Mr Robert Peden
Chief Electoral Officer
By blog and email: [email protected]
Re: Letter from Jim Anderton
Dear Mr Peden,
Please find attached a scan of a letter sent by Jim Anderton to voters in Wigram. You will note the letter says “I urge you to give Megan your vote”.
This clearly makes it an election advertisement. The letter says it is authorised by Jim Anderton of 286A Selwyn Street, Christchurch, so he is its promoter as s204F(2) requires the name and address of the promoter of the election advertisement.
Under s204G(1) any advertisement encouraging voters to vote for a candidate must be authorised in writing by the candidate. I do not know if there is or is not written authorisation, but that issue may be one the Commission wishes to verify.
The main purpose of the letter is to complain that Mr Anderton is not eligible to promote an election advertisement, and it appears has committed an illegal practice under the Electoral Act.
S204(B)(1) states a person can be a promoter if they are a party secretary, a candidate, a registered promoter or an uregistered promoter.
Mr Anderton is not listed on the Electoral Commission website as a party secretary or a registered promoter. Mr Anderton has also confirmed he is not a candidate in this election, indeed he says as much in his letter (attached).
This means that Mr Anderton can only be a promoter if he is a unregistered promoter. However s204A defines an unregistered promoter as someone who is NOT a person involved in the administration of the affairs of a party. A party under s3(1) means a registered political party. The Electoral Commission website lists the Progressive Party as a registered political and Mr Anderton is the leader of that party, and hence heavily involved in in the administration of the affairs of a party.
Under Rule 5.1 of the Progressive constitution the Leader is a member of the Party Executive which has full power to administer the party between conferences.
So as Mr Anderton is ineligible to be an unregistered promoter, and is not a party secretary, candidate or registered promoter, I believe one can only conclude Mr Anderton has promoted an election advertisement without being eligible to do so, and has committed an illegal practice under s204B(3).
I look forward to your decision on this matter