Can­di­dates caught in font furore

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page -

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.

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