Election officials: Lack of citizenship disqualifies candidate

By Alexandra Newlove -
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Angela Gill has been forced to withdraw from Whangarei's council elections, as she is not a citizen.
Angela Gill has been forced to withdraw from Whangarei's council elections, as she is not a citizen.

"Don't vote for this candidate" is the word from election officials, after a woman contesting Whangarei's council elections was found not to be a New Zealand citizen.

Angela Gill, running for the Okara ward on the Go-Whangarei ticket, has been withdrawn from the race for seats on Whangarei District Council, though she will still appear on voting documents.

Northland electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said he understood Ms Gill had done all her citizenship documentation, but was yet to have her public ceremony, meaning she was not a citizen.

Only New Zealand citizens could stand in the Local Government Elections, which were conducted by a postal ballot closing October 8.

"You never used to have to be a New Zealand citizen. But that changed at some point. I've had to give her the bad news," Mr Ofsoske said.

Mr Ofsoske placed a public notice in The Advocate yesterday advising electors "not to vote for this candidate". Any votes Ms Gill did receive would not be counted, he said.

"Her nomination form did tick she was a citizen. But there was misunderstanding, as she hadn't done that last final step. She was very disappointed, but unfortunately the legislation precluded her," Mr Ofsoske said.

Ms Gill could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Go-Whangarei leader David Blackley said her withdrawal was "immensely disappointing for the team".

"She's an awesome person," he said.

Ms Gill's withdrawal took the Go-Whangarei team from 13 candidates to 12. They were aiming to have at least 8 elected to obtain a majority in the 14-member chamber.

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