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Bunkle denies report

ALLIANCE Wellington Central candidate Phillida Bunkle says she is taking
City Voice to the Press Council over a report that she is urging people to
give their electorate votes to Labour.

She announced her complaint at a City Voice election forum at St Andrew’s on
the Terrace the day the report appeared (28 Oct), six days before she
withdrew from the electorate ballot paper in favour of Labour’s Marian
Hobbs.

The Voice reported that Bunkle told a Labour Day rally on 25 Oct: “The
strategy to make a change of government has to be – vote Labour in the
electorate and Alliance on the list.”

But in a personal statement at the City Voice forum, Bunkle said she had
told the editor, Simon Collins, that he could not interpret her words as
endorsing a vote for Labour candidate Marian Hobbs in Wellington Central.
“The statements reported did not include my statement about Wellington
Central,” she said.

“I did not mention Miss Hobbs. I made that perfectly clear to the editor.
That he ignored that to manipulate the result is deeply unfortunate. I have
been working very hard to make sure that the spirit and the reality of
democracy is presented to you in real choices.

“I have written to the Press Council. I think we have had enough about this
attempt at manipulation.”

On the same day, Bunkle announced that she was writing to every voter in
Wellington Central asking them whether she should contest the electorate
vote. She withdrew after considering feedback from the letter.

• Simon Collins responds: Phillida Bunkle did, indeed, tell me after her
Labour Day speech that her advice to “vote Labour in the electorate” did not
refer specifically to Wellington Central. In retrospect, therefore, I accept
that the headline, “Bunkle urges ‘Hobbs/Alliance’ vote”, went too far.

However, given that she was speaking as the Alliance’s Wellington Central
candidate to a Wellington Central rally, I believe it was fair to interpret
her statement as a tacit endorsement of tactical voting in the seat.

ends

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