Dunedin North candidate and National list MP Michael Woodhouse says an ‘‘oversight'' led to him not including authorisation details on two editorial articles published in The Star.
A fine of up to $ 40,000 could be levied for the Electoral Act breach.
The columns, in August and July, ought to have included authorisation, he said. He had amended paid advertisements in the same issues, but forgot to do the same for the columns, he said.
Mr Woodhouse, who was advised of the complaint in September, was advised on Tuesday the Electoral Commission had referred the matter to police.
Michael Woodhouse has had a reasonably impressive first term in Parliament, but has blotted his copybook with this cock-up. To those who accuse us of being totally partisan, may we say that we have little sympathy for him; he knew the rules; he didn't ensure that his columns complied with them, and he must face any consequences. The law should treat all MP's and parties equally, and if they break the law, it's their problem.
We doubt however that Woodhouse has anything to worry about in the immediate future though. The Police already has a long list of alleged offences to investigate involving Act and the Labour Party, and it is highly unlikely that even if prosecutions ensue, those decisions will be announced this side of the election.
There is a salutory lesson here for Michael Woodhouse and for all MP's; know the law regarding electoral advertising, and comply with it at all times. That's not rocket science is it?