Remember Daljit Singh? Sometime before the 2010 local body elections, he was a Labour Party-endorsed candidate in South Auckland. He appeared in in the Manukau District Court on 5 October 2010, was remanded, and name suppression was refused. He appealed to the High Court for name suppression, but his appeal was rejected by Justice Priestley, who noted in his decision:
The appellant is charged with an offence laid indictably under s 257(1)(c) of the Crimes Act 1961. The charge is that together with another person he knowingly deployed an enrolment form which had been forged, thus causing another person (presumably electoral officials) to assume that the document was a genuine one.
The charge faced by Daljit Singh was a serious one that went right to the heart of our democracy. The Herald reported thus at the time that the Police were called in:
Police are investigating a possible attempt to influence the Super City election in which nearly 90 voters have been enrolled as living in two houses.The Weekend Herald can reveal 48 voters are listed as living in one Papatoetoe home and 39 are enrolled as living in another property in the same South Auckland suburb.Another 300 people in 30 homes in the Papatoetoe subdivision of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board - part of the new Auckland Council's Manukau ward - are expected to come under scrutiny.Nearly all the 87 people listed as living at the first two properties, in Pembroke St and Puhinui Rd, have Indian surnames.Four of the nine people standing for four seats on the Otara-Papatoetoe board are Indian - Daljit Singh and Sukhdev Singh Hundal of the Labour Party and Avtar Hans and Narinder Kumar Singla of the Citizens and Ratepayers group.Anyone enrolled in the ward can also vote in the Super City mayoralty contest, headed by Auckland City Mayor John Banks and Manukau City Mayor Len Brown.An Electoral Enrolment Centre audit picked up the Papatoetoe anomaly and led to an internal inquiry.A complaint was laid this week with police in Wellington.A police spokeswoman said "possible electoral enrolment irregularities" were being investigated, but would not comment further.Daljit Singh said Labour was not asking people to falsely enrol in the area to vote for him, and described rumours suggesting this was happening as part of a smear campaign.He said several local Sikhs had told him C&R members had encouraged them to sign up in Papatoetoe, despite living elsewhere, and to mention Mr Singh's name to arouse suspicion."They know that I am a strong candidate. They are trying to put dirt on me. A few hundred votes will not make much of a difference. It's a dirty-tricks campaign."
To the best of our knowledge, Daljit Singh has not yet been tried on these charges. We do know that he was back in Court less than a month after first appearing after being accused of breaching his bail conditions.
So why the interest? Well; on TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning, a chap by the name of Daljit Singh appeared, representing the New Zealand Supreme Sikh Council. And we have to say this; he bore a striking resemblance to the Daljit Singh pictured above.
Interestingly, Mr Singh was talking about proposed changes to the immigration laws, which will affect applications under the family category. We wonder whether TVNZ was aware of the "other" Daljit Singh, especially given the numbers of people reportedly living at certain South Auckland addresses, many of whom claimed to be family members!