By FRANCESCA MOLD
A complaint alleging that Act MP Rodney Hide tried to bribe or influence voters with a $100 gardening voucher has been laid with the country's Chief Electoral Officer and the police.
Alliance MP Grant Gillon lodged the complaint with Glenfield police at 12.30pm yesterday. He also faxed a letter to Chief Electoral Officer David Henry alleging that Mr Hide had breached the Electoral Act 1993.
The complaint was revealed by Acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton in Parliament yesterday.
It is the second anti-Rodney Hide campaign launched by Government MPs in the past few weeks.
Labour MPs Clayton Cosgrove and John Tamihere have attacked Mr Hide for his appearance at a Fiji seminar where an investment proposal was promoted.
In the House yesterday, Mr Anderton revealed the Gillon action in response to Act questions about the Prime Minister's fake artwork.
He told Act leader Richard Prebble: "If I was the member, I would be careful about making careless allegations when one of his own colleagues is the subject of a complaint to the electoral office and the police over a serious breach of the Electoral Act."
Mr Prebble, who was not aware of the complaint, accused Mr Anderton of "making it up". He later told the Herald it was a bizarre allegation.
The complaint relates to letters Mr Hide delivered to voters in the Auckland suburb of Epsom, asking them whether he should seek election as their MP.
Mr Hide offered those who responded to the survey the chance to go in a draw for $100 worth of garden centre vouchers.
Mr Gillon said the offer of a prize breached section 217 of the Electoral Act, which deals with "treating", offering an inducement for the purpose of procuring a person to be elected.
He said the vouchers were an inducement either to vote for Mr Hide if he decided to stand in Epsom or to refrain from voting if he didn't.
The offer could also breach section 216, which refers to bribery.
The complaint is similar to concerns about the behaviour of a former Alliance candidate, Danna Glendining, in 1996.
She was criticised for handing out free apples to Wellington commuters to mark World Environment Day.
At the time, the Electoral Office said her actions came close to breaking the law.
Yesterday, the Chief Electoral Officer confirmed that he had received Mr Gillon's complaint but said he had not decided what action, if any, he should take.
Mr Hide said he was being targeted for his investigations into the sale of defence land at Hobsonville and Kiwibank.
By FRANCESCA MOLD