Candidate blames punctuation

By Mathew Dearnaley

Auckland Council election contender Rob Thomas admits claiming incorrectly in an official candidates' booklet that he worked 14 years for the cities of Wellington and Westminster.

He has confirmed working only two years for those cities, but says he has spent almost 14 years in local government, from joining Auckland's former youth council in 1998 to his past three years as a Waitemata Local Board member.

Mr Thomas, 32, is one of six contestants for the council's sole seat for the Waitemata ward, as well as seeking re-election to the board.

His statement for the board election, in Auckland Council's candidates information guide, says: "Rob brings 14 years local government experience working for Wellington City Council and the City of Westminster in London."

But after being called out on that by voter Bob Tait, he acknowledged he should have stated his experience in local government was wider-ranging.

"It's missing a comma - it's 14 years in local government, including those places," he said.

Mr Tait, a spokesman for the environmental group Friends of the Earth, said it was not good enough for Mr Thomas to try to justify an inaccurate statement in an official election booklet by passing it off as a grammatical error.

"A lot of people will have already voted, possibly having taken that at face value," Mr Tait said.

- NZ Herald

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