Taranaki woman sent Northland voting pack

By Ilona Hanne -
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Michelle Kennard received information on candidates standing in Northland not Stratford in her voting pack. Photo / Stratford Press
Michelle Kennard received information on candidates standing in Northland not Stratford in her voting pack. Photo / Stratford Press

Michelle Kennard isn't one to vote blindly.

"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 Michelle, 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 Michelle 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 much further north!

"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," says Michelle.

Michelle says 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 artivles 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."

Electorial officer Dale Ofsoske says Michelle'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."

Deputy electoral officer for Stratford District Council, Mark Weidenbohm also hasn't heard of any other cases and says he is currently trying to source some spare copies of the booklet in case people need them.

"We are aware some were in mailboxes during heavy rain so they might be quite wet. While they will dry out, if people need a new copy we hope to have some in for them.

Obviously this applies if anyone has the wrong booklet as well, so please give us a call at council and we will help where we can."

Michelle says she 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."

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