I recently read an item in the Golden Bay Weekly (dated Friday 11 October 2013) from Reg Turner in a “letter to the editor” on page 4, where Reg Turner suggested that Richard Kempthorne had his election candidate leaflets inserted into TDC publications (in particular, Newsline).
According to Reg, this gave Mayor Kempthorne “the advantage of getting his campaign message into every householder receiving that publication. The facility and privilege of inserting leaflets in Newsline, for which printing and distribution is paid for by ratepayers, would not be available to other candidates. The perception is that Mayor Kempthorne took advantage of his office in council.”
This is a serious allegation, which I have raised with the election officer and the mayor. In my opinion, such allegations can undermine the confidence voters have in the voting system at a time when engagement is very low, and in my opinion, requires the election officer to respond – if not to clarify, what did or did not happen.
The Mayor has stated to me that the insertion of leaflets into TDC publications was due to an error by the distributor who received both his leaflets and Newsline, and decided to assemble them together.
The election officer has since informed me that “the matter has been investigated, and no significant or deliberate breach has occurred”.