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$9000 Error Makes Both Council and Candidates Look Bad

$9000 Error Makes Both Council and Candidates Look Bad

During an election where much of the talk has been about improving the district’s image, I am frustrated to inform people of this.

On Friday evening I visited the South Waikato District Council’s website to read the profile statements of the 16 candidates including myself.

I was confused to find that there were many basic spelling mistakes in the profile statements, including my own.

Just to be sure, I checked the document I had sent the Council as part of my nomination process.

There were no spelling errors in this document, so I immediately emailed my concerns to Richard Fisk, the Council’s Electoral Officer.

I received this reply;

Hi Sam

I'm deeply disappointed that the errors you refer to were created here without being picked up, and very sorry about the effect that this will have on the quality of your profile statement. Despite a number of times checking all the statements, both at the time of processing, and when the pdf's were returned to us for proofing, a number of typo's have slipped through. This is messy and below the standard that has been set in previous elections.

Unfortunately, there is no practicable way of fixing these up. When I enquired on the afternoon of Thursday 22 August about correcting typo's, I was advised by NZ Post, which handles the printing of Council's voting papers and candidate profile booklets, that the booklets had already been printed, and a reprint at Council cost would be the only way to fix the problem (about $9,000 worth). This was too high a price to pay, in my opinion.

So, once again, I am deeply sorry for the mistakes that have occurred, and were it in my power to rectify them at reasonable cost, I would not hesitate to do so.

Kind regards

Richard Fisk

The errors also initially appeared on the Council’s website but it appears these have since been edited.

However, it is extremely frustrating to know that due to no fault of our own there are candidates in the South Waikato District elections whose printed profile statements contain spelling errors.

These statements will be sent to the homes of every voter in our district, so quite frankly it is not a good look for either the candidates or our district.

I am also annoyed that I have paid my own hard-earned money towards this campaign only for careless errors to now have a detrimental effect on it.

These mistakes influence the democratic process by giving the impression that some of our candidates have poor spelling ability and this will surely influence the decisions of voters.

Some questions need to be answered by the Council and those responsible for these errors;

When is/was it planning on informing our district of this $9000 error?

Will the effected candidates be informed of the error before the election booklets are sent out or will they have to wait until they open it themselves to find out?

Does the Council think it is appropriate that basic editing functions such as spell check and copy and paste are not being used by people involved in producing official documents for the South Waikato Elections?

I look forward to hearing the Councils’ response.

- Sam Hill (Candidate for South Waikato District Council - Tokoroa Ward)

ENDS

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