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Campaign concerns

“Human error” by Election Services has disadvantaged council candidate Joelene Andrew’s campaign, she says.

A profile booklet sent out with election papers to help people make an informed choice in the local body elections next month has been published without Mrs Andrew’s photograph.

The words “photo not supplied” accompany her profile in the booklet.

Election Services has acknowledged the error, but a spokesman says it is too late to have the mistake rectified.

Mrs Andrew missed a call from Election Services on Friday but by the time she called back no one was there so she rang early on Monday morning.

“I was told they had made an error and my photo wouldn’t be appearing with my statement in the profile book,” Mrs Andrew said.

“They couldn’t tell me how or why it happened, just that it did.

“They offered to put a small piece in the public notices of the local paper but that doesn’t put me on an even keel with other candidates,” she said.

“At that stage they didn’t say what error occurred. I explained to the person on the phone my campaign has been greatly disadvantaged by this.”

What all candidates wanted was to have a fair chance to have a voice, Mrs Andrew said.

She contacted the local representative at Election Services, wanting an explanation. She heard nothing until she emailed again.

An Election Services representative rang her and acknowledged the photo had been supplied but had somehow been missed, Mrs Andrew said.

“Election Services said it was human error, they picked up the mistake, asked for a correction at the printer but did not follow up the request.

“My application and photo were all bound together,” Mrs Andrew said.

“They have done the groundwork to make sure these things don’t happen but somehow it did.

“I want people to know I did supply a photo, I did complete the application. I don’t want people to think I’m lazy.

“When it says photo not supplied, that is a lie, an untruth. It is misleading the public.

“They acknowledge there was a photo supplied but somehow the picture was missed and now the profile book says ‘no photo supplied’.”

Mrs Andrew’s request for a reprint, or additional documents supplied to all households with her picture, profile statement and acknowledgement of the error, was declined.

To add insult to injury, Mrs Andrew’s name was misspelt and her photo was missing on the Gisborne District Council (GDC) website, but this has been fixed.

“The misspelling of her name was a typo on the GDC website, our mistake,” said a GDC spokesperson.

“This was corrected on the website yesterday and I have apologised to Joelene this morning by email for this human error,” the spokesperson said.

Election Services confirmed Joelene Andrew’s statements.

“It is too late to have the candidate directory re-printed or even an insert made, as the voting packs are completed, sealed and embargoed ready for delivery to electors on 20 September.

“Regarding the spelling of her name, this is correct on both the voting document and candidate profile statement, but was incorrectly transposed when placed on the council’s website,” electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said.

- Mr Ofsoske contacted the Gisborne Herald shortly after today's print deadline to say voting packs would now be replaced, after working with NZ Post to find a solution.

"Several of the issues we worked through were that there was not enough time to have replacement election envelopes produced (so we are having similar but not the same envelopes as the original standardised outward envelopes) and relocating the production of the voting packs from Auckland to Christchurch (due to capacity issues).

"Both of these initiatives meant delivery could be made to electors from 20 September. The cost of the reprint will be covered by insurance."

CAMPAIGN UPSET: Council candidate Joelene Andrew says her campaign has been disadvantaged after “human error” at Election Services led to the booklet sent out with election papers being printed without her photograph. Instead, Ms Andrew’s profile in the booklet says “no photo supplied”, which she disputes. Picture by Liam Clayton