"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

Until we have legislation adopted into law to ensure fiduciary accountability and transparency in public affairs we will continue to have human rights breached because the existing crown immunity and lack of any independent oversight invites corruption to flourish.

"Question authority, and think for yourself" - Timothy Leary

"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

"Information is the currency of democracy" - Thomas Jefferson

‎"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead

"The truth is like a lion, you don't have to defend it. Let it loose, it will defend itself."

"I = m c 2 [squared] where "I" am information" - Timothy Leary

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

"The internet is a TV that watches you"

Sunday, September 30, 2012

New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union - more dodgy elections :

Democracy is fundamental to a civilised society.  Fair elections are fundamental to all else, they are the cornerstone of justice.  When you have the incumbents controlling and manipulating the election process itself, and receiving and deciding on complaints with that process, the election becomes a travesty.

While the NZ Police are regarded rather sceptically by many, NZ Professional Firefighters are generally regarded as the most trustworthy professionals in the community, and for good reason - because they generally are.  Professional standards in the NZ Fire Service are high, and firefighters take great pride in maintaining those standards.  

It was therefore rather disturbing to learn recently of a distinct lack of transparency (and legality apparently) regarding the recent Ballot for the position of President of the NZ Professional Firefighters Union.

One hundred and seventy votes were apparently deemed to be invalid, and there is evidence of a manipulation of the voting process and incorrect advice given to the scrutineers by the Returning Officer (Derek Best).

Peter Nicolle
This resulted in widespread criticism, formal complaints being lodged, and requests for a new Ballot to be conducted.  There is evidence of widespread non-compliance with the Rules of the NZPFU regarding the election, which seems to be a result of incorrect instructions being given to the scrutineers, a very high proportion of allegedly invalid votes was recorded, and serious questions were raised regarding the process followed by the Returning Officer, and National Secretary of the NZPFU, Derek Best, and the 'elected' President Peter Nicolle.

Alarmingly, when the Union received formal complaints about the matter, Derek Best took control of the 'investigation' of the complaints against himself apparently.  He referred to the complaints as 'suggestions' and 'proposals', and the tone of his responses was arrogant, dismissive and unprofessional.

One has to wonder if Peter Nicolle is related to former Act party spin doctor - ooops, 'strategist' -  Brian Nicolle (-listed under "Losers" at that link), who also campaigned vigorously against MMP.  There certainly seems to be a similarity in political style . . .

There has been a deal of speculation, rumour, and conspiracy theories circulating regarding the large number of Invalid Votes recorded in the recent Presidential Ballot.
The reason for this is very simple. 
Some Ballots (15) were declared invalid because the intentions of the voter were not clear.   A number for example crossed out all the names and one indicated a vote for Batman. 
The largest number of invalid votes (155) was from a Local where the person forwarding back the ballots themselves, did not include all of the Signatory Sheets.
This meant the Scrutineers and the Returning Officer could not be sure that the ballots received came from persons entitled to vote – a very important consideration. 
Consequently, the Scrutineers and the Returning Officer had no choice but to declare all those votes invalid.  It would have been quite improper for them to have been counted.
In any event, this did not materially change the final result – that is – Peter Nicolle would still have been elected – albeit with an increased majority if the invalid votes had been counted. 
If these invalid votes had been included, the result would have been: 
Jeffrey McCulloch 220
Gregory McPhee    576
Peter Nicolle    659
Boyd Raines      63

Some relevant documents are on the NZPFU website:

We await further information from Derek Best regarding legal advice he claims to have received regarding this matter, and proposed changes to the NZPFU Rules.  If legal advice was provided to the Union it should be available - in its original form, rather than an interpretation of that advice by the very same person the complaint is about - to the Members of the Union.

So far, the correspondence has gone like this:
"Tena koe Derek Best,We have received a substantial number of concerns regarding the last NZPFU elections, inter alia, and I am writing to request all information regarding those elections, and a copy of the NZPFU Rules please (mailing address is 243 High St North, Carterton).  
We have received information that shows that there were disputes regarding the election of the Union President, and a large number of invalid votes, and that the disputes were apparently dealt with by changing the Rules, and that you made statements regarding the legal advice you received regarding the disputes.  Have any changes to the Rules been made recently?  We have also received information that you made comments regarding legal advice received by the Union regarding the dispute, and the changes to the Rules, and in the interests of transparency we are requesting evidence of the legal advice received regarding the disputed election.  It seems unfair that the person complained of should 'investigate' the complaint, and simply tell people about what legal advice was received instead of actually providing a copy of the legal advice to the members.  How much has the Union spent on legal advice over the last two years?
Yours faithfully,
Katherine Raue
Transparency NZ"

(Email from Derek Best):
Hello,Who are you?
(My response):
Katherine Raue.
 (Email from Derek Best):
What is your organization?
(My response):
We promote transparency.  Could we have a response to our enquiry please?
There's been a resounding silence for several weeks now from Derek Best.  I sent him another email this afternoon - we'll see how long it takes him to come up with another witty and erudite response . . .
Hi Derek,I am writing to request a copy of the NZPFU Rules please (mailing address is 243 High St North, Carterton).  
Have there been any recent changes to the Rules, in the last two years?  
If so, what are the changes.  
Thank you for your attention to this request for information. (Katherine Raue, TNZ)

This is disturbingly similar to the way corrupt Carterton District Council employee Julie Hallam fraudulently retained my $400 electoral nomination deposit and perverted the course of justice regarding the Carterton Community Centre AND the local body elections - corruptly ensuring that her employers retained their positions on the Council!

No comments: