Whanganui Chronicle

Local body election’s big spenders revealed

One spent around double the secondhigh­est spender

- Mike Tweed

AWhanganui district councillor with a slogan of “no spin, straightfo­rward” spent $18,700 on a communicat­ions expert during last year’s local election campaign.

Candidates’ election expenditur­e declaratio­ns show Peter Oskam hired Kerry Parkin, of Hum Communicat­ions, as campaign strategist, campaign brand designer and campaign manager.

Hum Communicat­ions’ invoice says activities undertaken included speech-writing and the developmen­t of presentati­ons for public meetings, creating a campaign brand and designing branding strategies, and developing campaign marketing strategies tailored to target audiences.

Another was “researchin­g and analysing the current situation”, which involved formulatin­g overall goals and key campaign messages.

The transactio­n of $18,700 was more than any other candidate spent on their entire campaign, and Oskam’s final tally of $22,941.20 was around double that of the secondhigh­est spending candidate.

He secured 6498 votes, enough to claim the 11th spot on the council.

Oskam could not be reached by the Chronicle for comment.

A candidate’s election expenditur­e can’t exceed $30,000 in a local government area with a population smaller than 60,000 but larger than 39,999.

Successful mayoral candidate Andrew Tripe declared a total of $10,900.49 and former mayor Hamish McDouall’s expenses came in at $11,268.78. The third mayoral candidate, DC Harding, spent $5500.

According to the Local Electoral Act 2001, every candidate must file a return of electoral donations and expenses within 55 days “after the day on which the successful candidates at any election are declared to be elected”.

Dan Jackson, Blair Jones and James Newell are yet to return declaratio­ns.

Whanganui electoral officer Warwick Lampp said all candidates had been requested to submit them.

“As declaratio­ns have yet to be received from B Jones, D Jackson and J Newell, I will be referring their details to the police for follow-up soon,” he said.

According to the Local Electoral Act 2001, a candidate who fails, without reasonable excuse, to supply an expense form commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1000.

In other declaratio­ns, returning councillor Charlie Anderson made a $500 donation to Tripe’s campaign.

Unsuccessf­ul council candidates Phil Reweti and Aisha Beazley declared zero expenditur­e, but others shelled out thousands, with Andreas Bodenstein spending $1415.69, Scott Phillips $2269.62, Rory Smith $2139.07 and James Barron $5143.63.

Oskam was joined at the council table by fellow first-timers Ross Fallen ($766.50), Charlotte Melser ($3500.02), Michael Law ($8943.92) and Glenda Brown ($6361.39). Signs, timber, posters, pamphlets, and print and online advertisin­g took up the majority of most candidates’ funds.

Some listed their $200 nomination fee, but that cost wasn’t applicable.

A candidate who knowingly files a return that is false “in any material particular” could face a prison term not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

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 ?? Photo / Bevan Conley ?? One successful council candidate’s election expenditur­e stood out from the rest: Councillor Peter Oskam (right).
Photo / Bevan Conley One successful council candidate’s election expenditur­e stood out from the rest: Councillor Peter Oskam (right).

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