Gotta have a word with Chris Tremain, in most respects a splendid bloke who is doing a grand job as our Minister of Internal Affairs.
But he needs a bit of advice.
According to Radio NZ, he wants to know why a Northland bloke was able to contest the Far North mayoralty after being convicted of serious sex and violence crimes against his family.
Prominent farmer and anti-Treaty activist Allan Titford was on Wednesday jailed for 24 years on a raft of charges including rape and arson.
Titford was convicted almost two months ago of 39 offences but ran for office in October’s local body elections while in jail awaiting sentencing.
Convicted prisoners cannot register on the electoral roll, which is a damned good thing, of course. But this being so – well, how could Titford stand for office?
Tremain wants to investigate further.
His concern is that the 414 people who voted for Titford in mayoral elections held on 12 October were supporting a man whose candidacy could have been illegal.
This also tells us 414 people in the Far North didn’t bother to check on the current whereabouts of a mayoral candidate.
Were they not puzzled that he was not out on the hustings with the other candidates, brimming with promises and blandishments?
Alf is bound to say those 414 people have given their votes to a very disagreeable fellow, as you can tell from the following:
In sentencing Titford at the Whangarei District Court, Judge Duncan Harvey said the 53-year-old had subjected his wife and family to violent abuse in a “reign of terror” that dated back to 1989.
Judge Harvey said Titford had destroyed any chance they had of happiness with his explosive temper and repeated vicious assaults, including raping his wife.
“The children lived in trepidation and fear of you, knowing that even the slightest perceived transgression would result in you thrashing them. ”
Titford might be remembered as the feisty fellow who has waged a 20-year campaign against the Waitangi Tribunal and the Treaty of Waitangi after the Roroa land claim led to the sale of his farm to the Crown in the 1990s.
Now we that we also know he is a bully, arsonist and wife-beater – well, how many of those 414 voters would have given their support to another candidate?
But that’s not what Alf wants to discuss with the Minister for Internal Affairs.
Nope – the big question is not how come someone in jail was able to stand as a candidate and command that much support, but why some people who stand for election aren’t thrown into the slammer before they can deliver their promises and do their communities great harm after being elected to office.
Alf won’t name names (not until he can take advantage of Parliamentary privilege).
But he will put money on all his constituents being able to suggest a name or two, and before long maybe we could compile quite a list…