Council

Wannabe councillors hoarding warning

Marlborough District Council electoral officer Dean Heiford. Photo: Matt Brown.

Would-be councillors are being warned to steer clear of contentious election hoardings ahead of voting.

Campaign signs used last year came under fire from some members of the public for featuring Blenheim’s town centre war memorial.

The use of any images of memorials on election hoardings was banned at a council committee meeting on Thursday.

The move means well-known landmarks around Marlborough, such as the clock tower in Seymour Square and the fountain are a no-go.

Marlborough District Council electoral officer Dean Heiford says last election there were several “informal inquiries” about the use of war memorials.

An unsuccessful candidate pictured the iconic clocktower on their marketing material.

“We saw it as a breach of good taste, decency and the spirit of the Electoral Act, the RSA were also not happy with the use of the image,” Dean says.

The local body elections are gearing up with nominations opening 19 July.

The fountain in Seymour Square is a war memorial and is forbidden from election hoardings. Photo: Matt Brown.
The fountain in Seymour Square is a war memorial and is forbidden from election hoardings. Photo: Matt Brown.

Campaign signs have regularly become an issue of contention amongst running candidates.

Claims of rule-breaking, graffiti and bad-taste surround the placards.

Sign size, location, and replicating voting papers on hoardings caught out at least one council hopeful every election.

However, electoral staff were unable to find any law or precedent policy in New Zealand that would prohibit the use of images of war memorials for promotional or commercial purposes.

Council consider a statement in the 2019 Candidate Handbook will suffice.

But Dean says offending hoardings could be removed.

“We have requested that candidates check their draft advertising with the election team prior to printing, this will hopefully head it off,” he says.

Candidate nominations close at midday on 16 August 2019. To stand for the Council, you must be: a New Zealand citizen, aged 18 years or older and enrolled on the electoral roll.

A $200 deposit is also required but may be refunded depending on votes received.

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