Andrew Williams has been constantly bombarding people with his inane press releases. He’s stepped up the barrage since announcing he wants to come third in the mayoralty race and it has become annoying. So, I’ve done a bit of research, and accordingly I have emailed the following letter of complaint to the Chief Executive of North Shore City Council.
Chief Executive – North Shore City Council
Dear Mr Brockies,
It has come to my attention that the Mayor, Andrew Williams, has been repeatedly emailing electioneering statements using his council resources.
These emails contain attacks against opponents, and statements that can only be construed as electioneering. They have also been posted on various websites under the guise of “press releases”.
In particular I note from the NSCC’s own guidelines issued in July (copy attached);
For the North Shore City the following guidelines will apply:
1. Council resources (staff or other) are not to be used for personal election purposes
2. No new photographs of current elected members shall be used in Council media (i.e. the website or printed media)
3. No new video film of current elected members who are standing for any office in Auckland shall be used in Council media (i.e. the website or printed media)
4. No personal column or opinion media releases shall be used in Council media (i.e. the website or printed media)
5. The Chief Executive or appropriate General Manager (or other approved staff media spokesperson) will, where relevant, act as Council spokesperson on significant issues during the period 9 July to 9 October 2010 (a situation will be relevant where it is deemed best for an Officer to comment rather than an elected member)
6. There will not be any Communications assistance (from the Marketing and Communications Department) to individuals standing for local government office
It is clear from those guidelines that the Mayor is neither complying with them in spirit or in fact.
Here is a list, by no means complete, of communication that breach some if not most of those guidelines.
2 September – Press release entitled MAYORAL NEWS RELEASE JOHN BANKS WILL NOT FRONT FOR TWO TV DEBATES
3 September – Press Release sent from email@example.com entitled ”Mayoral News Release – Mayor will hold Councillors, Local Boards and CCO Directors to account”
6 September – Press release sent from firstname.lastname@example.org entitled “Mayoral Media Release - WILLIAMS MARKED TOP IN FAMILY FIRST SURVEY”
6 September - Hooton Reserve’s Lucas Creek Restoration Project Stage 1 Complete
Simply put the Mayor Andrew Williams is using council resources and his incumbency to campaign, against his own council’s guidelines issued just a month ago.
I have forwarded this complaint to the Office of the Auditor-General, and await your response to this serious issue urgently.
I note too that the Auditor General’s guidelines for behaviour of incumbent politicians during an election campaign period say essentially the incumbents cannot use the resources of council in any way to further their campaign. A Wellington Mayoral Candidate got into trouble just for sending email messages to staff. The Dominion Post reported:
Auditor-general guidelines for managing public communications before elections say local authorities must not promote, nor be perceived to promote, the re-election prospects of a sitting member.
Members should not be permitted to use council communications facilities such as email for political or re-election purposes, as this was “unacceptable and possibly unlawful”.
Section 4.49 of the Auditor-General’s Good Practice for Managing Public Communications by Local Authorities says:
4.49 Promoting the re-election prospects of a sitting Member could also raise issues under the Local Electoral Act 2001. For example:
- Local elections must be conducted in accordance with the principles set out in section 4 of the Local Electoral Act – see Appendix 1 on page 27. The principles apply to any decision made by a Council under that Act or any other Act, subject only to the limits of practicality. A breach of the principles can give rise to an “irregularity” which could result in an election result being overturned. (See Aukuso v Hutt City Council (District Court, Lower Hutt, MA 88/03, 17 December 2003)
- The publication, issue, or distribution of information, and the use of electronic communications (including web site and e-mail communication), by a candidate are “electoral activities” to which the rules concerning disclosure of electoral expenses apply.
I await your response.
Candidate – Albany Ward – Auckland
m: 021 535724
Andrew Williams can’t even follow the rules of North Shore City, how on earth can we expect him follow the rules of a city setup that he so vehemently opposed. In fact he was so implacably opposed to the Supercity that it astounding he even stands for a position on the council.
It is time for the voters of Albany to boot Andrew Williams to touch and Vote Slater, so that they can get some honesty into politics.
I have had a response from Mr Brockies and from the City Secretary Mr. Peter McArthur, who tell me that they are treating this complaint seriously and may well have already referred it to the Returning Officer.
I am looking forward to the outcome of their investigations.
Vote Slater - Albany - Auckland - Keeping the Buggers Honest