Taranaki voter gets Northland candidate info

By ILONA HANNE

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Taranaki woman Michelle Kennard was left struggling to decide who to vote for after being sent candidate information for the candidates standing in Northland.PHOTO/Ilona Hanne.
Taranaki woman Michelle Kennard was left struggling to decide who to vote for after being sent candidate information for the candidates standing in Northland.PHOTO/Ilona Hanne.

Taranaki woman Michelle Kennard isn't one to vote blindly, but knows more about candidates standing in Northland than her own district after the wrong information was sent to her.

"I like to think about how I am going to use my vote, and I find out all I can about the candidates to ensure I am picking the people who will best represent me."

Unfortunately for Ms Kennard, when she went to fill in her voting form this Saturday, she discovered she didn't have as much information as she needed.

Across the country, voting packs have been sent out with a small booklet containing instructions and the all important candidate information. The booklet she received, while clearly labelled on the front cover as being for Stratford District Council, Taranaki Regional Council, Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council and the Taranaki District Health Board, actually contained information on candidates standing for election in Northland.

"I am now truly well informed on candidates standing for election in Kaipara or the Northland District Health Board or Regional Council, but that really doesn't help me," Ms Kennard said.

While she was able to solve her own problem, she is concerned other would-be voters may be deterred.

"I already knew who I wanted to vote for when it came to the regional and Stratford District Councils, as I have read about them in the Stratford Press and read articles about them etc, but for the Health Board I needed more information so had planned to read through the booklet carefully to help me make my choice. If I hadn't been able to borrow my partner's correct copy of the booklet I might have been tempted to not bother to vote."

Electoral officer Dale Ofsoske says Ms Kennard's booklet is the only one brought to his attention so far.

"Hopefully this is a one-off printing error, and mistakes like this turn out to be few and far between."

He encourages people to check their booklets and to contact Elections Services on 0800 922 822 if they need to request a new booklet.

"We will get one out to them as quickly as possible as we want people to vote and to be able to do so with the correct information in front of them."

Ms Kennard has filled in her voting papers after borrowing her partner's booklet, but encourages people to check their booklet as soon as they get it.

"Don't leave it to the last minute to discover you don't have the right information, voting is too important to not do properly."

- Northern Advocate

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