End of petitions means a lost opportunity

Thursday August 16, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I refer to the opinion piece of mine you published two Saturdays ago (August 4), in which I questioned the information being presented to the Electoral Court with reference to the Democratic petitioners' applications for discovery and which the court, on the representations made by the CIP legal team, declined.


Serious questions were raised as to the validity or veracity of the CIP counsels’ arguments in the areas of prior knowledge of an imminent election; claimed sanctity of Cabinet decisions and correspondence; significance of the Ministerial Oath and most egregiously, the incorrect interpretation as to whose decision it was in the setting of the date of the general election.

Since then, on August 13, Mata McNair's excellent statistical analysis of the disproportionate division of the public revenues and representation, vividly demonstrated where the outer islands, and particularly the northern group, feature in the whole scheme of things. The discerning would have noted, and drawn the connection, to the heightened activities this year in anticipation of an election with special attention to the Te Maeva Nui expenditure.

I ended my article with the observation that the Chief Justice had invited any party with misgivings to bring these to the court’s attention.

At that point the hearings had not even begun, but it would appear from where I sit that my invitation fell on deaf ears and now that the hearings are about to end and those discovery opportunities are essentially lost, the CIP team will no doubt be congratulating itself that no-one bothered. 

I suppose there remains an argument that the discovery denial might provide grounds for appeal should appeals be contemplated, but I imagine that is a weaker (and more expensive) position than if it had been pursued earlier in the court below.

            John M Scott

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