Does a candidate’s profile statement need to be true?

By Portia Mao

Most of the voters rely largely on the information provided by the election office on the backgrounds of candidates. They would assume the information about the candidates is true. But in fact, it is not always the case.

A Chinese reader sent me a message pointing out that Morgan Xiao, a candidate for the Pakuranga Local board of Auckland, has not lived in NZ for 15 years as he claimed in his candidate profile statement, but only for about 6 or 7 years. His previous boss told me that Xiao’s employment was terminated after working for only half a year in 2018 due to his poor performance.

Xiao refused to answer my question regarding his footprints in New Zealand. 

Another woman told me her awful experience of being “slandered” by Morgan Xiao in 2018. I  learned from this woman that Xiao wanted to become a National Party member initially but was rejected after National Party figures read his disturbing political commentary articles.  

I called the electoral officer of “Vote for Auckland” and tell her that  Xiao’s information in the candidate website may not be true. To my surprise, the lady who answered the phone said the law does not require a candidate to be truthful in his/her profile statement. She admitted that electoral officers won’t check the information in the statement. However, she will pass my concern to other officers.

Morgan Xiao’s participation in the local body election has caused a lot of criticisms on the Forum hosted by the media I am working for. One local Chinese described his speech is to “embrace autocracy by making use of democracy”. Another Chinese voter says: “Morgan doesn’t know what democracy is about, and he doesn’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. He even doesn’t know whom he represents.”

Morgan Xiao was reported by Newsroom that he infamously called the noted China scholar Professor Anne-Marie Brady and other critics of Beijing “anti-China forces” and “sons of bitches” and calling for Tiananmen Square protesters to be strung up. He tried to be a Labour Party candidate but was rejected by the party for his “extreme pro-Beijing” speech and he was publicly criticized by the Chinese team of Labour Party in the Chinese community.

Ironically,Morgan Xiao has successfully become a candidate to stand for the local body election.   

When an employer hires someone, he or she will definitely check the applicant’s background and see whether the applicant is qualified for the job or not. Why does the election office not check candidates’ backgrounds when they permitting them to compete for a position for public service?

Is something wrong with NZ democratic system?