Macpherson's election challenge: Court date set

By -
Dr Reynold Macpherson. PHOTO/FILE
Dr Reynold Macpherson. PHOTO/FILE

A court date has been set to hear a Petition for Inquiry lodged by failed mayoral candidate Reynold Macpherson into the recent Rotorua Lakes Council election.

The hearing will start at 10am next Thursday, November 17 in the Rotorua District Court.

Under section 95 of the Local Electoral Act a Notice of Intention to oppose the petition may be filed by any candidate or any 10 electors.

Dr Macpherson, who finished second behind Steve Chadwick by 2863 votes in last month's mayoral race, filed the petition on Friday.

He has demanded an inquiry into the conduct of the council's chief executive Geoff Williams during the election and is seeking the election result be declared void and a new election held.

In a media release at the time, he said: "It is with the utmost reluctance that I have taken this possibly unprecedented step."

His petition contains the claim that Mr Williams' conduct during the election was biased in favour of Mrs Chadwick and some incumbent councillors and was "therefore unfair on the other candidates". It claims Mr Williams' actions affected the result of the election.

In the seven-page petition, Dr Macpherson states Mr Williams had a duty to act fairly and without bias.

It refers to the council-commissioned Community Satisfaction Survey 2016 dated June 30, which was released publicly by the council on October 26 - after the election.

The petition claims the survey findings were adverse to the interests of the mayor and "the incumbent power bloc councillors" - who he lists as Dave Donaldson, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Karen Hunt, Janet Wepa, Charles Sturt, Trevor Maxwell and Tania Tapsell.

"The effect of Mr Williams withholding the release of this report until after the election was that the RDRR candidates were deprived of the opportunity to use the report in support of their campaign," the petition states.

It also alleges bias by Mr Williams in publishing positive advertorials during the election campaign that it alleges ignored the findings of the survey.

Dr Macpherson claims both these factors show the bias by Mr Williams was unfair on the other candidates and breached the Local Electoral Act.

Mr Williams previously stated: "We will await the outcome of the process".

Mrs Chadwick did not wish to comment.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 11 Dec 2016 19:46:17 Processing Time: 600ms