Grey Power election sparks ‘dirty tricks’ email campaign
A smear campaign to bring down a candidate running for Grey Power’s national president has rocked the over-50s advocacy group.
Outgoing president Tom O’Connor said ‘‘potentially defamatory’’ emails had been sent to members from three fake email accounts in the past few weeks, two of which claimed to be from him.
O’Connor said the ‘‘underhanded’’ emails trying to ‘‘improperly influence the election’’ were sent by former board members and life members.
O’Connor addressed the ‘‘dirty tricks’’ in an email to regional associations late last month.
‘‘It seems we have more dirty tricks and underhanded stunts [than] Donald Trump’s re-election campaign managers and the Australian cricket team combined,’’ he said in the email.
‘‘In the past few weeks we have had three bogus email addresses set up. One to improperly influence the election of the president with deliberate lies and a false identity and two email addresses falsely claiming to be me.’’
The country’s leading Grey Power members are in Blenheim this week to vote for a new national president, and to discuss issues affecting the elderly, at their annual meeting.
O’Connor, a former Marlborough Express journalist living in Timaru, said initial inquiries suggested the fake email addresses had come from the greater Wellington region. He told members the only emails they would receive from him would be from the Grey Power New Zealand Federation office.
O’Connor said two emails made ‘‘untrue’’ comments about a candidate, under the pseudonym ‘Leon Ash’. ‘‘They sent out an email that was very, very critical of one of the candidates and some of the comments were untrue and some were potentially defamatory but they did it under an assumed name.’’
O’Connor said the emails were ‘‘inexcusable’’ and those involved had been given a ‘‘stern’’ talking to.