Botany race already over for some as candidate fails to register

Pro-cannabis and pirate parties have more of a chance of winning next month's Botany by-election than the Green Party, which failed to register its candidate in time.

Nominations closed at midday today and the Electoral Commission has released its final list of the 10 candidates standing in the March 5 by-election.

They included Hussain Al-Saady of the Pirate Party of New Zealand and Leo Biggs of Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.

The Greens announced in a press release late last night that it had selected former staffer Richard Leckinger to stand.

Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden confirmed that the Green candidate had not made it.

"A completed nomination form from the Green Party was not received before the legal deadline of noon today and therefore the Electoral Commission could not accept the nomination," he said.

Mr Leckinger was upset.

"Gutted. In one word gutted. My heart is broken for the Green Party folk in Botany who had pulled all this together. I am gutted, it's a real disappointment that I got stuck in traffic on Ti Rakau Drive."

He told NZPA he showed up at the registrar's office at 10am but the official discovered one of his nominees had, by moving a couple of blocks, moved to the Hunua electorate rather than Botany. Mr Leckinger dashed back to Botany to get another signature but did not make it back on time.

"I was two minutes too late."

He hit every red light. "I kept saying to the lights 'please don't let this end this way'."

Mr Leckinger doubted there was much campaigning he could do now as public meetings were intended for candidates.

"And I understand that, you don't necessarily want people who aren't on the ballot. I am not sure what the next step is at the moment, at the moment it's about consoling the people who put the hard work in and regrouping for November (the General election)."

Pirates on membership drive
The Pirate Party is on a drive to sign the 500 foundation members required by the Electoral Commission (see its counter here), possibly with dreams of emulating its namesake in Sweden, which manged to get one a representative elected to the EU parliament. The NZ iteratiion of the party now has more than 500 followers on Twitter, but so far only 28 have stumped up the $10 necessary to join. 

In Sweden, the Pirate Party was formed on the back of the Pirate Bay software copyright case, which saw three men convicted for running a site that points people to locations they can download copyrighted music and movies for free. Here, the party is taking a more cerebral approach, with discussion around areas such as patent law appearing on its website.

Also standing in the by-election are Jami-Lee Ross (National), Michael Wood (Labour), Lyn Murphy (Act), Robin Caithness (Join Australia Movement Party), Robert Goh (independent) and Penny Bright (independent), Paul Young (New Citizen Party) and Wayne Young (independent).

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