Election expenses a human rights issue: candidate

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 that hearing.

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 campaign.

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 expenses return.

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.




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