Breaking: Ellis out on technicality – ‘I’m gutted’

Russell Ellis

Long-time Ashburton councillor and former mayoral contender Russell Ellis has had to pull out of this year’s council election be cause of a technicality.
“I’m absolutely gutted,” he said.
Mr Ellis, who heads the council’s important Finance and Business Support Committee, has had his name tossed out because a boundary change meant one of his nominators now lives outside the Ashburton Ward.
“Same house, same address, but no longer eligible,” he said.
Mr Ellis, an Ashburton businessman, said the form was checked when he put it in and the matter arose on Tuesday.
“It’s (my name) been turfed out,” he said.
He said there was nothing he could do and there was no right of appeal.
Mr Ellis was promoted to the job as finance chair when the former chair, Neil Brown, stood down to devote more time to his other role as deputy mayor.

The Ashburton council said Mr Ellis would not be included in the 2019 election candidate roll after the Electoral Officer determined he had not been validly nominated.
Local body election rules require candidates to be nominated by two people enrolled on the electoral roll for the ward in which the candidate wishes to stand (the candidate must also be enrolled but does not have to live in the area).
After nominations closed at 12pm, 16 August, it became known that one of Cr Ellis’ nominators was no longer enrolled in the ward for which he wished to stand due to recent changes to the council’s electoral ward boundaries. This discrepancy invalidated the nomination.
Electoral Officer Anthony Morton expressed his disappointment at having to reject the nomination.
“It is not a nice message to have to relay to any candidate and I understand the disappointment that Mr Ellis must be feeling. Unfortunately, if the nomination is invalid at the close of nominations, the law does not provide an opportunity thereafter to remedy the situation.”
Cr Ellis expressed great disappointment at the situation: “After having served six years as an Ashburton District Councillor, I felt that I still had more to contribute to the cause of the district. Understandably, I am deeply disappointed that I have missed out on the opportunity to seek re-election and it is very unfortunate that this situation has occurred.”
Chief Executive Hamish Riach also expressed disappointment: “It is very disappointing that Cr Ellis’ nomination has been declared invalid. We all want as many candidates as possible to be involved in the elections and having anyone ruled out in this way is deeply regrettable.
“The fact that it is an existing senior councillor and committee chairman who has served this district well, just adds to our sadness at the situation,” he said.
The Electoral Commission will release the official candidate roll on Friday 23 August.
With nominations now closed, voting documents will be sent to electors from 20 September before voting closes at 12pm, Saturday 12 October.

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