Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler

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Legal Beagle: Fact check: Q+A on mayoral resignations

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    please don't make me regret leaving comments open :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, Graeme, don’t confuse things with your stupid research-based facts. At least, don’t do it if you want a job as a Herald columnist.

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

  • Sacha,

    Boag and McCarten are backroom political operators, not journalists. Truthiness is to be expected if producers keep inviting such a limited range of conflicted commentators onto their shows.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Sacha,

    Boag and McCarten are backroom political operators, not journalists.

    I did not call them journalists. My mention of "journalist" in the last paragraph is a reference to the journalists who were present on the panel.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes, but I expected Corin Dann or Susan Wood to pull them up on this - or the esteemed political scientist on the panel.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    I agree with the really really stupid comment in an FPP situation, main reason coming to mind being that if the elected mayor ends up not being sworn in and the mayoralty were awarded to the runner up, it completely invalidates the votes of everyone who indicated a preference for the mayor on good faith that that person would actually carry out the duty if elected.

    If it were an STV election, like in Wellington for instance, are there additional reasons why it would be stupid? Perhaps the runner up shouldn't automatically get it, but in such cases it should be possible to reallocate all the preferences as if the initially elected candidate didn't exist.

    In Wellington, if Celia had stood down, that might have resulted in someone like Jack Yan picking up many of her votes rather than John Morrison and he potentially could have become mayor, so it still doesn't deal with all situations like how the makeup of candidates might completely change if a particular person never stood to begin with, but in some situations I could see it being a reasonable alternative to a by-election.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    There were journalists there, fair enough. And in the control room, you'd think.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Nice to see someone able to shine some real light on the situation

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to izogi,

    If it were an STV election, like in Wellington for instance, are there additional reasons why it would be stupid? Perhaps the runner up shouldn’t automatically get it, but in such cases it should be possible to reallocate all the preferences as if the initially elected candidate didn’t exist.

    It is possible, but for mayoral elections - I expect for the reason you note about different people running - we don't do it. However, we do do it for lower level positions.

    If a candidate dies (or their nomination in cancelled because they weren't qualified etc.) during the voting period then, if it's a mayoral election, we start over under both FPP and STV. If it's a lower level position, eg a councillor, the election continues, and any votes for that person are simply ignored if it's FPP, or transferred if it's STV.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    Thanks Graeme. Good to know that the legislation is rational.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Scott A, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Or, to put it another way, it's quite good to see that the law won't allow a runner-up to take office by virtue of assassination (character or otherwise), without a fresh election.

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I did not call them journalists. My mention of “journalist” in the last paragraph is a reference to the journalists who were present on the panel.

    And considering certain sections of the commentariat have been screaming for Brown's resignation for the best part of a week, you'd think someone would have answered the bleeding obvious question. Isn't that what journalists do?

    But sorry, Sasha, I don't give Boag and McCarten a pass just because they're "political operators". Being partisan and not talking out of your arse aren't mutually exclusive states.

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

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But sorry, Sasha, I don’t give Boag and McCarten a pass just because they’re “political operators”. Being partisan and not talking out of your arse aren’t mutually exclusive states.

    And I would've thought that, being "political operators", a large part of their core professional competencies would be actually knowing what they're on about?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    Can anyone sack the Mayor?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Michael Stevens,

    Can anyone sack the Mayor?

    The minister can direct a new election of the whole council under certain circumstances. Convictions and other such things can force a mayor from office.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Thanks - had a little slightly wine-fuelled argument about it last night :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • matt mccarten,

    Common sense says there would be a by-election if Len Brown stepped down any time after Saturday night. I know this is the case in parliamentary elections.

    Last week someone close to Palino's camp argued there would not necessarily need to be a by-election if the winning candidate resigned before the results were announced. I dismissed it as wishful thinking but maybe that's why Palino told Chung to go public with her story and force Brown to resign before the week's end.

    I raised it yesterday with an expert(?) who said it was unclear in local government elections. When Michelle Boag raised it in the Green Room at TVNZ this morning I wondered if there was maybe some truth to it after all.

    My mistake. I should have asked you in the first place. Ouch!

    Matt McCarten

    Auckland • Since Oct 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to matt mccarten,

    My mistake. I should have asked you in the first place. Ouch!

    Matt McCarten

    Thanks for the comment, Matt!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I'm a bit mystified why the death or withdrawal of a Mayoral candidate in an STV election doesn't just continue in the same way that an STV council election does - simply transfer any votes made down the voter's lists.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Bevan Shortridge,

    Well, at least they won't be drawing a name from a hat. Unless there's a tie? As in that Great Barrier Local Board.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Boag knows nothing about nothing, so why do they ask for her opinion?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I'm a bit mystified why the death or withdrawal of a Mayoral candidate in an STV election doesn't just continue in the same way that an STV council election does - simply transfer any votes made down the voter's lists.

    I think the clearest argument I've seen so far is Scott A's assassination argument. If the existing ballots are simply to be re-counted but ignoring the initial winner (whether it's FPP or STV), then there's an ugly but potential incentive for the candidate who is most likely to benefit from the mayor's demise to do something that ensures the mayor must stand down. In STV, this might not be second place, but it would be someone.

    The other possible reason, I think, is still the one I suggested earlier. If you could imagine Jack Yan possibly picking up the Wellington mayoralty after Celia unexpectedly resigns or gets incapacitated. That'd be great for him, but in the current environment it seems unlikely that he would have become mayor if Celia wasn't running in the original election, probably because the factions that got behind Celia would have made sure there was an alternative candidate to attract their marketing and support on the ballot, similar to her.

    I'm not totally convinced by this argument, especially under STV, but I think it's because I dislike the idea of factions and partisans driving candidate selections. With FPP, at least, there are clear reasons why an individual might choose not to run, if they think they'll merely split the vote of another similar candidate who's more likely to win. With STV, the vote-splitting problem doesn't exist (at least as long as everyone votes to theoretical perfection). Therefore if the mayor becomes incapacitated and an also-ran becomes mayor on re-distributed preferences, it's easier to say that it was the secondary choice candidate's own fault for not standing to begin with.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to matt mccarten,

    I dismissed it as wishful thinking but maybe that’s why Palino told Chung to go public with her story and force Brown to resign before the week’s end.

    Bloody conspiracy theorist.

    But then…..it is not beyond the pale to think that they might!!!!

    They needed a lawyer.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    What they know is irrelevant. It's how knowledgable they sound. A great deal of confidence in one's own opinion goes a long way with these shows. It looks and sounds like serious analysis from experts but usually it's the opposite - a five minute conversation out the back based on half remembered notes from a drunken rant the night before, from the usual suspects. Laziness on all levels.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Greg111, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    "The Local Electoral Act simply does not allow it. I suppose it could." This is a contradiction in terms Graeme.

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2013 • 7 posts Report Reply

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