policies that will help rebuild business confidence, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why NZ Shouldn’t Try To Curry Favour With Trump

Dutifully, Denmark had lined up militarily alongside the US in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Syria and during the Iraq War. This means nothing. In a heartbeat, the current US President will trash any ally, and on the flimsiest of pretexts. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels