A general election candidate has told a judge he didn't have
to submit his campaign expenses because the Government didn't
fund the Human Rights Commission adequately.
Anthony Ravlich, who gained 67 votes when he stood for the
Human Rights Party in Auckland Central in 2008, was appealing
his conviction for failing to submit his expenses return as
required by the Electoral Finance Act.
Ravlich was convicted in his absence and fined $200 in
Wellington District Court and today told Justice Lyn Stevens
in the High Court at Auckland he couldn't afford to attend
Ravlich, representing himself, said the Government was
obliged to fund the commission to a sufficient level to
educate the public adequately about human rights.
Its failure in its duty to fund the commission gave him a
reasonable excuse to not file his expenses return, he said.
Ravlich also said his action was in part a reaction to the
lack of mainstream media coverage he received in the election
Justice Stevens said at one stage during the hearing that he
was troubled at Ravlich's argument, asking him to explain how
the funding situation for the commission was relevant to an
Crown lawyer Mark Woolford agreed there was no definition of
reasonable excuse under the legislation, but he didn't think
Ravlich's reason constituted such an excuse.
Justice Stevens reserved his decision.