Candidates caught in font furore
Matamata- Piako local election candidates were given 11 days to fix the size of the font of their signs after the anomaly was picked up by the eagle eyes of a mayoral candidate.
It left a sour taste in the mouth of some, including incumbent councillor and mayoral hopeful Garry Stanley, who labelled it ‘‘pedantic’’.
Concerns were raised by Matamata-Piako councillor and mayoral candidate Neil Goodger, who noticed wording on roadside signage breached district plan rules by being smaller than 120 millimetres, or 160mm if speeds are above 70kmh.
Matamata-Piako District Council chief executive Don McLeod said they had no choice but to investigate the issue.
Mr McLeod said it became clear the small type font was in breach of the national election campaign rules adopted in its district plan three elections ago.
‘‘We issued an abatement notice that said that their signs didn’t comply with the district plan and that they had 11 days to comply with that . . . we had no choice but to look into it and it would seem that they didn’t meet what are standards for the national elections.’’
Mr McLeod said he wouldn’t be surprised if the issue was rife in other electorates, however councils could choose to investigate only if the matter was brought to their attention.
If the matter was ignored and raised after an election it could mean the re-running of the whole election, ‘‘which would not be seen in a positive light at all’’, he said.
Mr McLeod had no idea how many candidates the notice would affect, but Mr Stanley believed it would be quite a few.
‘‘It’s pedantic. I mean, the way they ( council) are reading the rules I don’t agree with. But they have the power and wish to flex it . . . if they were to go through the district and make sure all the other signs complied they would be very busy for quite some time.’’
Fellow mayoral candidate and current deputy mayor Jan Barnes said she just wanted a fair election.
Mrs Barnes had her fixed signs re-erected on Monday afternoon.
‘‘I just want to get on with it, I am running a fair mayoral race and we all want to be on the same playing field . . . whether it’s very pedantic or not.’’
Mrs Barnes believed the ruling would now ‘‘open a can of worms’’ amongst other electorates.