Judge may name forgery candidate

By Jared Savage

Photo / Greg Bowker
Photo / Greg Bowker

The identity of a Super City candidate charged with forging voting papers could be made public today - too late for Aucklanders who might have voted for him unaware of the charges.

The South Auckland man's application for name suppression was declined when he appeared in Manukau District Court on Tuesday.

But he appealed against that decision to the High Court.

The appeal is expected to be heard today.

But even if his name is revealed, it will be too late for those who cast postal votes for him.

Postal votes had to be mailed yesterday to be sure of being received by the deadline.

Only those who intend to deliver their ballot papers in person will learn his identity and have time to consider their vote.

Polling closes at noon on Saturday.

The police and the Herald - which revealed the alleged scam - will oppose the suppression application.

The candidate denies any wrongdoing.

Auckland Mayor John Banks said keeping the identity of the candidate hidden was "palpably wrong" and "strikes at the heart of our democratic process".

His rival for the Super City mayoralty, Manukau Mayor Len Brown, a one-time supporter of the candidate, also believed the public had a right to know the man's identity.

The candidate is one of two men facing charges. His alleged accomplice also has name suppression. Both men are on bail, with conditions, and police say further charges are likely.

In her initial refusal to grant name suppression, Judge Heather Simpson said there was "strong public interest" in naming a person standing for public office, who was before the courts.

If name suppression were granted, "naturally suspicion will fall on all the candidates, which is unfair.

"Other candidates may find themselves compromised. The election itself may be compromised," she said.

Other arrests are possible in the case, police say.

- NZ Herald

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