Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Paula's Peril; or The (un)certain Scenario

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  • Phil Lyth,

    And in Christchurch Central comparing the returning officer's 'final' count to the judicial recount, Nicky Wagner's vote was unchanged, Brendan Burns vote went down 2, the Green candidate went down 2, the ACT candidate went down 4 (out of only 114 or 110). Candidate informals went up 6 and 2 fewer votes allowed.

    Surprising for a candidate to lose nearly 4% on recount.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    Sadly Judicial Decisions Online seems to no longer provide what it should. The judge has released a decision which I would be interested to see.

    JDO has never been that quick. Least of all for a decision apparently released on a weekend.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    But before it got to that point, I have no doubt that John Key would use urgency to change s137(2) to refer to the highest person on the list not currently in Parliament. Then if the decision on a petition goes the wrong way, he opens up a vacancy by finding a nice job for Cam Calder.

    He'd better not. That's getting toward Duynhoven territory. The election rules may be stupid (i'm not saying they are, but I'm open to the point), but they're the rules and everyone has to play by them. Change them for the future, sure, but urgent partisan changes to electoral law are a big no-no. Not least because it's not actually all that urgent, any change wouldn't be needed until the first list resignation, which could be a year away.

    Of course, depending on when they try to do this (before any petition is heard or after?), they might not have the numbers...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I agree that such a change would be abhorrent. But equally I have no doubt that Key could and would justify to himself that such a change would be appropriate.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Nice of the Herald to write a story about the Waitakere decision, but have they, or anyone, put it online?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    I read the news today...
    Interesting to note this comment from stable jumping TV journalist, Guyon Espiner, which reflects on the calibre of modern politicians, he said he was:

    ...looking forward to finding stories about "real people" after more than a decade in the press gallery.

    and there was no "Live Cross" to TV3 news boss Mark Jennings when:

    ...he described the trio of former TVNZ staffers as "true journalists" who he had been keeping an eye on for some time.

    and he got this dig at TV1 in as well:

    "For us, journalism comes first. We are not so interested in American presentation techniques - we are more interested in breaking stories."

    I hope they are also interested in following the stories up...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    Nice of the Herald to write a story about the Waitakere decision

    Not so nice reading this...

    Auckland lawyer Peter Kiely was recount scrutineer for the National Party
    and said some changes came about because votes allowed on election night might have had a mark in the box rather than a tick.

    Kiely revealed 425 declared votes were disallowed - nine were dual votes, 393 ineligible votes and 12 were not authorised by a witness.

    "Those 393, not only were they not on the roll in Waitakere, but they weren't enrolled anywhere."

    What the what? You know what, if I had anything to do with it (and if the statement attributed to Kiely is accurate, not something I'd assume where The Herald is concerned) I'd be doing a very careful risk analysis of having those 393 votes put under the scrutiny of an electoral petition.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I'd be doing a very careful risk analysis

    Before that I'd suggest that you do a very careful analysis of the law.

    Special declaration votes where the person is not enrolled anywhere do not even have the ballot paper taken out of the sealed compartment. See
    s41 of the Electoral Regulations. Also ss35-40. They have never seen the light of day, let alone been counted.

    Yes the Herald story could be read as saying those 393 had been included at some point.

    For the record, special votes disallowed 'not enrolled anywhere' average about 250 per electorate. In the last two elections Waitakere numbers were 374 (2008) and 329 (2005)

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I heard on 3 news, it is around $100,000.00 for a petition. Why? Is this only for Parties with loads of money or can you put in an IOU on the nevernever? Shouldn't this be a matter of principle for the rights of citizens in a democratic society?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    It's a lawsuit. Lawsuits cost. The judicial recount is the point where the citizens get their low-cost intervention by the judiciary. After that, you're talking about tying up a High Court justice for a period of time, lawyers, the whole works.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Sometimes you come up trumps, others it's snake-eyes all the way. Live with it.

    And sometimes there's no need to roll the die at all. To lose your favorite Minister could be considered a misfortune. To give the balance of power to the Maori Party looks like carelessness. She'd have been in anyway.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    FFS, Ben, if you really thought anyone in National was going to just stand by and let Bennett get Protillo-ed without a peep I've got a bridge to sell you. Several.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    No, I did not think that. I felt certain that a judicial recount would happen, because that is what everyone does in a close vote. But, as I said, they may come to rue that they didn't stand by, since it would have meant nothing but a symbolic loss to them. The Edgeler scenario is not a symbolic loss, it's a real one.

    Of course, it might not happen. To be honest, I don't think it would really be good if it did, that all things that destroy proportionality in our parliament seem bad to me, even when they work in favor of my preferred position.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    National won because there were a bigger number of "uninformed" voters on their side??

    Headline: " Uninformed 'vital for democracy' "

    Something fishy...

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Very fishy!

    Extrapolating results from fish groups to human voters does not strike me as scientifically viable...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    That's what i thought when I looked at the paper this morning (yes, we do still get a hard copy. Mrs Lemming likes to do the crossword on the train into town).

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2934 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to nzlemming,

    I just remembered… it’s a long shot, but would this count as intimidation under the Electoral Act 1993?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • gavin long,

    Graeme - out of interest, can you please point to which sections of the electoral act you are basing this analysis on?

    Since Jun 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    it’s a long shot, but would this count as intimidation under the Electoral Act 1993?

    Unless it comes down to one vote, it doesn’t matter. Bennett can get kicked out of Parliament for committing a corrupt practice. She can’t get kicked out because someone else might be found to have committed a corrupt practice!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to gavin long,

    Graeme – out of interest, can you please point to which sections of the electoral act you are basing this analysis on?

    Will hopefully do that in the next couple of days, but in short, it's a combination of sections 55, 229(3) and 243, and a fair bit comes down to the absence of the necessary laws to have some alternative happen.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Lyth,

    Graeme, the Stuff story attributed direct and indirect quotes to an Electoral Commission person:

    However, the Electoral Commission said the court would also be guided by the need to observe real justice.

    "The question would be whether the court was prepared to make additional orders relating to the allocation of list seats when the act makes provision for the allocation of list seats to be challenged by way of a petition to the Court of Appeal," a spokeswoman said.

    My view is that the Act only gives the High Court to make orders in relation to the one seat in Parliament about which the petition is lodged. I don't think it has ever been suggested that there is any power to make consequential variations to list seats.

    Your views?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 458 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Phil Lyth,

    Given that Raymond Huo won't even be a party to the proceedings, it seems somewhat wrong to have his continued membership of Parliament turn on the case.

    My view is that the Act only gives the High Court to make orders in relation to the one seat in Parliament about which the petition is lodged. I don’t think it has ever been suggested that there is any power to make consequential variations to list seats.

    I concur. Parliament has made a choice. Maybe it made the wrong choice? There are positives and negatives to each and people may take a different view about where the balance should lie. It could have made a different choice. But it didn't.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Pole dancing...
    Imperator Fish has a great take on
    Don Brash and power struggles
    within organisations...
    - off thread, but in season
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

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